Hobbits are back, and they’re REAL!

I’ve written quite a bit about the Homo floresiensis controversy: these are the small (1-meter tall) individuals whose remains were found in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, originally dated about 18,000 years old.  They are remarkable because of their size, their small brains (about the size of a chimp’s) and their remarkably […]

News from the “hobbit conference” in New York

The hobbit continues to be a mystery: perhaps the deepest mystery about human evolution. Today’s New York Times has a longish and interesting report on the status of the “hobbit,” Homo floresiensis, that I’ve posted about several times.  This is a diminutive (3-foot-tall) human skeleton found on the island of Flores, in Indonesia, that has […]

Homo floresiensis on display

Also in today’s New York Times is a piece by John Noble Wilford about the display of a skeleton of “the hobbit,” (Homo floresiensis) at Stony Brook this week.  It includes the head and much of the body (see below).  If you’ve read my book or followed this website (see here), you know that whether […]

Why pygmies?

Some human populations in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are of extraordinarily small stature: they are called pygmies.   All of them inhabit rainforests that are warm and humid.   Although they bear a common name, genetic work shows that each group has evolved independently, so it is better to speak of “the pygmy […]

Is “The Hobbit” a fraud?

As recounted in WEIT, one of the most remarkable hominin fossils is that of Homo floresiensis, discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003. This creature was remarkable in that although it lived only 18,000 years ago, when modern H. sapiens had already evolved, it was only a meter tall, weighed 50 pounds, […]