19 May 2006

'Hobbit' a mere dwarf?

Remember Homo floresiensis, the diminutive human being whose remains were discovered in the Indonesian island of Flores? Now primatologists at Chicago's Field Museum have concluded that it is not a new hominid species after all, but a Homo sapiens suffering from a genetic illness causing dwarfism.

In a related story, researchers have concluded that "[e]arly human ancestors interbred with chimpanzees after the two species split." If nothing else, it would certainly put a different spin on those proverbially fraught in-law relationships.

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