Hobbit Update

In A New Human: Return of the Hobbit earlier this month, we looked at Mike Morwood and Penny van Oosterzee’s A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the ‘Hobbits’ of Flores, Indonesia, an excellent excursion into paleoanthropology. We found their case persuasive, if not absolutely conclusive, particularly in the light of accumulating evidence to which we alluded in that post.

Now comes further confirmation in a study noted earlier today in Science Daily. Researchers at Stony Brook University have concluded after extensive analysis of hobbit’s skull that it is not that of a modern human, whether healthy or malformed. As Dr Karen Baab summarizes, “the overall shape of the LB1 skull, particularly the part that surrounds the brain (neurocranium) looks similar to fossils more than 1.5 million years older from Africa and Eurasia, rather than modern humans, even though Homo floresiensis is documented from 17,000 to 95,000 years ago.”

Incidently, the Journal of Human Evolution, where the article reported by Science Daily appeared, last month published two closely related confirming papers. The abstract of one, concerning the faunal remains in Liang Bua cave on Flores, appears here, while another examination of the lower limbs of a number of Homo floresiensis skeletons is abstracted here.

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Comments (1)  

William Lee Miller on President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman

Just a single tantalizing line from the very beginning of what promises to be an exquisite book:

“I wrote an earlier book, Lincoln’s Virtues: An Ethical Biography, which dealt primarily with Lincoln before he became president. Of course a wit said the next book should be Lincoln’s Vices. I offer this instead.”

On the 21st of February, Clark Killion will be leading a discussion concerning both of Miller’s works. It’s a session not to be missed. Check this blog or the library calendar for an update as to time and additional details.

Published in: on January 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment