The ongoing debate among evolutionists over the miniature human remains described 4 years ago and discovered on Flores Island in Indonesia recently acquired a new dimension with the unearthing of similar human skeletons on Palau Island in Micronesia. The evolutionist researchers who unearthed the Flores bones described them as a separate human species, though many authorities on the subject subsequently opposed that claim, suggesting instead that the humans on Flores were abnormal individuals from a deformed Homo sapiens population. The latter view came to predominate as new bones were discovered, and it once again became clear that those evolutionists describing the bones of a separate human species were not behaving objectively.
The discovery in question appeared in a paper in the journal Public Library of Science One by Lee Berger, a National Geographic Society and Witwatersrand University in South Africa researcher Lee Berger and other researchers from Witwatersrand, Rutgers and Duke universities. (1)
The researchers dated the bones back some 1,400 to 3,000 years. Palau Island lies in the Caroline Islands and harbours a great many caves. The bones were unearthed on two caves on the island known as Ucheliungs and Omodokel. A large number of human bones were found in the caves, which were believed to have been used for burials. So much so that 1,200 fragments of human remains were found in a cavity just 1 square metre in area and 50 cm deep (2). It was calculated that among the more than a dozen humans to whom the remains belonged, there was a 43-kilo male and a 29-kilo female. Examinations of the skeletons show that these humans were 100-130 cm in height. Taxonomically, many characteristics in their facial and skull anatomies are unique to Homo sapiens. Because of this, the researchers believe that this group of humans belongs to Homo sapiens, and that they had shrunk in size for various reasons. These included dwarfism, or developmental diseases such as microcephaly or cretinism.
In addition, the Palau bones revealed significant similarities to the human remains unearthed on Flores Island. Like the humans on Flores, those on Palau had a retracted chin, eye sockets of an unusual shape, and large teeth. In those terms, the Palau bones reveal that at least some of the unusual Flores features were due to environmental factors rather than being inherited.
Berger states that the idea that Flores Man represents a “separate species” is invalid:
Palauen discovery suggests that given the many characteristics that the Palauen fossils share with Flores (that were typically considered “primitive” to modern humans), that these characters probably should not be used to define a new species, particularly when found in only a single skeleton. (3)
Berger goes on to say the following in an analysis published in Science magazine:
A diseased member of the Palauan population might look as anomalous as the single skull of H. floresiensis. (4)
Robert Eckhardt, a Pennsylvania State University anthropologist and another researcher who has emphasised the error of describing Flores Man as a separate species, maintains that Homo floresiensis consists of deformed Homo sapiens individuals, and makes the following comment regarding this study:
“The Berger paper is great because it shows that in the region you have small people with normal-sized brains, and you don”t have to posit a new species to explain them.” (5)
One particularly renowned evolutionist authority has come out in opposition to the view regarding the miniature skull on which those evolutionists who seek to depict Homo floresiensis as a separate species most rely. Asked for his opinion on the Homo floresiensis miniature brain, the Columbia University anthropologist Ralph Holloway made the following comment:
I regard the 400 ml brain [comparable to a chimpanzee”s, and one-third the size of a modern human brain] as pathological. (6)
(2) “Discovery fuels “hobbit” debate”, 11 March 2008, http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=31&art_id=nw20080311091230769C102642
(3) “Discovery fuels “hobbit” debate”, 11 March 2008,
(4) Elizabeth Culotta, “Hobbit Redux?”, 11 March 2008, http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/311/1
(5) Brandon Keim, “Were Fossil “Hobbits” Just Little Humans?”, 11 March 2008, http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/03/hobbit
(6) Brandon Keim, “Finding Common Ground in the Hobbit Controversy”, 12 March 2008, http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/03/finding-common.html