The geometry of hobbits: Homo floresiensis and human evolution


  • William Jungers,

    1. Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York. He has long been interested in size and scaling in human and primate evolution.
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  • Karen Baab

    1. Instructor and Post-doctoral Fellow in the same Department. Her expertise is in geometric morphometrics and the cranial evolution of the genus Homo.
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Until quite recently modern humans shared the earth with now extinct relatives—Neanderthals and others—in Europe and Asia. Homo floresiensis—dubbed the “hobbits” in the popular press—is the most recent, and the most surprising, addition to the human family tree. Were the tiny hobbit people of Flores dwarfed descendents of known species, modern humans suffering from a skull-shrinking genetic disease or a new species entirely? William Jungers and Karen Baab look at the time, the space and the body-shape of the astonishing hobbits.