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So “The Hobbit” was a woman with Down syndrome? And Flores man an “invalid” classification?

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First, here’s Down syndrome, a form of developmental delay in humans, due to chromosome disorders (often accompanied by physical problems such as heart disorders).

For the uproar around the supposed species of “Flores man,” see: The Little Lady of Flores spoke from the grave. But said what, exactly? Remember, in 2004, she was “extreme,” “spectacular,” “startling,” and “incredible.” In 2007, Science called the dig “hallowed ground.”

Now, from ScienceDaily:

Now detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Instead, it is the skeleton of a developmentally abnormal human and, according to the researchers, contains important features most consistent with a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

“The skeletal sample from Liang Bua cave contains fragmentary remains of several individuals,” Eckhardt said. “LB1 has the only skull and thighbones in the entire sample.”

No substantial new bone discoveries have been made in the cave since the finding of LB1.

And don’t let Darwin’s faithful get away with pretending they are misrepresented. It is all on record.

At Evolution News & Views, David Klinghoffer writes, re the findings of the paper, whose abstract appears below:

That last sentence means that abnormal specimens don’t count in the identification of a new species, leaving Homo floresiensis a “naked name” (nomen nudum), an empty designation, a hat without a man (or a hobbit) under it.

The paper finds “multiple paradoxes” in the case including: “mythologizing substituted for testable hypotheses” and “media ‘propagation of half-informed, sensational treatments’ [implying] scientific consensus for what is mainly repetition of conjecture.”

The science media, regarded as a source of gospel truth by many, engage in “mythologizing” and “‘sensational treatments’ [implying] scientific consensus for what is mainly repetition of conjecture.” As I said before in the context of revelations that scientific researchers are human beings just like you and me, those are words to imprint in your memory.

What’s true of professional scientists is also true of science journalists: they are not Olympian deities gifted with extraordinary objectivity, somehow above the failings of lesser men. It falls to the rest of us, then, to critically examine what they say rather than taking it all at face value.

Klinghoffer’s so much kinder than me. I just say: Lose the pom poms.

Get a load of the PNAS article’s title: “Evolved developmental homeostasis disturbed in LB1 from Flores, Indonesia, denotes Down syndrome and not diagnostic traits of the invalid species Homo floresiensis.”

“Invalid species”?

Here’s the Abstract

Human skeletons from Liang Bua Cave, Flores, Indonesia, are coeval with only Homo sapiens populations worldwide and no
other previously known hominins. We report here for the first time to our knowledge the occipitofrontal circumference of specimen LB1. This datum makes it possible to link the 430-mL endocranial volume of LB1 reported by us previously, later confirmed independently by other investigators, not only with other human skeletal samples past and present but also with a large body of clinical data routinely collected on patients with developmental disorders. Our analyses show that the brain size of LB1 is in the range predicted for an individual with Down syndrome (DS) in a normal small-bodied population from the geographic region that includes Flores. Among additional diagnostic signs of DS and other skeletal dysplasiae are abnormally short femora combined with disproportionate flat feet. Liang Bua Cave femora, known only for LB1, match interlimb proportions for DS. Predictions based on corrected LB1 femur lengths show a stature normal for other H. sapiens populations in the region.

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7 Replies to “So “The Hobbit” was a woman with Down syndrome? And Flores man an “invalid” classification?

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    ….says the same guys who have been going on about them having one or other disease since the start. It still doesn’t reflect the opinion among most people that have studies these specimens.

  2. 2
    ScuzzaMan says:

    One wonders what neanderthal man would be classified as, were they discovered today?

    Certainly, in the initial furore, a distinct species. But after that died down and the serious scientists got a look, perhaps just another H. sapiens with some abnormality?

    Has anyone gone back and looked at the original evidence using modern methods of analysis?

    Or are we stuck with old classifications even when we’ve just demonstrated that we’re still making classification errors in spite of the advantages of modern methods?

    Would seem … sub-optimal.

  3. 3
    Acartia_bogart says:

    The species concept is largely a man-made concept and the result of our innate need to categorize things. In its broadest definition, a species is a group of animals that can interbreed and produce viable offspring. But there are many cases where we have classified animals into different species who can breed with each other and produce viable offspring (tigers and lions, polar bears and grizzly bears, etc.).

    If our only record of modern dogs was a fossil record, there is little doubt that we would classify them as numerous different species. It is only because of genetic testing and breeding histories that we know that they all belong to the same species.

    When you look at fossils over a time span, it becomes even murkier. If we had a fossil example from every generation between the first vertebrate to modern humans, we would certainly classify our fishy ancestor and ourselves as different species. But each generation would be virtually indistinguishable from the one before and the one after. And they would be able to breed and produce viable offspring.

  4. 4
    ppolish says:

    Scuzzaman, if neanderthals were living today, Pro Sports would have a bit different makeup. Not sure how erectus would fit in. History teachers?

    AB, species are “largely a human concept”? I would think it’s completely human. What/Who am I missing?

  5. 5
    humbled says:

    A_b said “..we would certainly classify our fishy ancestor and ourselves as different species. ”

    Humans NEVER had a fishy ancestor. This is pure speculation and wishful thinking. It serious boggles the mind to think there are people that believe such codswallop.

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    There are about 10 million or so species living today. New ones pop into existence every day.

    Each species can track back to their original. Adam & Eve for humans eg. Sure, humans love to connect dots. And some will connect dots from humans to fish. It’s natural. Natural for Adam and Eve to eat fish. Can’t eat dots lol.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Researchers Suggest Molecular Machine, (RNA–guided surveillance complex), Is Irreducibly Complex – Casey Luskin – August 8, 2014
    Excerpt: “The structure of this biological machine is conceptually similar to an engineer’s blueprint, and it explains how each of the parts in this complex assemble into a functional complex that efficiently identifies viral DNA when it enters the cell,” [researcher Blake] Wiedenheft [at Montana State University] said. “This surveillance machine consists of 12 different parts and each part of the machine has a distinct job. If we’re missing one part of the machine, it doesn’t work.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88761.html

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