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.”
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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