The "hobbit" evolved separate to humans

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Sydney, July 31 (ANI): A new research by Australian scientists has said that the bones of the "hobbit", found in Indonesia, suggest that the species is not related to homo sapiens, and evolved separate to humans.

Discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 and dubbed 'the Hobbit', the species triggered a worldwide debate about its origins.

In particular, a hard-core cadre of critics said that the skeleton was that of a human who was suffering from microcephaly a disorder in which the head is much smaller than normal - limiting its brain to 417 cm3, a third the size of the average human brain.

Now, according to a report in www.news.com.au, researchers based in Canberra and Wollongong set to work on a "hobbit"' skeleton found on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004, using new cladistic analysis.

It compares the forms of organisms to determine ancestral relationships - the first time it was used on this set of homo floresiensis bones.

The results were surprising.

Anthropologist Debbie Argue concluded that the bones diverged from the Homo sapiens evolutionary line nearly two million years ago, meaning that it did not share an immediate ancestor with modern humans.

The homo floresiensis bones have previously been dismissed as the remains of a sick human or near-human impacted by environmental factors.

"(The results) suggests that H. floresiensis was not a sick modern human, not even a very close relative," Dr Argue said.

It would then also dispute the theory that Homo sapiens were the only hominin around after the Neanderthals, she added. (ANI)

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