'Hobbit' Bones Said to Be of Deformed Human

From Times Wire Reports

The discovery of bones heralded as a new, hobbit-like human species may turn out to have been the remains of a human suffering from a genetic illness, according to researchers.

Robert D. Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago and coauthors wrote in Friday's issue of the journal Science that the fossil of Homo floresiensis appears to be a modern human with microencephaly, a disorder that results in a small brain and other defects.

Martin argued that the brain of the specimen, discovered in 2003 on the Indonesian island of Flores, is far too small to be a dwarf species. Its brain size of 400 cubic centimeters would indicate a creature 1 foot tall, one-third the size of the actual skeleton.

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