Boston University Dialogues in Biological Anthropology The Flores Island “Hobbit” — Part 1

In 2003, the skull and partial skeleton of a diminutive woman with big feet, a primitive-looking [...]face, and a tiny, ape-sized brain were unearthed in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores. Recently dated to between 60 and 100 thousand years ago, the Flores woman lived at a time when there were much more modern-looking humans elsewhere. Scientists continue to debate whether she represents a "living fossil" species of primitive humans -- "Homo floresiensis" -- surviving on her isolated island, or is an abnormal dwarfed modern human with anatomical pathologies.

In the inaugural Boston University Dialogues in Biological Anthropology on April 2nd, 2010, Dr. Robert D. Martin (Field Museum of Natural History) and Dr. Fred H. Smith (Illinois State University), offered opposing statements and presentations on the anatomy, context, and significance of the enigmatic Flores "hobbit." The one-on-one dialogue between Martin and Smith was followed by a public panel discussion, in which Boston University professors Matt Cartmill and Jeremy DeSilva joined in to discuss the meaning of these controversial fossils.

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