Report Reignites Feud Over ‘Little People of Flores’

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After the 18,000-year-old bones of diminutive people were found on the Indonesian island of Flores, the discoverers announced two years ago that these were remains of a previously unknown species of the ancestral human family. They gave it the name Homo floresiensis.

Doubts were raised almost immediately. But only now have opposing scientists from Indonesia, Australia and the United States weighed in with a comprehensive analysis based on their own first-hand examination of the bones and a single mostly complete skull.

The evidence, they reported yesterday, strongly supports their doubts. The discoverers, however, hastened to defend their initial new-species interpretation.

The critics concluded in an article in the current issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the “little people of Flores,” as they are often called, were not a newfound extinct species.

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