Wee Homo floresiensis – if the name isn't premature - is an enigma, apparently, and there's a debate raging over whether the only skull so far found is that of a microcephalic variant of Homo sapiens, or that of a wholly new species, first postulated by J R R Tolkien many decades ago in his speculative scientific tract, The Hobbit. The debate has been unresolved for some time now, but it's getting newspaper space currently, and I'm trying to discover why.
Arguments for microcephaly are outlined here and here. The female skull, from a skeleton known as LB1, was found on the
There's clearly a difficulty with there being only one cranium. There's also no DNA, which degrades very quickly in tropical climates. Apparently there are political difficulties inhibiting further exploration of the site.
The trouble with the microcephaly argument is that microcephaly comes in all shapes and sizes, so to speak, so that just about any skull could be rationalized to fit into that category. As one critic pointed out, many new hominid finds have been described as pathological on first discovery. More investigation is clearly needed.