World-Renowned Anthropologist Richard Leakey Convenes Top Researchers To Discuss ‘Flo,’ The Enigmatic ‘Hobbit’
Image: Skull of Homo floresiensis. Photo credit: Michael J. Morwood.
As the debate rages on about whether Homo floresiensis – the so called "Hobbit" – fossils discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 represent a separate human species, the symposium will bring together the researchers currently in the process of describing and analyzing the remains. Convened by Richard Leakey, the world renowned paleoanthropologist who is Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook, the public symposium, "Hobbits in the Haystack: Homo floresiensis and Human Evolution," is hosted by the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook.
"At the symposium, we’ll do our best to separate fact from myth on the controversial issues surrounding this prehistoric hominin, which has gained international celebrity status," said William Jungers, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair of the Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook. "A cast of the entire skeleton of the specimen has never been displayed anywhere, inside or outside of Indonesia. This is a real first."
Nicknamed "Flo" and referred to as a "Hobbit" due to its brain size – about a third of the size of modern humans – and small physical stature, the enigmatic Homo floresiensis has emerged as one of the most fascinating and perplexing twists to the story of human evolution in recent history. Dated to only 17,000 years ago, these "Hobbits" possessed an unexpected number of primitive morphologies more reminiscent of earlier Homo erectus or even Australopithecus, than modern humans.
Among the researchers presenting at the April 21 conference are Michael J. Morwood, University of Wollongong, Australia; Thomas Sutikna, National Research and Development Centre for Archaeology, Jakarta; Mark Moore, University of New England, Australia; Dean Falk, Florida State University; Peter Brown, University of New England, Australia; Matthew Tocheri, of the Smithsonian Institution; Susan Larson, Stony Brook University; William Jungers, Stony Brook University; and Charles Hildebolt, Washington University, St. Louis.