Flores hominid bones returned

Handover is unlikely to resolve scientific and ethical issues over Homo floresiensis

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
Feb 27, 2005

After a contentious sojourn in the lab of a senior Indonesian paleoanthropologist, most of the ancient hominid bones from the Indonesian island of Flores, published to acclaim in Nature last fall, are back in a new secure storage facility at their home institution, the Centre for Archaeology in Jakarta. Two leg bones from LB1, the 17,000-year-old type specimen nicknamed "The Hobbit" because it is so tiny, were left behind for additional study.

The controversy erupted after Teuku Jacob, professor emeritus of paleoanthropology at Gajah Mada University in Java, took the bones to his own lab. Jacob, who was not involved in the find, has said that this was standard practice and that scientists around the world have done research in the paleontology collections at Gajah Mada, which are particularly rich in Homo erectus fossils. Jacob could not be reached for comment.

"We've put a limit of March 3" for the...