No microcephaly for Hobbit

Endocast studies suggest that overall brain shape of Homo floresiensis resembles Homo erectus

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
Mar 3, 2005

The tiny brain of LB1, the type specimen of bones from the Indonesian island of Flores that has been at the center of a controversy over access to samples, suggests that the hominid lived a fully human hunter–gatherer life and was not afflicted with microcephaly, according to a paper published yesterday (March 3) by Science.

First author Dean Falk, of the Department of Anthropology at Florida State University, said endocast studies revealed that LB1's overall brain shape was unique, but resembles mostly Homo erectus. It possessed primitive features such as small size—a chimp-like 417 cubic centimeters—but also had advanced features she termed "amazing." For example, LB1 had an enlarged Brodmann's area 10 in the prefrontal cortex, which in Homo sapiens is thought to handle higher cognitive processes, such as taking initiative and planning. She did not speculate about whether LB1—which has been called The Hobbit—had language. LB1 demonstrates...

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