The untold story of the curiously controversial Homo floresiensis dig

The cranium of Homo floresiensis


ON A Tuesday in early September 2003, Benyamin Tarus struck bone. Digging by means of a cave ground on the Indonesian island of Flores, his trowel sliced into the left eyebrow ridge of an historical human cranium.

It quickly grew to become clear that Benyamin had uncovered proof of an extinct, diminutive human relative not like something scientists had seen earlier than. It was given the title Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the hobbit.

The discover was described as “probably the most important discovery regarding our personal genus in my lifetime” by one researcher, and justifiably so. H. floresiensis promised to overturn established concepts concerning the form of our prehistoric household tree and the significance of massive brains for the success of historical people. As importantly, the bones confirmed that south-east Asia had been a hotbed of historical human evolution.

You may anticipate that Indonesian researchers would have been as excited as anybody by the invention on their doorstep. You’d be incorrect. After H. floresiensis was introduced to the world, a number one Indonesian archaeologist condemned the worldwide reporting of the invention as “unethical”. A couple of days later, he shocked his colleagues by serving to one other Indonesian researcher take possession of the bones. After they had been returned a number of months later, some had been broken past restore.

It has lengthy been a thriller to many individuals why the Indonesian scientists reacted so strongly. My analysis might help. I’ve spent six years digging into the H. floresiensis story and speaking to Indonesian scientists. Not solely do I now have a larger appreciation of the scientific …

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