Are the small human-like fossils found on Flores human endemic cretins?

Obendorf, P, Oxnard, C and Kefford, B 2008, 'Are the small human-like fossils found on Flores human endemic cretins?', Royal Society of London Proceedings Biological, vol. 275, pp. 1287-1296.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Are the small human-like fossils found on Flores human endemic cretins?
Author(s) Obendorf, P
Oxnard, C
Kefford, B
Year 2008
Journal name Royal Society of London Proceedings Biological
Volume number 275
Start page 1287
End page 1296
Total pages 9
Publisher The Royal Society
Abstract Fossils from Liang Bua (LB) on Flores, Indonesia, including a nearly complete skeleton (LB1) dated to 18kyr BP, were assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis. We hypothesize that these individuals are myxoedematous endemic (ME) cretins, part of an inland population of (mostly unaffected) Homo sapiens. ME cretins are born without a functioning thyroid; their congenital hypothyroidism leads to severe dwarfism and reduced brain size, but less severe mental retardation and motor disability than neurological endemic cretins. We show that the fossils display many signs of congenital hypothyroidism, including enlarged pituitary fossa, and that distinctive primitive features of LB1 such as the double rooted lower premolar and the primitive wrist morphology are consistent with the hypothesis. We find that the null hypothesis (that LB1 is not a cretin) is rejected by the pituitary fossa size of LB1, and by multivariate analyses of cranial measures. We show that critical environmental factors were potentially present on Flores, how remains of cretins but not of unaffected individuals could be preserved in caves, and that extant oral traditions may provide a record of cretinism.
Subject Biological (Physical) Anthropology
DOI - identifier 10.1098/rspb.2007.1488
Copyright notice © 2008 The Royal Society
ISSN 0962-8452
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 54 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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