Meanwhile humans around the globe have bones just as small or smaller than these fragments from Palau, says William L. Jungers of Stony Brook University, who has been studying the postcranial skeleton of LB1. “But none of them anywhere in the world are as short as the various individuals of Homo floresiensis.” Furthermore, he adds, none of them share LB1’s suite of primitive skeletal characteristics, such as her apelike wrist bones and her flaring pelvis, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the pelvis of the 3.2-million-year-old fossil from Ethiopia known as Lucy.
Even hobbit deniers, such as Robert B. Eckhardt of Pennsylvania State University, concede that “it’s easy to rule out cretinism and MOPD II.” Still, he and others maintain that Laron syndrome is a viable diagnosis. The problem, they say, is that pathologies are complex and the way they manifest varies from person to person. “If you have to match all 33 symptoms, you’re not going to find anything,” remarks John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “You have to go based on the preponderance of evidence.”
This article was originally published with the title Hobbit Hullabaloo.