“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
A recent BBC website report suggested that 40,000 years ago, there were three or four species of humans in the world, and not just Homo sapiens. The other species, the opine, would have been Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo floresiensis – the so-called “hobbit people”. The BBC bases this off initial research on the diminutive hobbit people, suggesting that many of their characteristics were unique and, hence, indicated a separate species. Yet five years earlier, clearly published research showed that these hobbit people were not members of a separate species.
Researchers from Penn State examined a number of features of these diminutive people and found them to be consistent with known developmental disorders and genetic illnesses often associated with inbreeding – a likely scenario for a population isolated on a remote island like Flores.
Several indicators were more consistent with Down’s Syndrome. For example, there was a left-right asymmetry of the skull. The shortened thigh bones are also characteristic of height reduction caused by Down’s.
Lead researcher Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, said, “Are the skeletons from Liang Bua cave sufficiently unusual to require invention of a new human species? Our reanalysis shows that they are not.”
One would have thought that the BBC would have read this research – but perhaps it simply did not fit their narrative. For our part, we see all human beings as descended from Adam and, hence, within the same species.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Penn State. “Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human.” ScienceDaily, 4 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140804151510.htm>. Image: Cast of the entire Flores LB1 specimen, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic.
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