Rare events in earth history include the LB1 human skeleton from Flores, Indonesia, as a developmental singularity, not a unique taxon.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Eckhardt, Robert B; Henneberg, Maciej; Weller, Alex S; Hsü, Kenneth J
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume: 111
Issue: 33
Pagination: 11961-6
Date Published: 2014 Aug 19
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: Animals, Bone and Bones, Fossils, Hominidae, Indonesia, Phylogeny, Probability

The original centrally defining features of "Homo floresiensis" are based on bones represented only in the single specimen LB1. Initial published values of 380-mL endocranial volume and 1.06-m stature are markedly lower than later attempts to confirm them, and facial asymmetry originally unreported, then denied, has been established by our group and later confirmed independently. Of nearly 200 syndromes in which microcephaly is one sign, more than half include asymmetry as another sign and more than one-fourth also explicitly include short stature. The original diagnosis of the putative new species noted and dismissed just three developmental abnormalities. Subsequent independent attempts at diagnosis (Laron Syndrome, Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II, cretinism) have been hampered a priori by selectively restricted access to specimens, and disparaged a posteriori using data previously unpublished, without acknowledging that all of the independent diagnoses corroborate the patent abnormal singularity of LB1. In this report we establish in detail that even in the absence of a particular syndromic diagnosis, the originally defining features of LB1 do not establish either the uniqueness or normality necessary to meet the formal criteria for a type specimen of a new species. In a companion paper we present a new syndromic diagnosis for LB1.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407385111
Alternate Journal: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.