Reading Carl Zimmer’s excellent web log, The Loom, I came across an interesting post about the controversy surrounding Homo floresiensis, the diminutive “hobbit” hominid described by a group of Australian paleontologists last October. Seems a prominent Indonesian anthropologist received the fossils in his lab and the Australians are now accusing him of locking the bones away to prevent further study.
Professor Teuku Jacob wrote a response to his Australian critics, citing his belief that the fossils are not a new species, but actually an unfortunate victim of microencephaly and retardation. In his essay, Dr. Jacob accuses the Australians of being ‘conquistadors’ pillaging South East Asia for archaeological treasures. This is certain to touch off all sorts of simmering issues in the often contentious world of paleoanthropology.