Around 10 years ago, archaeologists excavated the skeletal remains of a "hobbit" human, called the Flores human. Scientists now say that the bone features of the Flores human suggest that it had Down syndrome.
The skeletal remains of the human were found in the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003. Scientists believed it was a new species, which was distinct from the modern human, and called it Homo floresiensis or the Flores Man. The skeletal remains indicated that the human was just 3.5 feet tall.
A recent research conducted by an international team of scientists suggest that the "single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species." The scientists say that the skeletal remains show that the individual human was developmentally abnormal. They say that the bone feature shows important characteristics related to a person with Down syndrome.
The disease affects many people globally and doctors are able to identify Down syndrome by prenatal screening. Down syndrome is typically associated with physical growth delays as well as mental impairment.
Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State University, who is a part of the research team, says that after the discovery of LB1 scientists have not been able to find any further skeletal remains, which had similar bone features. The size of the Flores Man's brain is believed to be about one-third of a normal human and its thigh bone was also very short.
"When we first saw these bones, several of us immediately spotted a developmental disturbance," says Eckhardt, "but we did not assign a specific diagnosis because the bones were so fragmentary. Over the years, several lines of evidence have converged on Down syndrome."
The scientists say that the skull of the Flores Man was not asymmetrical, which was the first indication that the individual has some sort of disorder. The researchers compared the skull with the clinical data of a person suffering from Down syndrome and found certain similar traits.
The scientists say that if the short thing bone size is corrected it will result in the recreation of a human, who will be just over four feet, or 1.26 meters. Some humans surrounding in the Flores Island are still around the same height, which suggests that if someone is suffering from the Down syndrome then their height will also reduce in a similar manner to that of the LB1.
Some scientists may refute the findings of the latest research; however, with the lack of enough specimen, it cannot be confirmed if the Flores Man is another human species.