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"Complete nonsense," says Peter Brown, a paleoanthropologist at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.

He, his colleague Michael Morwood and their team were the ones who scratched the contentious skeleton -- item LB1 -- from layers of geological sediment three years ago -- in Liang Bua Cave on the Indonesian island of Flores.

The only riddle for those arguing on behalf of the Homo sapien faction was LB1's brain.

The size of an orange, it's much too small to be that of a pygmy.

A new species can very well develop without any eternal geographic separation. All Brown can see is "minor asymmetry." What's more, the deformed shape of the skull is easily explained: "After all, the skeleton was buried under six meters (20 feet) of sediment," Brown says.

And Bill Jungers, a morphologist at Stony Brook University in New York, says the bone walls aren't so thin either.

This medical condition is often associated with deformed limbs and severe physical handicaps.

That, in any case, is how he's described in a study penned by a team of experts associated with Indonesian anthropologist Teuku Jacob, of the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta.

The study was published in the August 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

So the scientists interpret the skeleton's oddities not as the specific characteristics of a new species of humans, but as typical symptoms of microcephaly.

These are Jacob's main arguments against the hypothesis that the discovery on Flores Island proves the existence of a distinct human species, Homo floriensis: "Rubbish," replies Brown, insisting on the hobbit-hypothesis.

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