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Unread 08-06-2018   #1
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Today in Shrinking News! OHYEAH?

Bodies keep shrinking on Indonesian island of Flores, and scientists aren't sure why

PUBLISHED AUG 3, 2018, 9:02 AM SGT

(NYTIMES) - In 2003, researchers digging in a mountain cave on the Indonesian island of Flores discovered astonishing fossils of a tiny, humanlike individual with a small, chimp-sized brain.

They called the species Homo floresiensis. These relatives of modern humans stood just over three feet tall. Several villages in the area, scientists noted, are inhabited by people whose average height is 4 feet 9 inches (144cm).

Was this the result of interbreeding long ago between taller modern humans and shorter Homo floresiensis? Fifteen years after the bones' discovery, a study of the DNA of living people on Flores has delivered a verdict.

"It's rare in science that you set about to answer a question and you get something of a definitive answer and it's the end," said Richard E. Green, a geneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a co-author of the study, published Thursday (Aug 2) in Science.

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