Misinterpreted fragments of leg bones, teeth and brow ridges found in Palau appear to be an archaeologist's undoing, according to researchers at three institutions. They say that the so-called dwarfs of these Micronesian islands actually were modern, normal-sized hunters and gatherers.
Scientists from the University of Oregon, North Carolina State University and the Australian National University refute the conclusion of Lee R. Berger and colleagues that Hobbit-like little people
once lived there.(1)
"One of his biggest mistakes was rushing to publish," said University of Oregon anthropologist Greg C. Nelson of Berger. "He did not take the time to understand the area in which he was working -- its entire history, not just the skeletal stuff," he said. "Any time you work anywhere, you have to understand this history. You just can't walk in and cowboy it, pull some stuff out and draw conclusions in the absence of understanding the bigger picture."