Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Flores man" just had Down's syndrome

This vindicates what was my conclusion from the start:  That Flores man was not a new species. The small stature of the person seemed to indicate a new species to many but that was not in fact unusual in Australia once. And Australia and Indonesia are of course neighbouring countries. 

All mention of Australia's first inhabitants --a pygmy race -- is normally suppressed these days but there are old photographs to prove their existence. And one (height 3'7") was alive until recently. They have now interbred with the Aborigines but some are still very short.  Their last holdout was in Kuranda and one day in 2004 a very short man walked right past me in Kuranda's main street. 

So I think an explanation of the bones as those of a very short person with Downs syndrome covers the evidence very well

The oldest case of Down's syndrome? 15,000-year-old 'Flores man' bones are not evidence of a new human species, study reveals

In October 2004 skeletal remains found on the island of Flores in Indonesia hinted at a previously unknown species of human that existed 15,000 years ago.

Called Homo floresiensis, the species was dubbed a ‘hobbit’ as it was smaller than any other known species of human.

But reanalysis has revealed that it may not be a new species at all, but rather a human that has features consistent with someone with Down's syndrome.

The latest findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by an international team of researchers.

They suggest that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1 after the cave it was discovered in - Liang Bua - does not represent a new species.

Indeed, aside from LB1, no substantial new bone discoveries have been made in the cave since this finding.

‘The skeletal sample from Liang Bua cave contains fragmentary remains of several individuals,’ said Dr Robert Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State University.

‘LB1 has the only skull and thigh bones in the entire sample.’

The first indicator that the finding could be explained by Down's syndrome was craniofacial asymmetry, a left-right mismatch of the skull that is characteristic of the disorder.

The 15,000-year-old skeleton, officially known as Homo floresiensis, got its nickname from its squat stature.

The 3-foot (1-metre) tall, 30-year-old female was based on remains that were uncovered in the Liang Bua cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores in 2003.

Since the discovery, scientists debated whether the specimen actually represents an extinct species in the human family tree, perhaps a diminutive offshoot of Homo erectus, a 1.8-million-year-old hominid and the first to have body proportions comparable to those of modern Homo sapiens.

The researchers noted this asymmetry in LB1 as early as 2006, but it had not been reported by the excavating team and was later dismissed as a result of the skull's being long buried, he said.

Initial descriptions of Homo floresiensis focused on LB1's unusual anatomical characteristics: a cranial volume reported as only 380 milliliters (23.2 cubic inches), suggesting a brain less than one third the size of an average modern human.

The skeleton also had short thigh bones, which were used to reconstruct a creature standing only 3.5 feet (1.06 metres) tall.

Although LB1 lived only 15,000 years ago, comparisons were made to earlier hominins, including Homo erectus and Australopithecus.

Other traits were characterised as unique and therefore indicative of a new species.

But a thorough re-examination of the available evidence in the context of clinical studies, the researchers said, suggests a different explanation.

In the first place, they write, the original figures for cranial volume and stature are underestimates, ‘markedly lower than any later attempts to confirm them.’

The researchers have consistently found a cranial volume of about 430 milliliters (26.2 cubic inches).

'The difference is significant, and the revised figure falls in the range predicted for a modern human with Down's syndrome *from the same geographic region*, Dr Eckhardt said.

LB1 is shown in three different views to illustrate facial asymmetry. A is the actual specimen, B is the right side doubled at the midline and mirrored, and C is the left side doubled and mirrored. Differences in left and right side facial architectures are apparent, and illustrate growth abnormalities of LB1

LB1 is shown in three different views to illustrate facial asymmetry. A is the actual specimen, B is the right side doubled at the midline and mirrored, and C is the left side doubled and mirrored. Differences in left and right side facial architectures are apparent, and illustrate growth abnormalities of LB1

The original estimate of 3.5 feet (1.06 metres) for the creature's height was based on extrapolation combining the short thigh bone with a formula derived from an African pygmy population.

But humans with Down's syndrome also have diagnostically short thigh bones, Dr Eckhardt said.

Though these and other features are unusual, he acknowledged, 'unusual does not equal unique.

'The originally reported traits are not so rare as to have required the invention of a new hominin species.'

Instead, the researchers build the case for an alternative diagnosis: that of Down's syndrome, one of the most commonly occurring developmental disorders in modern humans.

'When we first saw these bones, several of us immediately spotted a developmental disturbance,' said 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's syndrome.'

A previously unpublished measurement of LB1's occipital-frontal circumference - the circumference of the skull taken roughly above the tops of the ears - allowed the researchers to compare LB1 to clinical data routinely collected on patients with developmental disorders.

Here too, the brain size they estimate is within the range expected for an Australomelanesian human with Down's syndrome.

LB1's short thigh bones not only match the height reduction seen in Down's syndrome, Dr Eckhardt said, but when corrected statistically for normal growth, they would yield a stature of about 1.26 meters, or just over four feet, a figure matched by some humans now living on Flores and in surrounding regions. [Vietnamese can be very short too]

These and other Down-like characteristics, the researchers state, are present only in LB1, and not in the other Liang Bua skeletal remains, further evidence of LB1's abnormality.

'This work is not presented in the form of a fanciful story, but to test a hypothesis: Are the skeletons from Liang Bua cave sufficiently unusual to require invention of a new human species?' Dr Eckhardt said.

'Our reanalysis shows that they are not. The less strained explanation is a developmental disorder.

'Here the signs point rather clearly to Down's syndrome, which occurs in more than one per thousand human births around the world.'


Liberal Party members threaten to quit party after Tony Abbott's backdown on changes to race hate laws

Dozens of disillusioned Liberal Party members have approached the Institute of Public Affairs, the free market think tank says, threatening to quit the party because of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's broken promise on the Racial Discrimination Act.

The IPA has emailed its supporters pleading for cash to fund a $38,000 attack ad which will use the Prime Minister's own words against him.  "Tony Abbott has given up but the IPA never will," the email says.

The IPA will quote from Mr Abbott's speech to the IPA in 2012 when he said "freedom of speech is an essential foundation of democracy".

And in a further rebuff of the Prime Minister, the IPA is offering donors a copy of his comments signed by the News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, who was successfully prosecuted under the current laws.

Mr Abbott phoned Bolt and John Roskam from the IPA to tell them he would be announcing the government would be abandoning its reforms ahead of Tuesday's public announcement.

Mr Roskam from the IPA urged the Coalition not to underestimate the "white hot anger" of the Liberal faithful in response to the "broken promise".

"We have been contacted by many IPA members who are also Liberal Party members who have said they will resign their membership from the Liberal Party over this broken promise from the government," he told Fairfax Media.

"The feeling from many supporters of the Coalition is a combination of deep sadness and disappointment and white hot anger."

He warned the Liberal Party base was becoming increasingly unhappy about the Coalition's decision to break key election commitments.  "This comes on top of Tony Abbott increasing taxes, not cutting spending and now implementing potentially a vast government program of surveillance of every Australian," he said.

"What many people can't understand is that he will compromise on a fundamental freedom but not an expensive, ineffective welfare scheme for the middle class."


Labor, Greens prove themselves to be slaves to terrorists

LABOR, Greens and what passes for leadership in Australia’s Muslim community are united in opposition to a new suite of anti-terrorism laws proposed by the federal government to deal with the threat posed by jihadists returning from foreign conflicts.
The Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed has called on “all fair-minded Australians” to support a Muslim-driven campaign against the draft laws.

The ubiquitous Keysar Trad from the Sydney-based Lebanese Muslim Association has called the federal government’s plans to beef up terror laws ­"deplorable" and “divisive”.

The Greens and Labor, which are both also trying to curry favour with the Muslim community and woo their inner-urban constituents, have expressed their opposition to the suggested changes. The Greens could never be relied upon to put matters of national security foremost.

Labor, however, has supporters in mainstream Australia who would be dismayed to learn their party’s leadership has now committed itself to the elitist view that national security is part of a conservative conspiracy, and that the party’s political interests are better served pandering to minority ethnic communities.

Moreover, the proposed changes — particularly those relating to the retention of metadata records — are not dissimilar to plans circulated by the former Labor attorney-­general Nicola Roxon two years ago.

On Friday, the director-­general of ASIO David Irvine and the deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Andrew Colvin tried to address some of the misinformation the ABC and Fairfax media have been promulgating.

The principal points Irvine made was that though the current terrorism threat level is “medium”, that is, a terrorist ­attack is likely and could occur, there is increased concern that there could be multiple attacks in “a dozen different places”.

With as many as 150 Australian-born jihadists fighting in Syria and elsewhere with murderous terrorist organisations, he did not need to expand on the nature of the threat.

Both men stressed that the changes they sought from the government were necessary, in line with international security requirements, and essential to meet the changing communications technologies.

They were, said Irvine, an “absolutely crucial tool to protect Australia and Australians”.

Colvin used the identification and capture of ABC staffer Jill Meagher’s killer as an example of the use of metadata to illustrate the need to ­access stored communications information. Without accessing the metadata, he said police “would not have solved the crime as quickly as we did”.

With evil braggarts including convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elo-mar, who was pictured holding the severed heads of Syrian government soldiers, threatening to enact the same sort of horrific crimes in Australia, the need to give the security authorities the assistance they seek is obvious.

But they both also stressed that such material was also valuable in eliminating suspects from suspicion.

Which leaves the civil liberty argument and the discrimination argument mounted by the Muslims, Labor and the Greens looking pathetic.

The proposals do not represent an expansion of powers, rather they are designed to ­ensure that the data currently available remains available.

With evil braggarts including convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elo-mar, who was pictured holding the severed heads of Syrian government soldiers, threatening to enact the same sort of horrific crimes in Australia, the need to give the security authorities the assistance they seek is obvious.

Labor and the Greens can suffer whatever electoral backlash occurs when one of the nut jobs breaches the security barrier, and there have been a number of horrendous attacks thwarted through good intelligence and policing.

The Muslim community, which is by no means homogeneous, must at some time confront the core differences between ­Islamic philosophy and Western ­culture.

Those who support a global caliphate, the goal of many of the jihadists, have no place in Australia. Their ideology is ­obviously at odds with the goals of a liberal democracy.
For too long our liberalism has meant that we have been excessively tolerant of the ­intolerant.

Nor should the ongoing Gaza situation influence Australian Muslims.

Hamas is a terrorist organisation, it is proscribed by our laws, its supporters are just as opposed to the values of our ­nation as they are dedicated to the murder of every Jew and the extinction of Israel.

As the Hamas constitution, or charter — never rescinded nor amended since it was first published in 1988 — says: ­"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

Hamas defines its struggle as “against the Jews,” who are “smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found”.

If our security agencies need the tools to deal with those who foster such sentiment and support terrorism, they should have them.



Australia’s Islamic minority of 2.21 per cent is holding a squirrel grip on our Parliament. At least 15 Federal seats are now in the hands of Islamic voters with populations of between 5 per cent and 22.67 per cent with many more seats likely to swing on the Islamic vote.

Two seats that have over a 20 per cent Islam component are held by Labor, including “Blaxland” 22.67 per cent (Jason Clare) and “Watson” 20.25 per cent (Tony Burke).

Despite the swing to the LNP at the latest election, all but 3 of the 15 seats are held by Labor with the next election promising a clean sweep to Islam/Labor of up to 21 seats with substantial Islamic minorities.

Labor is pro Palestinian for good reason and the Coalition is desperately placating Islamic leaders at every turn as Islam permeates our Parliament.

Australian voters who follow the Jewish faith comprise of less than 0.5 per cent of the electorate with the highest numbers in the seat of “Wentworth” 12.6 per cent (Malcolm Turnbull).
The Jewish vote, which is mainly centred in traditional LNP seats anyway, has little effect on a Federal election.

Anyone following Federal elections will have noticed that a 5 per cent swing will win most seats, 10 per cent is a given and 20 per cent a flat out certainty.

Apart from the last election, Western Sydney holds the key to who gains office Federally and Islamic contenders are now standing for pre-selection in red ribbon ALP seats and winning.

Tony Abbott’s latest announcement of anti-terrorism legislation was met with bitter objections from Islamic leaders, claiming they were being targeted, while Labor’s Richard Marles  claimed those of us with Anglo-Saxon heritage were also guilty of terrorism.

Marles’ extraordinary (tho’ not unexpected) statement is a forerunner to Labor’s intention of electorally climbing into bed with Islam. After all, it has worked extremely hard to succour those of the Islamic faith and has no intention to desert them in 2016. The Islam vote now holds the key to Labor’s return to office.

The cornerstone of stemming Islamic influence on the Australian landscape was Section 18C but unfortunately that was left in the hands of a bumbling Senator Brandis who literally couldn’t sell an ice cream to an Arab.

While 18C remains, this post is illegally offending those of the Islamic faith on the basis of religion or ethnicity, and that's the way Labor and Islam want it to stay.

Perhaps law-abiding Islamists remain deafeningly silent over the little Aussie boy holding up the head of an infidel for fear of offending Australians and being in breach of 18C... yeah, right.


1 comment:

Paul said...

The Jewish vote, which is mainly centred in traditional LNP seats anyway, has little effect on a Federal election.

They certainly had an impact on keeping 18C intact. Donations talk.