Peter Obendorf of the RMIT in Melbourne, Australia now says that the specimens that have been dubbed Homo floresiensis are nothing more than modern humans with an iodine deficiency. Foxnews reports of an upcoming article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, in which this case is made:
Writing Wednesday in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Obendorf and his colleagues argue the hobbit's short stature and primitive anatomical features can be explained as dwarf cretinism caused by the dietary deficit.
The idea has not met with much support. Among others, Bill Jungers had this to say:
"The only merit to this paper is their correct dismissal of a competing 'pathology du jour' called Laron Syndrome (which causes skeletal deformities). The rest is a rather large and stinky pile of misinformation and wild speculation."
As Glenn Reynolds would say, Ouch.