There’s a new report out, claiming that the Flores Hobbits are probably an island dwarf version of Homo erectus, judging by their teeth.
Flores isn’t a very big island – ~5,000 square miles, similar to Connecticut. There couldn’t have been many hobbits. And they seem to have been there for a long time, hundreds of thousand of years, judging from tools found.
Which means that if they were what they seem to be, they would have suffered far more from genetic load than Neanderthals or Denisovans. All those problems of slightly deleterious alleles drifting to high frequencies would be much more serious, and the probability of salvage mutations would be much lower.. Moreover, the Flores Hobbits look screwed up (unlike Neanderthals), with many skeletal anomalies and asymmetries. This is why some anthropologists have argued that they are just diseased modern humans.
Point is, the island-dwarfed erectus story does makes sense, but it would inevitably result in them being highly screwed up. Like they are. I talked about this several years ago – “Back to the Trees” – and suggest that they might have suffered from partial mutational meltdown – too much load to have an efficient brain. The skeletal anomalies suggest that their load was pretty serious.