Homo floresiensis and humanity

Just been skimming through the debates on the BBC News site (‘Eton or the zoo?‘ and ‘What does it mean to be human?‘) about the recent, wondrous discovery of hobbit-sized human remains in Indonesia. Feeling pretty cynical about us so-called sapiens, I posted a comment that I thought I’d stick here in case it doesn’t get selected by the Beeb’s editors:

The definition of human is certainly an interesting philosophical question. But in practical terms, it seems obvious to me that living creatures, both humans and animal, should be treated with respect and care. However—even putting cruelty to animals and vivisection aside—people’s definition of "human", in practice, often fails to extend past their nation or race. 100,000 civilians dead in Iraq and we still ostentatiously mourn individual Britons that few of us knew. So it also seems obvious that only "freakshow" media-spectacular abuse would save hypothetical surviving Homo floresiensis from more obvious brutalities in this world.