Return of the Hobbit

Archaeologists uncover more evidence of tiny human-like creatures; experts still at war over interpretation

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
Oct 12, 2005

New postcranial bones and a second jaw matching that of the Hobbit—the much-ballyhooed 18,000 year-old partial skeleton revealed a year ago—strengthens the case that a population of tiny creatures now known as Homo floresiensis lived on the Indonesian island of Flores long after all other human species except our own had gone extinct.

However, paleoanthropologists not connected with the find, published in this week'sNature, say the new discoveries don't settle questions about how the Hobbits fit into the story of human evolution. They argue it's still not clear whether the tiny-brained specimen discovered in 2003 suffered from a deforming malady such as microcephaly, or why the bones exhibit such an unprecedented and bewildering mix of primate traits.

The discovery team claims the bones recovered from two digging seasons are the remains of 9 individual Hobbits that washed into Liang Bua cave between 95,000 and 12,000 years ago.

But...

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