Wednesday, October 27, 2004

"Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia

"Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia
Hillary Mayell for National Geographic NewsOctober 27, 2004

Scientists have found fossil skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child (See pictures). The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia as recently as 13,000 years ago.

Australian and Indonesian researchers discovered bones of the miniature humans in a cave on Flores, an island midway between Asia and Australia.

Scientists have determined that the first skeleton they found belongs to a species of human completely new to science. Named Homo floresiensis, after the island on which it was found, the tiny human has also been dubbed by dig workers as the "hobbit," after the tiny creatures from the Lord of the Rings books.

The original skeleton, a female, stood at just 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighed about 25 kilograms (55 pounds), and was around 30 years old at the time of her death 18,000 years ago.

Read the full story

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