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Remains of New Species of Hobbit-Sized Human Found

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  • Remains of New Species of Hobbit-Sized Human Found

    LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Australia have found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 18,000 years ago on an Indonesian island in a discovery that adds another piece to the complex puzzle of human evolution.

    The partial skeleton of Homo floresiensis, found in a cave on the island of Flores, is of an adult female that was 3 feet tall, had a chimpanzee-sized brain and was substantially different from modern humans.

    It shared the isolated island to the east of Java with miniature elephants and Komodo dragons. The creature walked upright, probably evolved into its dwarf size because of environmental conditions and coexisted with modern humans in the region for thousands of years.

    "It is an extraordinarily important find," Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in London, told a news conference on Wednesday. "It challenges the whole idea of what it is that makes us human."

    Peter Brown of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, and his colleagues made the discovery of the skull and other bones, and miniature tools in September 2003 while looking for records of modern human migration to Asia. They reported the finding in the science journal Nature.

    "Finding these hominins on an isolated island in Asia, and with elements of modern human behavior in tool making and hunting, is truly remarkable and could not have been predicted by previous discoveries," Brown said in a statement.

    Local legends tell of hobbit-like creatures existing on islands long ago but there has been no evidence of them.

    DESCENDENT OF HOMO ERECTUS

    The hominin family tree, which includes humans and pre-humans, diverged from the chimpanzee line about 7 million years ago. Early African hominins walked upright, were small and had tiny brains.

    The new species, dubbed "Flores man," is thought to be a descendent of Homo erectus, which had a large brain, was full-sized and spread out from Africa to Asia about 2 million years ago.

    The new species became isolated on Flores and evolved into its dwarf form to conform with conditions, such as food shortages. Flores, which was probably never connected to the mainland, was home to a variety of exotic creatures including a dwarf form of the primitive elephant Stegodon.

    Modern humans had reached Australia about 45,000 years ago but they may not have passed through Flores. The scientists suspect the new species became extinct after a massive volcanic eruption on the island about 12,000 years ago.

    Brown and his colleagues have found the remains of seven other dwarf individuals at the same site since the first find.

    "The other individuals all show similar characteristics, and over a time range that now extends from as long ago as 95,000 years to as recently as 13,000 years ago -- a population of hobbits that seemed to disappear at about the same time as the pygmy elephants that they hunted," said Bert Roberts, one of the authors of the Nature study.

    \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

    \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

  • #2
    Cool!

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    • #3
      If you've read the Skrayling Tree, you'll recognize them as the Pukawatchi.
      The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

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      • #4
        Oh yeah I heard that on the TV or radio, its pretty cool!

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        • #5
          Bloody Hobbits!
          Google ergo sum

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          • #6
            Well - at least they're all dead! :D
            \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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            • #7
              Frodo! :lol:

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              • #8
                Were they the ancient Celts who lived in China and practised Buddhism? I understand there's cave paintings of them wearing tartan!

                Another thing which fed into the old mythologies was the birth of individuals with disabilities - eg Down's Syndrome, autism, etc - which led to tales of babies being swapped over in the cradle by faery folk. ; I probably don't need to mention "mongoloid" features, for example.

                Another theory is that the "little people" were originally the Picts, about which very little is known. Could they once have been a different species - or am I venturing too far into Robert E Howard territory here?
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                • #9
                  Well - this is my job! There's still a lot of mythology around about people with disabilities. The boring but liberating truth is that they're just the same as the rest of us, ie. not angels or demons just people...

                  (I say this because I recieved an email today from a woman complaining about stereotyping in horror films / books - Dean Koontz was mentioned for special condemnation - but I've never read him.)
                  \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                  • #10
                    Wow! Well, I've always believe that we won't ever finish to discover new things.
                    Sweet moons!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Remains of New Species of Hobbit-Sized Human Found

                      Originally posted by MJR
                      LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists in Australia have found a new species of hobbit-sized humans who lived about 18,000 years ago on an Indonesian island in a discovery that adds another piece to the complex puzzle of human evolution.
                      Someone had written in to a local paper about this. Their letter went somewhere along the lines of this:

                      Of course it wasnt hobbits they found. Reports say there were seven skeletons found and that the 'cave' they were found in was actually a diamond mine. A beatiful lady who lived nearby said she saw them going off with pickaxes, spades etc a few weeks before singing a peculiar song. Hiho, hiho....

                      Well, that isnt exactly what they wrote but it was basically the same story. I found it hilarious!

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                      • #12
                        I don't know, I read it and thought more of "Worms in the Earth."

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                        • #13
                          Some of the stories I've read online statae that the critters may have existed into the 19th century. Apparently the island has legands of a little people called "Ebu gogo."

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                          • #14
                            I have come across (a number of times) the notion that Trolls might be folk memories of Neanderthals. If you think of the places where trolls might be found, then they sound pretty similar to living conditions during the ice ages (for our ancestors too, but, of course we don't remember that bit.)
                            You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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                            "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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                            • #15
                              If you've read the Skrayling Tree, you'll recognize them as the Pukawatchi.
                              I'm actually a little embarrassed that that didn't occur to me straight away when I read it the other day, AND I'M READING THAT BOOK AGAIN AS WE SPEAK!!! Sheesh... It's cos I have a cold, that's what it is, head's muzzy, brain's a little slow... Yes, that's it. Honest. :oops:

                              Yet the Hobbit connection popped into my head straight away. DAMN THOSE FUZZY-FOOTED FREAKS!!! :x

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