Wednesday, October 12, 2005


12 October 2005

The bones of more "hobbits", a one metre tall species of human discovered two years ago, have been unearthed by scientists excavating the floor of a cave on Flores, Indonesia.

The discovery of the remains confirms that the hobbits were an ancient species and not pygmies or humans with diseased skulls.

The hobbits, called Homo floresiensis, used fire and hunted a dwarf species of elephant called stegadon.

Dating of the sedimentary layers that encased the latest bones suggest the H floresiensis was living in the cave as recently as 12,000 years ago, long after the demise of all other human species apart from modern man, Homo sapiens.

The scientists excavated a range of bones from the miniature people, the oldest dating to about 74,000 years ago, suggesting that the creatures had lived in and around the cave for at least 50,000 years.

The original hobbit skull was about the size of a chimpanzee's, and housed a brain not much bigger than a small grapefruit. Other scientists were amazed that a human-like creature could survive with such a small brain.



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