Homo Florsiensis or also known as the hobbit is a dwarf species of the modern human. A skeleton was found in the Liang Bua cave on the island Flores in Indonesia in 2003. The hobbit was 1 meter in height, weighed about 55pounds and had a brain size of 417 cc whereas the human brain today is 1500 cc.
The hobbit has a similar skull to the human skull today with teeth, etc but had a receding forehead and no chin. Many fossils and bones were found but only one full body was reassembled and it was named LB1. LB1 was female around the age of 30. These fossils were dated about 38000 to 18000 years ago and they suggest that Homo Floresiensis lived around 95000 to 13000 years ago
The hobbits hunted pygmy elephants, komodo dragons and giant rats. They used stone tools and fire. Tools used by the Homo Floresiensis’ were discovered in 1998 on Flores that were dated about 840000 years back.
Scientists are working on being able to extract mitochondrial DNA from LB1’s bones. The bones have not been fossilized and are fairly recent which allows a higher chance of the DNA to be extracted. On other hand, Indonesia is a warm weather climate which makes it harder to retrieve the DNA. If DNA is able to be extracted then it will be easier to see the connection to humans today.
Homo Floresiensis’ are believed to be related to Homo Erectus which is behind humans in the evolutionary scale. The DNA will be able to help scientists see how Homo Erectus’ evolved to humans and how the hobbit is related.
Dmanisi hominids were found in Georgia recently and are smaller than the Homo Floresiensis but have a larger brain at the size of 600 cc. The Homo Erectus had the brain size of about 900 cc. The Hobbit has similarities to both and people speculate as to which it truly evolved from.
Humans arrived on Flores about 55000 years ago which would be around the same time that Homo Floresiensis’ lived there. There are stories told in Liang Bua about creatures called Ebu Gogo that were small, couldn’t pronounce words and walked oddly. The description resembles the hobbits.
It is amazing at the fact that such a tiny creature with a brain size of 417 cc was capable of living along modern humans for 30000 years, made tools, hunted and crossed water barriers. They would have had to cross a water barrier from Asia to Flores. Homo Floresiensis is the smallest human species ever discovered!
There was a large volcanic eruption around the same time that both the Homo Floresiensis and the pygmy elephants went extinct. It is believed that the eruption was the cause of their extinctions. There were hobbit and elephant remains below a 12000 year old ash layer.
Human remains were found only one layer above the layer of ash that contained the remains of the Homo Floresiensis’ and pygmy elephants. So there is no true evidence to the species interacting but many researchers believe that they did co-exist especially due to the stories mentioned earlier about Ebu Gogo.
Homo Floresiensis’ were nicknamed the Hobbit because of their resemblance to the creatures called hobbits in the fictional book “Lord of the Rings”. The hobbits in the book were tiny just like the Homo Floresiensis.
I believe that further research is needed to see where exactly the Homo Floresiensis’ evolved to and from Also, I believe that humans did interact with this species and that they were capable of many advanced things even with such a small brain size.
Foley, J. (2005, April 1). In Homo Floresiensis: The Hobbit. Retrieved October 17 2011, from http://www.talkorigis.org/faqs/homs/flores.html http://www.talkorigis.org/faqs/homs/flores.html Mayell, H. (2004, October 27). Hobbit-Like Human Ancestor Found in Asia. In National Geographic. Retrieved December 18, 2011, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1027_04 1027_homo_floresiensis.html http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1027_04 1027_homo_floresiensis.html