On the tiny island of Flores, near Bali, Indonesia, scientists discovered the bones of a miniature human species that used to live there 18,000 years ago. This human species, named Homo floresiensis, are described as having a grapefruit-size brain and the size of a 3-year-old modern child.
Dubbed as one of the most spectacular paleoanthropological discoveries of recent times, Homo floresiensis was said to inhabit the tiny island as little as 13,000 years ago along with dwarf elephants and komodo dragons as this excerpt explains: "The skeleton was found in the same sediment deposits on Flores that have also been found to contain stone tools and the bones of dwarf elephants, giant rodents, and Komodo dragons, lizards that can grow to 10 feet (3 meters) and that still live today."
Though it may have a smaller body and brain size than modern-day humans, they fall within the genus Homo as Richard Roberts, a geochronologist at the University of Wollongong, Australia explains: "Physically, they were about the size of a three-year-old Homo sapiens [modern human] child, but with a braincase only one-third as large. They had slightly longer arms than us. More conspicuously, they had hard, thicker eyebrow ridges than us, a sharply sloping forehead, and no chin."
The reason why the hobbits were of such a small size continues to baffle scientists. Some suggest it may be due to environmental factors which favored a smaller body size. This line of thinking was inspired by the dwarfing of mammals, a process commonly seen on islands where food supply is limited.
It is uncertain whether the hobbits mingled with modern-day humans.
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