Modern Humans May Have Caused The Extinction Of Real ‘Hobbits’

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a mysterious human “hobbit” species once thrived. They sustained themselves off fauna, and even slew dragons — well, Komodos.

It sounds like a science fiction novel, but these diminutive beings actually lived in Indonesia and possibly interacted with modern humans, according to researchers, who spent nearly a decade conducting lengthy excavations at a cave called Liang Bua, to uncover evidence of the “hobbits” of Flores Island, whose scientific name is Homo floresiensis.

The new research, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, readjusts the timeline of when “hobbits” died out as a species — pushing the date back from as recently as 12,000 years ago to a more likely 50,000 years ago. If true, that would mean Homo floresiensis might have had contact with modern humans, who would have traveled through the Indonesian islands en route to Australia.

“We don’t know for sure, because we don’t have evidence of them on the island before 11,000 years ago,” Research co-author Dr. Matthew Tocheri, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution‘s National Museum of Natural History, told The Huffington Post.

“We know that modern humans reached Australia about 50,000 years ago, and you can’t get there unless you go across these Indonesian islands,” he said.

“Up until now, this has been a persistent issue in archaeology in this region. We’re just missing the evidence that we haven’t discovered the sites that show exactly how modern humans navigated these islands to ultimately reach Australia, and Flores is one of them.”

The recent research involved a new analysis of old fossilized “hobbit” bones that were previously unearthed in the Liang Bua cave.

Based on new-found stratigraphic and chronological evidence, the researchers concluded that those skeletal remains —> Read More

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