Homo Floresiensis - the Hobbit

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Homo floresiensis (“Man of Flores”) is the name for a possible new species in the genus Homo, remarkable for its small body, small brain, and survival until relatively recent times (www.en.wikipedia.org). Anthropologists Peter Brown of University of New England in South Wales, Australia, Michael Morwood and their colleagues have argued that a variety of features, both primitive and derived, identified LB1 (the first skeleton found in cave of Liang Bua) is that of a new species of hominin, Homo floresiensis. The first specimens were discovered by Thomas Sutikna and colleagues from the Indonesian Research Centre for Archaeology in Liang Bua cave of Flores, Indonesia in September of 2003
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Archaeologists have found charred remains, suggesting the use of fire to roast food, stone artifacts, including a massive chopper and others that are small and delicate dated back to 840,000 years ago (www.telegraph.co.uk). Charred bones of pygmy elephants (stegodons) were also found with “hobbit” remains below a 12,000-year-old volcanic ash layer. Elephants are known to be great swimmers because of their buoyancy and the ones that reached Flores had evolved to a dwarf form the size of an ox. In spite of the hobbit’s small size, they used joint communication to hunt this stegodon, weighing about 2,200 pounds and used fire in hearths for cooking. They also hunted fish, frogs, snakes, tortoises, birds, and rodents. These tiny people were managing some extraordinary things–manufacturing sophisticated stone tools, hunting pygmy elephants and crossing at least two water barriers to reach Flores from mainland Asia (www.nationalgeographic.com). The specimens are not fossilized, but were reported in a Nature news article as having “the consistency of wet blotting paper” (once exposed, the bones had to be left to dry before they could be dug up). Researchers hope to discover preserved mitochondrial DNA to compare and contrast with samples from similarly unfossilized specimens of Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens (www.en.wikipedia.org). Some are hoping to find a relationship between
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