Hobbits Found In Indonesia Died Out Earlier Than Thought

Posted: Mar 30 2016, 9:55pm CDT | by , Updated: Mar 31 2016, 11:20pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Hobbits Found in Indonesia Gone Extinct Earlier Than Thought
Credit: John Gurche

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Researchers have found that tiny hobbits died out 50,000 years ago rather than around 12,000 years ago and it may be the modern humans who drove them to extinction.

An ancient lineage of tiny humans – nicknamed “the hobbit” – may have died out sooner than thought, contradicting the assumption that hobbits may have coexisted with modern humans for thousands of years before they went extinct.

Recently, researchers have reanalyzed the fossil bones of the miniature extinct humans that used to live in the tropics of Indonesia and stood just 3 feet tall. The bones were excavated at the limestone cave of Liang Bua in Island of Flores back in 2003.

Researchers found that hobbits, also called Homo floresiensis, went extinct about 50,000 years ago not between 13,000 and 11,000 years as initially estimated. They disappeared just soon before or after modern humans arrived at the Flores Island and it could possibly be the modern humans who pushed those miniature humans towards extinction.

“The youngest Hobbit skeletal remains occur at 60,000 years ago but evidence for their simple stone tools continues until 50,000 years ago. After this there are no more traces of these humans,” said Maxime Aubert, an archeologist from Griffith’s University’s Research Center of Human Evolution (RCHE).

“In fact, Homo floresiensis seems to have disappeared soon after our species reached Flores, suggesting it was us who drove them to extinction.”

The discovery of hobbits in 2003 generated a lot of buzz since these diminutive people were unlike any human living today. They were very small and had grapefruit sized brains and they may have used stone tools.

The fossil remains of hobbits reflect that humans were more diverse in the past than they are today and some of hominin species may have shared the Earth at the same time as well. But all the other species have gone extinct and only modern humans left. What happened to these human species still remains a mystery.

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