A study released today backs up evidence that Homo floresiensis was a dwarf race that may have evolved from our own species through a natural evolutionary tendency for island species to get smaller.
The tiny hominids - dubbed after the diminutive hobbits imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien - were found on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, measuring just a metre tall, lived around 18,000 to 80,000 years ago and appear to have been skillful toolmakers. A separate species of human that descended from the extinct Homo erectus, who are also presumed to be the ancestors of modern man.
Evolutionary zoologists at Imperial College in London, U.K., argue that the hobbits could easily have evolved from a larger human species, such as ourselves, via a well-recognised evolutionary tendency, called the 'island rule'. Because food on a small island is limited, smaller species out-compete bigger species.
Storytellers: Dr Lindell Bromham, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Queensland and Marcel Cardillo, Imperial College, London.
Hobbit hominids lived the island life
Story Researchers : Dr Peter Obendorf and Dr Ben Kefford, from RMIT's School of Applied Sciences
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