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Psi Cubed
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Registered: 09/28/03
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"Hobbits" discovered
    #3677901 - 01/25/05 03:26 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)


article source: nature
Published online: 27 October 2004; | doi:10.1038/4311029a
Little lady of Flores forces rethink of human evolution
Rex Dalton
Dwarf hominid lived in Indonesia just 18,000 years ago.

This article is part of an interactive special report. Click here for full coverage.
A new human-like species - a dwarfed relative who lived just 18,000 years ago in the company of pygmy elephants and giant lizards - has been discovered in Indonesia.

Skeletal remains show that the hominins, nicknamed 'hobbits' by some of their discoverers, were only one metre tall, had a brain one-third the size of that of modern humans, and lived on an isolated island long after Homo sapiens had migrated through the South Pacific region.

"My jaw dropped to my knees," says Peter Brown, one of the lead authors and a palaeoanthropologist at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.

I nearly dropped to my knees at one point examining the specimen.

Paleoanthropologist Peter Brown
University of New England in Armidale, Australia.

The find has excited researchers with its implications - if unexpected branches of humanity are still being found today, and lived so recently, then who knows what else might be out there? The species' diminutive stature indicates that humans are subject to the same evolutionary forces that made other mammals shrink to dwarf size when in genetic isolation and under ecological pressure, such as on an island with limited resources.

The find has been classed as a new species - Homo floresiensis.
? P. Brown
The new species, reported this week in Nature1,2, was found by Australian and Indonesian scientists in a rock shelter called Liang Bua on the island of Flores. The team unearthed a near-complete skeleton, thought to be a female, including the skull, jaw and most teeth, along with bones and teeth from at least seven other individuals. In the same site they also found bones from Komodo dragons and an extinct pygmy elephant called Stegodon.

The hominin bones were not fossilized, but in a condition the team described as being like "mashed potatoes", a result of their age and the damp conditions. "The skeleton had the consistency of wet blotting paper, so a less experienced excavator might have trashed the find," says Richard Roberts of the University of Wollongong, Australia.

"Only the Indonesians were present at the actual moment of discovery - the Australian contingent had departed back to Oz," says Roberts. He credits Thomas Sutikna of the Indonesian Centre for Archaeology in Jakarta for the excellent handling of the samples. The success has inspired national pride at the centre, the researchers say. "This is very important for Indonesian society," says co-author R. P. Soejono.

It's the most extreme example ever found of human adaptation.

Archaeologist Robert Foley
University of Cambridge, UK

The discovery is prompting increased scrutiny of sites on other Southeast Asian islands, both to look for more of the same species and to place it in context with Homo sapiens and Homo erectus, our closest relative. Homo erectus was found to have lived on the nearby island of Java as long as 1.6 million years ago; the team suggests that the Flores hominins may be their descendants.

Peter Brown photographs his find.
? P. Brown
Dating more bones could help determine whether the species was a short-lived branch of human evolution or survived for longer. Preliminary dating places it at about 70,000 years ago, but it may extend back 800,000 years. "We were hoping we might find a little hominin from that early," says author Michael Morwood, an archaeologist at the University of New England.

In the meantime, researchers are hoping to find DNA in the bones, which would help to clarify the relationships between species. DNA has previously been extracted from European Neanderthals living in the same time period. But they have so far failed to find DNA in the teeth of the Stegodon found in the same cave, says Brown.

Additional reporting by Michael Hopkin.




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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: Mycomancer]
    #3679147 - 01/25/05 08:06 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Now that is cool, I wish I could have a lil hobbit.


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Pursuer ofWisdom
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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: xmercury]
    #3679986 - 01/25/05 11:08 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

fucking awesome

Work like you dont need the money.

Love like you never been hurt.

Dance like nobody is watching.

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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: Mycomancer]
    #3680001 - 01/25/05 11:11 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

that is pretty pimp

18 thousand years is a wink when you consider it took homo sapiens hndreds of millions of years to evolve..

I wish Tolkien was alive to see this day .

these long agonizing months without you...have been long and agonizing..
"War Doesn't Decide Who's Right... It Only Decides Who's Left."

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Love is like a train...

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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: Mycomancer]
    #3680054 - 01/25/05 11:18 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Thats fuckin cool.

thanks for sharing!

A plethora of music aspirations control my temptations of future revelations beyond "now". The percussion, and the heart beat of my love and devotion. The rhythm goes beyond, prying into the third eye, releasing the creativity held so far inside. The melodicies, through the out of tune pianos and broken classical guitars...there lies a beauty. A beauty as prevelent as the fire inside. To release these energies is pure ecstacy, to deveop these gifts is sacred. The vocality, so pure as can be, shying away from herself, lies within me. For the underlying serenitity, this is what I live for. I plea for harmony, and nothing more. Music equals love. Creation of love leads to the procreativity of the World, and it's spirals and puddles prevailing.

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It's the psychedelic movement!
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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: Mycomancer]
    #3680107 - 01/25/05 11:25 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Think of all the hobbit porn we missed out on. No seriously though, it's interesting that it took us this long to find this guy. Has this been in the mainstream news? I haven't had cable for six months.


Mp3 of the month: Hydro Pyro - Id

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fresh futuristic
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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: Learyfan]
    #3680153 - 01/25/05 11:33 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I remember when I first read this in the news last year, I was in an Anthropology class and I was excited 'cuz we'd get to talk about it.. but then the professor never said a word about it. :shrug:

It's definitely cool though!


funky ass music: Planet of Dinosaurs // Rich Whiskey

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Re: "Hobbits" discovered [Re: lukeboots]
    #3680192 - 01/25/05 11:40 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

funny thing my Anthropology teacher mentioned it on Monday..
But he mentions a lot of stuff, and especially likes to talk about sex, homosexuality, gender role, circumcision, anything with sex he is all over it.. I love watching people get all uncomfortable when he starts his lecture :lol:

these long agonizing months without you...have been long and agonizing..
"War Doesn't Decide Who's Right... It Only Decides Who's Left."

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