“Hobbits” found in Indonesia
“Hobbits” found in Indonesia This 2012 photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution and the Liang Bua Team shows Liang Bua, a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, as the Liang Bua Team prepares for new archaeological excavations. (Smithsonian Digitization Program Office and Liang Bua Team via AP)
“Hobbits” found in Indonesia
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It was a spectacular discovery. Fossil remains in an Indonesian cave have revealed a recent relative of modern humans. It stood about 3 feet tall. The creatures were quickly nicknamed "hobbits."
 
With evidence that they had survived to just 12,000 years ago, the hobbits appeared to have been the last of our companions on the human branch of the evolutionary tree to go extinct.
 
Now, a decade after they made headlines, they've lost that distinction. New investigations indicate they evidently disappeared much earlier. They disappeared about 50,000 years ago, before Neanderthals did, for example.
 
The new date raises speculation about whether hobbits were doomed by the arrival of modern humans on their island. But it doesn't change much about their scientific significance. That is according to Matt Tocheri of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
 
He and others wrote the new paper with three of the researchers who'd first reported the discovery in 2004. The paper was released March 30 by the journal Nature.
 
The hobbits are formally known as Homo floresiensis. The name reflects their home on the Indonesian island of Flores. With small, chimp-sized brains, the hobbits had skulls that resembled Homo erectus. Homo erectus lived in Africa and Asia. But the hobbits also had long arms and short legs. Those harkened back to the much older evolutionary forerunners best known for the skeleton dubbed Lucy.
 
It's not clear where they fit in the human family tree. They may have descended from taller ancestors who shrank because of their isolation on the island. Some scientists have argued they were diseased modern humans rather than a separate species. But experts called that a minority view. Several said the new dates make it less likely.
 
Hobbits evidently made the stone tools that were found along with skeletal remains in the Liang Bua cave. The new analysis says the remains are 100,000 to 60,000 years old. However, the artifacts range in age from about 190,000 to 50,000 years.
 
Researchers revised the original age estimates after new excavations revealed more about the geology of the cave. Sediments were sampled to date the artifacts and bones.
 
"I think it's a terrific paper," said Bernard Wood of George Washington University. He had no role in the research. "They have done everything you can possibly ask."
 
So did the arrival of modern humans spell the end for the hobbits, as is proposed for the demise of the Neanderthals in Europe and Asia about 40,000 years ago?
 
There's no evidence that modern humans occupied Flores until long after the hobbits were gone. But they are known to have lived not far away, in Australia, some 50,000 years ago. That is right about the time the hobbits evidently disappeared.
 
"It is certainly suggestive," said anthropologist Karen Baab of Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona. Baab studies the hobbits but didn't participate in the new work.
 
Richard Roberts of the University of Wollongong in Australia, a study author, said in an email it is "certainly a possibility to be considered, but solid evidence is needed in order to demonstrate it. One thing we can be certain of, it will definitely be a major focus of further research."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/hobbits-found-indonesia/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How does evidence indicate the height of the “hobbits?”
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (115)
  • noahh-1-nic
    4/07/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    They had short legs and long arms indicating shortness. Also they had smaller brains and skulls. As well as them living caves that can get small at times.

  • michaelf-kut
    4/10/2016 - 12:16 p.m.

    The height is indicated by the size of the skeletons. I think there could be a simple equation to find height. Take the length of the skeleton, then add length based on how thick skin is. Then you can find their height.

  • coreyh-hei
    4/11/2016 - 11:15 a.m.

    I thought this article was good because it tells us what they keep track. Also it is good because give examples and facts about it.

    • aliyahd-hei
      4/11/2016 - 12:27 p.m.

      I agree because the article gives examples and an illustration and interesting facts.

    • emmem-hei
      4/13/2016 - 11:02 a.m.

      I agree because this text does give good text evidence.

  • elijahh2-hei
    4/11/2016 - 12:12 p.m.

    We know the height of the hobbits by their nickname because hobbit means small.

  • aliyahd-hei
    4/11/2016 - 12:25 p.m.

    When scientist find bone they measure the bones and also put the bones together as best as they can.

  • karymer-hei
    4/11/2016 - 03:59 p.m.

    The evidence that indicates the height of the "hobbits" because the bones were recovered and the size of them tells the scientist their height.Also the hobbit made tools that were found along with skeletal stuff in the Liang cave.

  • alyssah-hei
    4/11/2016 - 04:00 p.m.

    The evidence that the hobbits were not normal size is in the text,it says that the normal height of a person is way taller than the hobbits.The normal size is way taller than the hobbits.

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    4/12/2016 - 12:00 a.m.

    Evidence indicates the height of hobbits as the text states, "The new date raises speculation about whether hobbits were doomed by the arrival of modern humans on their island. But it doesn't change much about their scientific significance." So as far as we know, they had a peaceful and plentiful existence until, possibly, modern humans arrived and threatened their way of life. Clearly, their height of civilization was before their extinction. The article also said that the "Fossil remains in an Indonesian cave have revealed a recent relative of modern humans. It stood about 3 feet tall." I do not necessarily believe in the theory of evolution, as even some scientists are starting to disavow, but this is an interesting concept that needs more research.

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