New research by Japanese scientists has revealed that Hobbits may have existed on Earth in the ancient past. In 2004, nine skeletons that were hobbit-flores-skullapproximately 18,000 years old were found on the Indonesian island of Flores resembling hobbits. They were named Homo floresiensis after the island on which the remains were found.

The skeletons revealed to researchers that these people grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child and had proportionately larger feet than modern humans. The original skeleton, a female, stood at just 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighed about 25 kilograms (55 pounds), and was around 30 years old at the time of her death. Further analysis of the remains using a regression equation indicated that Homo floresiensis was approximately 106 cm (3 ft 6 in) tall — far smaller than the modern pygmies, whose adults grow to no more than 150 cm (4 ft 11 in).(Wikipedia)

The new research suggests hobbits may share a direct ancestor with modern humans.

LiveScience reports:

hobbit-skullThe researchers found hobbit teeth were as small as those from short modern humans. However, other features of these teeth looked completely dissimilar from those of modern humans.

The hobbit teeth displayed a unique mosaic of primitive traits seen in early hominins mixed with more-advanced traits seen in later hominins, the researchers said. For instance, the canine and premolar teeth looked primitive, whereas the molar teeth looked advanced, or as if they had emerged later in the evolution of Homo sapiens, the scientists said.

These findings contradict earlier claims that hobbits possessed teeth entirely like those of modern humans. The results also suggest hobbits were not just modern humans with severe abnormalities, the researchers said.

The researchers found that the hobbit’s primitive dental features are most similar to specimens of Homo erectus, the earliest undisputed ancestor of modern humans, from the Indonesian island of Java. However, H. erectus was about as tall as modern humans. The scientists suggest that on isolated islands, the ancestors of the hobbit underwent dramatic dwarfism, with their bodies shrinking from about 5.4 feet (1.65 m) to 3.6 feet (1.1 m), and brains dwindling from about 52 cubic inches (860 cubic centimeters) to 26 cubic inches (426 cubic cm).

“For me, this work will turn the tide about the question of evolutionary origin of H. floresiensis,” study lead author Yousuke Kaifu, a paleoanthropologist at Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, told Live Science.

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