New Fossils Help Bring Hobbit Humans to Life

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New bones attributed to Homo floresiensis – aka the “Hobbit Human” — along with other recent findings, are helping to reveal what members of this species looked like, how they behaved, and their origins.


The latest findings, described in a Journal of Human Evolution paper, are wrist bones unearthed on the Indonesian island of Flores. Since they are nearly identical to other such bones for the Hobbit found at the site, they refute claims that H. floresiensis never existed.

“The tiny people from Flores were not simply diseased modern humans,” Caley Orr, lead author of the paper, told Discovery News.

“The new species of human stood approximately 3′ 6″ tall, giving it its nickname ‘The Hobbit,’” continued Orr, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy at Midwestern University.

He said that they were “similar to modern humans in many respects.” For example, he explained that they walked on two legs, had small canine teeth, and lived what appears to have been an iconic “cave man’” lifestyle.

“Stone tools and evidence of fire use were found in the cave, along with the remains of butchered animals, such as Stegodon (an extinct elephant relative), indicating that meat was a part of diet,” Orr said.

He and his colleagues, however, also point out the differences between the Hobbit individuals and modern humans.

The Hobbits had arms that were longer than their legs, giving them a slightly more ape-like structure. Their skulls had no bony chins, so their faces had more of an oval shape. Their forehead was sloping. The inferred brain size was tiny, putting them in the IQ range of chimpanzees.

Written By: Jennifer Viegas
continue to source article at news.discovery.com

4 COMMENTS

  1. Equating brain volume with intelligence- is there proof of a direct correlation? Many of history’s greatest thinkers have brains significantly smaller that average and vice-versa. I read many years ago about ‘shell-brained’ individuals who displayed a range of abilities from “normal” to “idiot savant”

    So, inferencing that because the Hobbit’s braincase matches a chimp’s, that his intelligence was chimp-like is unscientific and the evidence of toolmaking, hunting, fire, etc supports this conclusion.

    PS_ DNA results should settle the ‘controversy’ (new species-v-dwarfism/ encephaly), though the latest findings have already settled it, for most. Will those “experts” who derided the first findings admit their error?

  2. In reply to #2 by Nodhimmi:

    Equating brain volume with intelligence- is there proof of a direct correlation? Many of history’s greatest thinkers have brains significantly smaller that average and vice-versa. I read many years ago about ‘shell-brained’ individuals who displayed a range of abilities from “normal” to “idiot savant”

    So, inferencing that because the Hobbit’s braincase matches a chimp’s, that his intelligence was chimp-like is unscientific and the evidence of toolmaking, hunting, fire, etc supports this conclusion.

    I thought that the blunt brain size = intelligence argument had long been discarded in favour of considerations of relative size. I mean, are lions 10 times more intelligent than domestic cats? Are modern “pygmy” humans closer to chimps in intelligence than the rest of us? Seems like a no-brainer to me :)

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