Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hobbits are real

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(But Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli aren't. Sorry, LOTR fans.)

A new human species may have been discovered, according to the BBC:

The tiny skeletal remains of human "Hobbits" found on an Indonesian island belong to a completely new branch of our family tree, a study has found.

The finds caused a sensation when they were announced to the world in 2004.

But some researchers argued the bones belonged to a modern human with a combination of small stature and a brain disorder called microcephaly.

That claim is rejected by the latest study, which compares the tiny people with modern microcephalics.

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The researchers believe the 1m-tall (3ft) people evolved from an unknown small-bodied, small-brained ancestor, which they think became small in stature to cope with the limited supply of food on the island.

The little humans are thought to have survived until about 12,000 years ago, when a volcanic eruption devastated the region.

Hobbits. Little humans. Tiny people. Fascinating stuff.

Peter Jackson, there's a movie here somewhere.

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