Puzzled over the most intriguing hominid find of the century? Live Science has a simple summary of what we know about Homo floresiensis, aka the Hobbit.
Homo Floresiensis: Facts About the ‘Hobbit’
Live Science, 26 April 2013
Homo floresiensis, dubbed “the Hobbit,” lived about 18,000 years ago. Several fossils of the hominid have been found, though the first female skeleton (called LB1) is the most complete. Scientists discovered the remains of a 3-foot-tall (1 meter), 30-year-old adult female hominid in 2003 in the Liang Bua (LB) cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores.
LB1’s diminutive build — Homo floresiensis likely weighed between 66 and 77 pounds (30 and 35 kilograms) — earned the species the nickname of “the Hobbit,” after the tiny folk in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book of the same name. LB1 includes a nearly complete skull, a partial pelvis, several limb bones and hand and foot bones, according to the journal Nature. The other H. floresiensis fossils include the lower jaw and various skeletal specimens from another hobbit individual dubbed LB6, and fossils from at least four other individuals, according to Nature.
The species lived between 95,000 and 17,000 years ago, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Scientists have debated whether the Hobbit specimens represent an extinct species in the human family tree, perhaps a squat offshoot of Homo erectus, a 1.8-million-year-old hominid and the first to have body proportions comparable to those of modern Homo sapiens. (Hominids include humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and their extinct ancestors, whereas hominins include those species that evolved after the human lineage (of the genus Homo) split from the chimpanzees.)
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