via Kompas, 09 October 2023: Twenty years after its discovery on Flores Island, Indonesia, the Homo floresiensis, colloquially known as the “Hobbit,” continues to baffle scientists. The initial discovery led to debates among archaeologists about whether this was a new species or an individual with a medical condition. Despite the controversies and challenges, researchers are now focusing on extracting ancient DNA to definitively place the “Hobbit” in the evolutionary tree and understand its environmental context.
According to Thomas, the life span of around 60,000 years ago for ancient humans like Homo floresiensis is enough to make us confused about why they survived. Meanwhile in Sangiran, Central Java, ancient humans no longer existed around 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
“In central Flores, the exact same Homo floresiensis was found, but it is 700,000 years old. There are also Komodo dragons that even now live on Flores. We know that Komodo dragons came from Australia around 6 million years ago, but why do they live on Flores until now?” he said.
Researchers are also still continuing to explore how Homo floresiensis migrated, whether from west to east or from north to south. This is a challenge because on the Lesser Sunda islands (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Timor) this kind of individual has never been found. Meanwhile, from the north to the south side there is a strong current. Does Homo floresiensis flow from there? There has been no answer until now.