A new paper in Nature has revised the dates of the Hobbit, once thought to be 12,000 years old, to be an older 50,000 years old. This period roughly coincides with the time modern humans started appearing in the region, and while it’s tempting to think the two events are related it’s still too early to tell.
Revised stratigraphy and chronology for Homo floresiensis at Liang Bua in Indonesia
Sutikna et al.
Discovery News, 30 March 2016
Indonesian ‘Hobbits’ may have died out sooner than thought
Griffith University, 30 March 2016
The ‘hobbit’ was a separate species of human, new dating reveals
Science, 30 March 2016
Scientists: New evidence Indonesian ‘Hobbits’ disappeared 50K years ago
KVAL, 31 March 2016
Diminutive ‘Hobbit’ people vanished earlier than previously known, scientists say
Reuters, via Malay Mail, 31 May 2016
Homo Floresiensis: A Profile Of The Extinct ‘Hobbits’ Of Indonesia
Tech Times, 31 May 2016
New Homo Floresiensis Dates May Quash Cryptozoology Theories About ‘Hobbits’
Forbes, 31 May 2016
The ‘hobbits’ were extinct much earlier than first thought
The Conversation AU, 31 March 2016
‘Hobbits’ extinct much earlier than first thought
Australian Geographic, 31 March 2016
Forget Tolkien, the scientific tale of real-life “hobbits” is even more complex
Ars Technica, 01 April 2016
‘Hobbit’ people were no match for the unstoppable juggernaut of modern man
Tech Insider, 04 April 2016
The Hobbit gets a little older, and science a little wiser
The Conversation AU, 05 April 2016
Homo floresiensis, a primitive hominin species discovered in Late Pleistocene sediments at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia), has generated wide interest and scientific debate. A major reason this taxon is controversial is because the H. floresiensis-bearing deposits, which include associated stone artefacts and remains of other extinct endemic fauna, were dated to between about 95 and 12 thousand calendar years (kyr) ago. These ages suggested that H. floresiensis survived until long after modern humans reached Australia by ~50 kyr ago. Here we report new stratigraphic and chronological evidence from Liang Bua that does not support the ages inferred previously for the H. floresiensis holotype (LB1), ~18 thousand calibrated radiocarbon years before present (kyr cal. BP), or the time of last appearance of this species (about 17 or 13–11 kyr cal. BP). Instead, the skeletal remains of H. floresiensis and the deposits containing them are dated to between about 100 and 60 kyr ago, whereas stone artefacts attributable to this species range from about 190 to 50 kyr in age. Whether H. floresiensis survived after 50 kyr ago—potentially encountering modern humans on Flores or other hominins dispersing through southeast Asia, such as Denisovans12, 13—is an open question.
Nature paper here.