By Holly B.
Much to the want and hopes of fantasy-buffs, anthropologists and the occasional nerd like me, there is now hard evidence that hobbits existed! Granted, these early bipeds are a far cry from Tolkien’s hobbits, they are just one of those universal facts that make us all appreciate how mysterious and strange the world really is.
The Hobbit Remains
Two sets of remains were found in a cave on the remote island of Flores (east of Bali). This species of humans was completely new to scientists. The hobbits, formally known as Homo-Florensiensis, stood barely over 1m in height and weighed approximately 25kg. At first, scientists believed they were the remains of ancient children since their size was that of a homosapien 3 year old. After extensive testing and research, it was discovered that they were about 30 years old!
The hobbits lived on Flores from about 95,000 years ago to 13,000 years ago which puts them in the same time frame as an everyday homosapien. It is unknown whether there was any interaction between the two species, but it is entirely possible.
Physical Features of the Flores Hobbits
The hobbits’ brains were the size of modern day chimpanzees but their mental capacities were much more advanced. They were able to manufacture various and intricate tools and weapons and used hearths for cooking native wildlife such as birds, tortoises, frogs and snakes. Considering they also battled larger creatures like the Pygmy elephant, giant rodents and Komodo dragons, it is evident that extensive teamwork and planning was involved.
Where Did They Come From?
As far as how the Hobbits came to be, eluding modern evolution, anthropologists believe that they, at one time, were normal sized homo-erecti island hoppers who traveled place to place in handcrafted boats and rafts. Again, the intelligence 840,000 years ago astounds us. The group decided to settle on Flores. Due to the various island conditions such as limited food supply and a few species in competition, the Hobbits survival depended on minimalizing their energy requirements through evolution and extreme adaptation.
Although it is believed that the Hobbit species died out 19,000 years ago, rumours and myths still circulate amongst the natives. Tales of the “little people in the mountains” who reportedly steal livestock both intrigue and amuse locals.
I hope they do still exist, but given societal impacts of ever-changing life, it is doubtful. It is fun to imagine, though.
Back to Tolkien, perhaps I should write another article on the existence of Gollum. After lots of drinks, one of my friends looks just like him. Possible descendant?
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