Real Life Hobbits Discovered

hobbit  earth, homo floresiensis

Reconstructing a hobbit from Earth.

The Lord of the Rings world of Middle Earth seems quite magical with wizards, hobbits and elves, but almost every day, archaeologists and anthropologists are redefining the way we think of our own world, our history, and ourselves. Advancements in DNA extraction and sequencing have lead to a more intricate and thorough understanding of human origins.

Recently, scientists discovered through DNA sequencing that the ancient world our human ancestors lived in hundreds of thousands of years ago was very similar to the world of Middle Earth including the existence of hobbit like humans.  There were many different sub-species and earlier evolutionary ancestors of modern day humans (scientists have dubbed you and I ‘homo sapien sapien’) all living on the earth at the same time. These separate sub-species lived alongside one another, made love, traded, and went to war.

Related Article: Old World Similar to Lord of the Rings

If these little guys were alive today filming the Lord of the Rings would have been so much easier.

If these little guys were alive today filming the Lord of the Rings would have been so much easier.

One likely sub-species of human that scientists have discovered fossil evidence of is named homo floresiensis. Scientists have nick named homo floresiensis “hobbit,” due to their tiny, yet proportionate body structure. Standing at an average height of three feet, six inches tall, homo floresiensis is the smallest human sub-species ever found. It is believed they lived during the periods between 95,000 years ago and 17,000 years ago. All physical samples of these hobbit like creatures, homo floresiensis, have been found on the island of Flores, Indonesia.

Some interesting tidbits that we know about our hobbit-esque cousins:

  1. Tiny brains.
  2. Disproportionately large teeth.
  3. Relatively large feet.
  4. Used relatively unadvanced stone tools.
  5. Hunted dwarf elephants.
  6. Because they lived together, they likely battled komodo dragons, which at that size, would be like fighting mythical dragons!

What we don’t know about the hobbits:

  1. Which hominin species made the 800,000 year old stone tools found on Flores?

  2. How did these early humans manage to get to the island of Flores?

  3. Did H. floresiensis have language, make art, and have other forms of cultural expression?

  4. Did H. floresiensis and our species, H. sapiens, ever come into contact with one another?

  5. Was a volcanic eruption on Flores the reason H. floresiensis went extinct?

  6. How similar is the DNA of H. floresiensis to the DNA of other human species? So far, no DNA has been retrieved from the bones of a H. floresiensis individual.

The lesson we should all take out of this is that hobbits walked our Earth. How exciting! There have even been discoveries of small humans on Palau, Micronesia.  Next up is the discovery of cave trolls and old bearded men that walked the Earth and taught ancient people how to build civilization.

Related Article: Native Americans are From Europe

Fantasy Human Stat Chart.

Fantasy Human Stat Chart.

Scientists are unsure whether homo floresiensis were already a small species before they came to Flores, or if they evolved into fun-size humans due to insular dwarfism. Insular dwarfism is when the body of an organism decreases in size due to living in isolation and without predators. This occurs often on islands with limited resources.  Some species experience a growth-spurt and actually increase in size. This is called island giganticism.

Once such species that experienced a decrease in body size due to island living was the dwarf elephant that homo floresiensis hunted on Flores. It is possible our hobbit brethren even hunted these elephants to extinction on Flores, the same way the Maori hunting the moa birds to extinction on New Zealand.

The case of tiny hobbit-like humans represents a necessary paradigm shift in the way we view what is and isn’t possible. The truth is, anything is possible. Hopefully scientists are able to learn more about homo floresiensis and find out if, like hobbits, they had hearty feet and no need for shoes. Priorities, scientists, the geeks of the world demand you remember your priorities.



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