Monday, January 29, 2007

Homo hobbitus update Survival of the biggest - hobbits wiped out by man
Remains of at least 13 members of the little species, Homo floresiensis, who were about a metre tall, were unearthed in Liang Bua between 2001 and 2004. The hobbits lived there from 95,000 to 12,000 years ago when a layer of volcanic ash filled the cave.

It had been thought the eruption devastated life on Flores and led to the demise of the little people, as well as the pygmy elephants they feasted on.

Studies of the volcanic ash by two team members, Chris Turney and Douglas Hobbs, however, showed it was from an eruption about 600 kilometres to the west, near Bali, and so was unlikely to have resulted in island-wide extinctions.

Mike Morwood, co-leader of the Australian and Indonesian discovery team, said he now believed modern humans, who arrived on the "lost world" of Flores soon afterwards, hunted the stegadon to extinction and were responsible for the disappearance of the hobbits.