Flores Man (The Hobbit) - What the Science Has Shown

News Reports, Articles and Information about “Homo floresiensis"

Discovered in 2004 on the island of Flores in Indonesia, the hominin creature known as Flores man or The Hobbit has remained a subject of scholarly controversy ever since. Whether the individuals recovered from Liang Bua cave are eventually determined to represent a separate species currently called Homo floresiensis, a dwarf Homo erectus or a diseased Homo sapiens, the information gleaned from the site, and, oddly enough, from the admittedly vituperative debate, is fascinating and a boon to the science of human evolution.

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H. floresiensis skull, Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia
H. floresiensis skull, Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia. Peter Brown
The initial report of the identification of Homo floresiensis was in 2004, when news first broke about the recovery of the skeletal remains of a very controversial little people.

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Liang Bua Cave, Flores Island, Indonesia
Liang Bua Cave, Flores Island, Indonesia. Rosino
Liang Bua Cave is the site where the possible new hominin species called Flores Man was found. Here's a description of the location of the site, how it was formed, and brief descriptions of all the human occupations, H. erectus, H. floresiensis, and H. sapiens.

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Flores Island, Indonesia
Flores Island, Indonesia. Yorick_R

Scholars are virulently divided about how the tiny human being with the big feet came to be present in the Liang Bua cave. There are three main theories about what Flores Man represents, and here's where you'll find them, and the lingering issues that these theories will have to address before being widely accepted, discussed.

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Foot and Tibia of Homo floresiensis
The long "hobbit" foot is seen by comparing the right tibia and assembled left foot of Homo floresiensis type specimen LB1. W. Jungers

Flores man has some distinctive physical characteristics, both similar to and different from other hominid species: in height, in brain capacity and in relative foot size.

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Is Flores a Deformed Human?

Homo floresiensis (Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia) and a modern human skull
Homo floresiensis (Liang Bua Cave, Indonesia) and a modern human skull. Peter Brown
Arguments that Homo floresiensis skeletal materials represented a deformed Homo sapiens, not a new species, surfaced quickly. This article reports on one set of arguments from 2007.

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In 2005, additional specimens found excavations at the Liang Bua Cave on the island of Flores in Indonesia have recovered additional specimens of the human ancestor known as Flores Man; or more often the Hobbit.

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Some of the many, many scientific articles on the discovery and controversy over the hobbit written over the past decade.