JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A team of scientists have discovered fossils of an extinct hobbit-like people on a where they lived up to 3,000 years ago, a South African university has reported.LINK TO FULL STORY
The former island cave inhabitants, some "as small as just over a metre", shared features with the controversial Homo floresiensis specimens discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004, said a statement from 's Witwatersrand University (Wits) on Tuesday.
The discovery, initially made by South African palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger while holidaying on the Micronesian island ofin 2006, features in this week's edition of the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
The subjects of the 2004 discovery, dubbed "hobbits" after author's pint-sized and hairy-footed fiction heroes, have been at the centre of a scientific argument over their classification.
Some have argued they were a formerly unknown human species, while others maintain the tiny humans had merely suffered from stunting.
"The Palauen fossils exhibit a surprising number of traits that were originally used to describe the hobbit as a unique species," said Berger.
These included a small body size with large teeth, small faces and reduced chins.
After Berger discovered the fossils on holiday, he and a team of scientists from the United States' Duke and, as well as a group of Wits students, returned for further examinations on a grant from the .
"What we found astounded our most experienced explorers, even the Palauen officials who accompanied us," said Berger.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Indonesian "hobbit" debate continues
A team of scientists have discovered fossils of an extinct hobbit-like people on a Pacific Ocean island where they lived up to 3,000 years ago, a South African university has reported. I wonder what stories the creationists are making up to explain this one.