Hobbit-Like Humans a Separate Species?

The BBC reports today on the Hobbit-sized “human” skeletons found in Indonesia. Two new science papers in the journal Nature support the theory that they belong to a separate species, perhaps branching from Homo erectuses living in South-East Asia a million years ago. The dwarf-sized “people”—who used fire and hunted—appear to have gone extinct perhaps just 8,000 years ago.

Here’s what one scientific team says it found out about the species’s foot:

One team led by William Jungers from Stony Brook University in the US analysed remains of the Hobbit foot.

They found that, in some ways, it is incredibly human. The big toe is aligned with the others and the joints make it possible to extend the toes as the body’s full weight falls on the foot, attributes not found in great apes.

But in other respects, it is incredibly primitive. It is far longer than its modern human equivalent, and equipped with a very small big toe, long, curved lateral toes, and a weight-bearing structure that resembles that of a chimpanzee.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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