Hobbit Race not short-statured Negrito Aborigines
A MEMBER of the team that discovered the remains of Homo Floresiensis in a limestone cave in Indonesia said it was unlikely the mini-humans were related to the short-statured negrito Aborigines from the North Queensland rainforest.
Archaeologist Doug Hobbs from Townsville, who helped unearth the skeletal remains of the little people on the island of Flores 600km east of Bali, now known as Hobbits, said yesterday there was no evidence of any connection between the groups.
He said it was unlikely the 1m-tall Flores islanders migrated to Australia many thousands of years ago and evolved to become the rainforest tribes of North Queensland.
Author and James Cook University academic Dr Noel Loos expressed a similar view, saying it was more likely that the small-statured rainforest tribes descended from Aborigines from the plains tribes to the west.
"The pygmies of the Congo are genetically related to people outside (the jungle) and I would tend to believe it would be similar here," he said.
Dr Loos, author of the highly regarded book Invasion and Resistance: Aboriginal and European Relations in North Queensland 1861-1897, said that in the early part of the 20th century there was a theory Australia had been colonised by negritos who had travelled from elsewhere. He said this had since been debunked.
"In any case the Flores man was far too primitive (in comparison to the rainforest tribes)," he said.
Dr Loos said the rainforest tribes resisted European settlement in the 1870s and plundered the white man's crops and possessions.
As recently as the early 1960s workers clearing scrub for the development of the King Ranch company's Tully River Station reported seeing myall rainforest Aborigines running in front of the bulldozers.
They also saw gunyahs made from leaves and grass.
Although there have been whispers of sightings and of a lost tribe still in the Tully rainforest, no concrete evidence has been found.
Dr Loos does not believe there is a lost tribe.
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