Creation |  Homo Floresiensis
Creation | Hobbit, Pygmy, or Microcephalic?
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Creation - Hobbit Race Found


Hobbit, Pygmy, or Microcephalic?

Scientists are discovering new things on a regular basis, while the naysayers are attempting to debunk these new discoveries at the same rate. The drama surrounding the "Hobbit" is no different. She is quoted by some to be the most sensational discovery in modern times and as a monumental mistake by others.

Indonesian Island, Flores

She, is the tiniest adult ever found, and was on the island of Flores. The island of Flores is some 500 miles east of Java, in the indonesian archipelago. Time seems to have forgotten this small outcrop of land comprised of smoldering volcanoes and flesh eating dragons.

A few years ago, a team of archeologists were on a routine investigation when they made an unexpected discovery. While investigating a cave, deep in the jungle, they discovered a small skeleton. While the discovery of a human skeleton is not exactly unusual, this particular skeleton was and is unique. This, the first Hobbit skeleton ever found was a mere 3' foot long, about the size of a 3 year old child. Other parts of the find however, did not confirm the idea that it was indeed a child. The the jaw was fully developed and teeth were worn such as you would expect to find in an adult mouth. The gender was determined to be female, and the surrounding dirt was dated to about 18,000 years ago, or about 16,000 BC. This would become one of the smallest adults in history to be found. She has a receding chin, narrow jaw, and twin rooted teeth, all these things implied that she could not have been a modern human, and must have been more primitive. The problem with that is, that man was thought to be the only species of human on the planet. She is thought to be neither a human adult, nor a human child, and therefore had no place on the human evolutionary chart.

Tiny Hobbit Skull, Flores, Indonesia

Based on the human family tree, the closest link is Homo Australopithecus, due to the physical size, but that is the only similarity. There are no distinct characteristics between the two species and Australopithecus was never in Indonesia. The other early human who was as small as the Hobbit is Homo Habilus, yet that species died out over 1.5 millions years prior to when the Hobbit lived. More recent humans such as Neanderthals lived around her time, yet they had a thicker frame set and were taller. The differences would have to be found based on the skull, and that leads to the most similar type; Homo Erectus. Homo Erectus is known to have lived in Java and not to far from where the skeleton was found. There are several differences that would be found in many ways, including levels of sophistication not found with Homo Erectus. The tools they found mear the Hobbit were very surprising to the archeologists; tools such as anvils, thought to be for smashing bones ot get to the marrow from the bones of prey. Archeologists found long, blade type shapes which were likely used as spear points or maybe as knives, among other very sophisticated stone tools. According to Professor Jim Phillips, (University of Illinois at Chicago) a stone tool expert, "The Hobbit is a case where the stones, do not fit the bones." A study by Professor Phillips, leads to him to believe that the if the stone tools found with the Hobbit skeleton, were made by the Hobbit, then the Hobbit would have to be a modern human. The tools known to be made by Homo Erectus, were much less sophisticated and more crude than those found near the Hobbit.

The scientists also found the remains of pygmy elephants nearby and therefore suspected that she was likely a skilled hunter. The pygmy elephant weighed in at about 1/2 to 3/4 ton and would have been a formidable beast. At 3 foot tall, taking down a creature of this size alone would have been difficult, and would require the assistance of others. A group of these pygmy hunters would be necessary to take down a beast of this size. A relative comparison would be similar to modern man attacking today's elephants with stealth and similar stone tipped spears; it would require several men and some planning. An endeavor such as this requires group communication to make sure that the beast is felled in one hit. This implies, intelligence, language and planning; this means the Hobbits were a smart group of people.

Dragons, lizards, hobbit

During the next few years multiple studies were performed to determine whether or not the Hobbit was a new species of man or simply a diseased, modern human. This lead to the study of the brain size of this skeleton compared to other known sizes in evolution. As the actual brain is obviously not available, the measurement is taken by the volume of the brain cavity. Surprisingly, the Hobbit brain size is no bigger than that of a chimpanzee, yet she is considered to be very smart. The brain size of modern man, is 3 to 4 times larger than that of the Hobbit and the larger size has always been thought of as a indication of intelligence. The find was beginning to challenge the perception of what it is to be human, and had the scientific community abuzz. Professor Bob Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago, has compared the Hobbits brain size based on the fundamental law of biology. This law says that if you half the body size, then the brain size is only reduced by about 15 percent, so if the Hobbit shrank down from Homo Erectus, and this law was applied, the Hobbit brain should be larger than it actually is. Homo erectus was about 1 3/4 meters in height and the average brain size is measured to be about 990 cubic centimeters. The Hobbit was 1 meter in height, which according the law, would result in a brain size of about 750 cubic centimeters. The actual brain size of the Hobbit was a mere 400 cubic centimeters, much to small based on the law of biology. According to the actual size of the Hobbits' cranial capacity, the Hobbit should have only been about 14" in height, the size of a mere cat.

The study of the skeleton was suddenly halted when the bones came up missing and sickened all of the research teams involved with the Hobbit skeleton. The bones would eventually turn up in the laboratory of Professor Teuku Jacob of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakata, Indonesia. Professor Jacob is Indonesia's authority on Homo Erectus, and the appointed keeper of 1/3 of the worlds' Erectus fossils. Upon hearing about the find, he was intrigued enough to find out if she really was part of the Homo Erectus family. After his sudden removal of the bones, he was accused of stealing, kidnapping, and otherwise unethical practice in his acquisition of the skeleton. The professor maintains he had permission from one of the team members, which they all deny and refer to his actions as being greedy. The results of his study have yet to be published.

Hobbit Skeleton, tiny humans

New evidence is being discovered, or uncovered in some cases, resulting in some researchers to change sides. One theory leading to how this dwarf like species became so small is because of the fact that it occurred on an island. Islands have long been known to have "magical effects" on the different species of life on that island. The Hobbit team argues that islands enable evolution to trick the laws of scaling into letting brains shrink as much as bodies. This would explain how thousands of years ago on Flores, a Homo Erectus shrank to become a small bodied, and small brained, Hobbit. Professor Mike Morwood, (University of New England), Australia explains that these individuals had been isolated on an island for 800 thousand years, genetically cutoff from the rest of the world and you should expect strange things.

While dwarfism does occur on islands, the idea that the Hobbit shrank is considered by some to be fallacious. The brain of modern humans has never been found to have shrunken or shrink; modern humans live all over the world including islands and no evidence exists that this has ever happened. How then, could the Hobbits brain be so small?

According to Professor Ann Maclarnon, (Roehampton University) London, says that "...the size of this brain, with this body, just wasn't normal". So she began looking for something abnormal, such as a disease. Microcephaly by definition, means small brained. Individuals born with this disease, have a much smaller brain than usual which then grows at a much slower (severely retarded) rate than a normal individual. Microcephaly (mi·cro·ceph·a·ly) could explain the Hobbits tiny brain, and as it also affects the face and jaw, could also explain the Hobbits twin rooted teeth; these deformities can also be mistaken for primitive features. This means that you could have a specimen that appears to be primitive in evolutionary terms, but is actually abnormal and modern. In order to make a scientific comparison, she found a known Microcephalic skull of similar age. She compared the Hobbit brain to a particular skeleton that was about 3 years old upon having died and suffered from Microcephaly . She measured the brain capacity, or volume of both specimens, and the Microcephalic brain capacity was nearly exactly the same as the Hobbit brain. This appeared to be concrete evidence to the theory that the Hobbit suffered from Microcephalism.

microcephalic, microcephalism

The next study regarding the brain size was done by Ralph Holloway, using a brain endocast. An endocast is a cast of the inside of the skull, providing a model of the what the brain actually looked like. Mr Holloway has studied many microcephalic brains and initially found that they were much different than that Hobbit brain in his initial views. The Hobbit brain casting and a Microcephalic brain were scanned to gain a more detailed comparison. Both brains looked healthy and were indeed similar in size and did not close any doors to the idea that Hobbit brain was not microcephalic.

Additional studies were done to find out if the current residents of the island of Flores share any features with the Hobbit. Multiple, physical measurements were taken of the local residents. While the average height was short, it was not as short as the Hobbit. The oldest living resident, only thought to be older than 100 was also measured. This man, at 4'4" tall, he qualifies as a pygmy, and proves he is a descendant of the Hobbit. He is a foot taller than the Hobbit, and does not suffer from Microcephaly, yet, if he did suffer from Microcephaly, he would likely be just as tall as the Hobbit. The research gathered up to this point, does not point to a new species.

The archeologists have since returned to Flores to find new evidence, but the original site has been closed by the Indonesian government. About the same time, Peter Brown, an ancient bone expert was about to begin research on a sample of material from around the original skeleton and a yet un researched (by him) jawbone. The hope is that the second jaw will have have the same characteristics as the first, thereby producing 2 hobbits and sealing the debate in favor of the new species. An X-ray of the second jaw has shown that a pre molar tooth with twin roots existed, thereby confirming a second Hobbit. The probabilities that 2 diseased individuals in this community (a veritable lepers colony) is vanishingly small. The archeological team believes that this second jaw, confirms the new species theory. Additional bones of at least nine other individuals have been found in the second cave who lived over thousands of years thereby completely destroying the idea that Microcephalism played a part in the lives of any of these individuals. This would seem to close the identity of the Hobbit species, yet there is still the small brain size which does not fit anything else that we know; an undeniable problem. The new evidence found has only created more questions, much less answering the existing ones.

Comparison of human skull versus hobbit skull

The evidence found, no longer points to a miniature version of Homo Erectus, but possibly to a smaller sized ancestor which has yet to be found. Finding this ancestor could lead to a completely new branch of humanity. Much more studies and discoveries will have to be made before anyone can specifically say who the Hobbit was, or where she came from.


Related: Hobbit Sized Race of Humans Found.

Related: Did hobbits live until 200 years ago?

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Related: New Twist - Hobbit Tools




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