Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More Flores 'Hobbits' fossils found

Scientists have discovered more remains of the strange, small people that once lived on Flores island, Indonesia.
The announcement last year detailing a single, partial skeleton caused a sensation when it was claimed to be a human species new to science.

Homo floresiensis, as it was called, was little more than a metre tall and lived 18,000 years ago.

Now, the same team tells Nature journal it has skeletal remains from at least nine of the "Hobbit-like" individuals.

The new discoveries include missing parts of the old skeleton - designated LB1 after the caved dig site at Liang Bua - and a collection of other bones, such as jaw and cranial fragments, a vertebra, arm and leg bones, toes and fingers.

The team, led by Michael Morwood from the University of New England, Armidale, Australia, says the specimens have helped build a more rounded picture of LB1, with additional evidence of the little people's hunting and fire-making abilities.

The researchers say they are now more convinced than ever that Homo floresiensis represents a distinct species and not some diseased individual of modern human (Homo sapiens)as some sceptics have suggested.

Story here.

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