University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Great Beasts of Legend: The Hobbits of Flores Island: Myth, Magic, Majesty of Homo floresiensis


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Film Description:Standing at 3 ½ half feet tall, and about 75 pounds, Homo floresiensis is the smallest adult skeletal in the whole of human evolutionary history. Found in 2003, the “hobbit” or “halfling” was so named because of its diminutive size. Some have claimed that the hobbit is a pathological specimen, showing features of microcephaly, Down syndrome, or dwarfism, others consider it to be a new species within the human lineage eventually becoming extinct when modern humans arrived on the island. There seems to be no end in sight on the debates that surround this hot button issue in human evolution. As recently as half a year ago, reanalysis of the cave deposits, forced a new time frame for the sediments and fossils within the cave. Given the supporters and detractors, and the ensuring war in the literature, the hobbit find has confounded our view of human evolution. Beast? OR Ancestor?

For further reading:

Aiello, Leslie C. 2010. ‘Five years of Homo floresiensis,’ American Journal of Physical Anthropology 142:167-179.

Callaway, Ewen. 2014. ‘Tales of the hobbit,’ Nature 514 (23 October 2014):422-426.
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:01/04/2017
Contributor: Janet Monge
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