It is becoming more and more likely that Homo floresiensis was indeed a separate species of hominid.
Discovered ten years ago on the island of Flores in Indonesia, the 18,000-year-old bones of a woman and several other individuals with skulls a third of the size of modern humans have come to be named after Tolkein's pint-sized protagonists. There has been a great deal of debate over whether these individuals were our direct ancestors, but now it seems that the evidence is pointing towards Homo floresiensis being a distinct hominid species separate to Homo sapiens.
Hobbits are believed to have arrived in Indonesia up to 1 million years ago and went extinct only 17,000 years ago. Their wrists were not really shaped well enough to help them to grip objects or bear loads, and while their tools have been discovered by archaeologists it is thought that this anatomical disadvantage would have restricted their technical capabilities.
"While film buffs have been arguing over the need to make The Hobbit into three different films, anthropologists have been busy debating the origins of real hobbits, whose remains were discovered in Indonesia only a decade ago."
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Source: Popular Science
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