Tag: Hobbit

Foot Bones and Dwarf Hippos Suggest the "Hobbit" Was a Separate Species

By Eliza Strickland | May 7, 2009 9:15 am

hobbit skull 2The latest evidence that the ancient Indonesian “hobbit” was a distinct species of hominid, and not just a deformed pygmy, comes from the soles of its feet. Ever since researchers discovered the fossils of a three-foot-tall hominid with a chimpanzee-sized brain on the Indonesian island of Flores, debate has raged over how to interpret the bones. Now, a new study supports the theory that the hobbit, Homo floresiensis, was a species that split from our human lineage early in evolutionary history, and developed its strange shape in the isolation of the island. Other experts agree that evidence is accumulating that H. floresiensis was, in fact, a bona fide species.

In the new study, published in Nature, researchers found that the hobbit’s foot was surprisingly long in relation to the body, and that it had other ape-like features. The navicular bone, which helps form the arch in the modern foot, was especially primitive, more akin to one in great apes. Without a strong arch — that is, flat-footed — the hominid would have lacked the springlike action needed for efficient running. It could walk, but not run like humans. Weighing the new evidence, the research team led by William L. Jungers … concluded that “the foot of H. floresiensis exhibits a broad array of primitive features that are not seen in modern humans of any body size” [The New York Times].

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Human Origins, Living World
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »