Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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What the Hobbit Might Have Looked Like

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA—Forensic scientist Susan Hayes of the University of Wollongong has constructed a “facial approximation” for a 30-year-old female “Hobbit,” based upon the 18,000-year-old remains that were recovered from Liang Bua Cave on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. “She’s taken me a bit longer than I’d anticipated, has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I’m pleased with both the methodological development and the final results,” she said. The controversial fossils were named Homo floresiensis, followed by vigorous debates over whether or not the three-foot-tall adults signified a separate species of early humans. In 2007, Matthew Tocheri of the National Museum of Natural History found that Homo floresiensis wrist bones match those of non-human apes. And in 2009, Dean Falk of Florida State University wrote,” It’s not just that their brains are small; they’re differently shaped. It’s its own species.”