Case closed – the “hobbits” that lived on the Indonesian island of Flores only 13,000 years ago were a unique species of hominid.
This was the first thought when the remains of a tiny, 18,000-year-old female were uncovered in 2003. Then in 2008 Peter Obendorf of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, claimed the remains were of a modern human with cretinism, a disease caused by iodine deficiency.
“I have put that claim to rest,” says Colin Groves of the Australian National University in Canberra. He compared the Flores bones with those of 10 people who’d had cretinism, focusing on anatomical features that are typical of the disease. He found no overlap…. William Jungers at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York agrees the study finally puts that idea to rest.
This provides additional scientific confirmation for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. After all, Tolkien’s hobbits were clearly a distinct species as well, one that did not interbreed with the other hominids of Middle Earth. We already had proof that the prehistoric hobbits “travelled half a world,” which is evidence that at least some of them were on an epic quest to destroy the Ring of Power just as Tolkien described.
Tolkien’s theories are gathering more and more scientific support all the time. I look forward to equally rigorous proof of the existence of elves, dwarves, balrogs, and orcs. As I pointed out in my first post on this subject, we in the blogosphere have already sighted numerous trolls even more ferocious than those described by the great author.
UPDATE: I should add that this is further proof that we should be more concerned about orcs than zombies. If hobbits are real, orcs can’t be far behind.