Thursday, December 09, 2010

Island of the Hobbits

Those of you who pay attention to all matters evolutionary will be familiar with Homo Floreseinsis, the so called ‘Hobbit’.

This is now widely believed to have been a separate species of human which lived at the time of Homo Sapiens on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Despite having a much smaller brain than Homo Sapiens the species was capable of advanced behaviours including the development of stone tools (similar to those of the advanced Upper Palaeolithic tradition) and the use of fire for cooking. This has been attributed to Homo Flores’s dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain relating to self awareness) which is roughly the same size of modern humans.

Making things even more bizarre, Homo Flores appears to have hunted a small dwarf elephant called Stegodon whose bones have been discovered with cut marks. Now the latest research shows that the island was also populated by six foot tall Storks. These are speculated to have fed on fishes, lizards and birds, but also may have hunted juvenile hobbits – though they may just have been there to deliver babies. At the top of this post is an artist’s impression of what this motley crew might have looked like together.

"From the size of its bones, we initially were expecting a giant raptor, which are commonly found on islands, not a stork," said Hanneke Meijer, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. “We're not certain as yet precisely why they all went extinct,"

My best guess – going on past performance – is that the culprit is a yet to be discovered species, Hamster Giganticus, which polished off the islands inhabitants in a violent feeding frenzy and died of starvation shortly afterwards. The evidence will arrive any day now, you’ll see.

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum


Merkavah12 said...

Hey, It's Mr. Muggins, my lost Hamster!

Deef said...

Fascinating stuff!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas! Hope you can revitalise this excellent blog in 2011.

Unknown said...

You are not implying here that evolution didn't happen right? Please, please tell me that's the not the case.