‘Hobbits’ disappeared around 50,000 years ago rather than 12,000 years ago as previously estimated

Researchers have found that the extinct human species called Hobbit became extinct much earlier than previously thought from its homeland- Indonesian island of Flores. The team has reassessed the age of bones of the species called Homo floresiensis discovered from a Flores cave.

From the recalculation, it has been found that the species disappeared around 50,000 years ago rather than 12,000 years ago as previously estimated. The researchers also speculate that Homo sapiens had a role to play in the demise of the Hobbit people.

In 2003, the Hobbits were discovered. Since their discovery, there was a scientific sensation as they stood 3-1/2 feet tall. They possessed a small, chimpanzee-sized brain, used stone tools and might have hunted pygmy elephants.

The researchers are not sure whether Homo sapiens were liable for Hobbits extinction. But one thing about which they are sure about that Homo sapiens were already present on other islands in the region at around the same time and reached Australia by around 50,000 years back.

Paleontologist Matt Tocheri of Canada’s Lakehead University and the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program said that during that time period, many animals disappeared on Flores, including small elephants, giant marabou storks, vultures and large Komodo dragon lizards.

The fresh excavations from 2007 to 2014 have improved the understanding of the cave site. The scientists re-evaluated the ages of sediment having Homo floresiensis remains and the actual bones. It was found that Hobbits’ skeletal remains were 60,000 to 100,000 years old and their stone tools were 50,000 to 190,000 years old.

As per the researchers, the earlier measurements were a simple mistake. Investigators in the earlier studies might have confused two layers of remains leading to wrong calculation. The new data was based on additional excavation that helped in the provision of more accurate data.

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