Hobbit Human
Archaeological excavations of Holocene deposits at Liang Bua on the Indonesian island of Flores are seen in progress in this undated handout picture courtesy of the Liang Bua Team. The human species dubbed "The Hobbit" vanished from its home on the Indonesian island of Flores much earlier than previously thought, according to scientists who indicated that our species may have had a hand in the demise of these diminutive people. Reuters/Liang Bua Team

Scientists unearthed bones inside a cave in the Indonesian island of Flores. They belonged to the extinct human species known as “hobbits.” Their scientific name is Homo floresiensis. The Indonesian island of Flores was home to this extinct species. However, they probably vanished from their homes earlier than previously thought. Scientists suspect that there was a human hand in the extinction of the hobbits.

According to the research, the hobbits disappeared 50,000 years ago and not 12,000 years as previously estimated. Even though there is not enough evidence to suggest that homo sapiens were directly responsible for hobbit extinction, it is certain that our species were already on other islands during that time and had already reached Australia 50,000 years ago.

“To me, the question is, ‘Would the hobbits have become extinct if humans had never made landfall on Flores?’ And the answer is ‘no.’ We were likely the decisive factor in their demise, but we still need to find hard evidence to back up this hunch,” said Geochronologist Richard Roberts of Australia's University of Wollongong.

Homo sapiens appeared around 200,000 years ago in Africa. They later spread out in other parts of the world where they came across Neanderthals who became extinct soon afterwards.

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It was hailed as a scientific sensation when hobbits were discovered in 2003. They stood at three and a half inches in height, had a chimpanzee-sized brain and used tools to probably hunt pygmy elephants.

Speaking on the time period of 50,000 years, paleoanthropologist Matt Tocheri of Canada's Lakehead University and the Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program said that many kinds of animals disappeared during that time and that included giant Komodo Dragon lizards, small elephants, vultures and huge marabou storks.

Archaeologist Thomas Sutikna of the University of Wollongong and Indonesia's National Research Centre for Archaeology revealed that the skeletal remains of the hobbits were 60,000 to 100,000 years old. Their stone tools were 50,000 to 190,000 years old.

Earlier, scientists believed that the hobbits survived for 40,000 years after homo sapiens reached the region. However, the new research shows that was never the case.