Real Hobbit-like humans evolved because of Island Dwarfism

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jun 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-10 14:25:50-04

FLORES, INDONESIA - More than a decade ago, fossils of pint-sized people were found on a small Indonesian island. And although researchers tried to give them a scientific name, fans of fantasy just started referring to them as "hobbits". You know, the beer drinking, weed smoking, little people from fiction and film.

Still some scientists had a big problem with these little people, claiming they weren't actually real, but rather a small, sickly version of Homo sapiens. But now there's evidence that these 3-foot high hobbits really were a human species in their own right. The new hobbit fossils found, predate modern humans by a half-a-million years and because they lived on a small island (and not the shire) they just evolved to be small about 700,000 years ago.

It's called Island Dwarfism and because food and shelter can become scarce on an island, inhabitants tend to shrink over time. In fact, fossils of tiny little ancient elephant have also been found on "hobbit" island.