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Hominid in Hobbiton

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  • Beth Russell
    Hey! Look at all these comparisons! Keep reading and you will even find Smaug. (A pity the headline didn t say Hobbit rather than Dwarf.) Beth Scientists
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 27, 2004
      Hey! Look at all these comparisons! Keep reading and you will even
      find Smaug. (A pity the headline didn't say Hobbit rather than Dwarf.)

      Beth



      Scientists Find Prehistoric Dwarf Skeleton



      By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, AP Science Writer

      In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human
      evolution, scientists say they have found the skeleton of a new human
      species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while
      modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.


      The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists
      like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that
      bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern
      humans.


      Yet biologically speaking, it may have been closely related to us and
      perhaps even shared its caves with our ancestors.


      The 3-foot-tall adult female skeleton found in a cave is believed 18,000
      years old. It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief that our
      species, Homo sapiens, systematically crowded out other upright-walking
      human cousins beginning 160,000 years ago and that we've had Earth to
      ourselves for tens of thousands of years.


      Instead, it suggests recent evolution was more complex than previously
      thought.


      And it demonstrates that Africa, the acknowledged cradle of humanity,
      does not hold all the answers to persistent questions of how - and where
      - we came to be.


      "This finding really does rewrite our knowledge of human evolution,"
      said Chris Stringer, who directs human origins studies at the Natural
      History Museum in London. "And to have them present less than 20,000
      years ago is frankly astonishing."


      Scientists called the dwarf skeleton "the most extreme" figure to be
      included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.


      She is the best example of a trove of fragmented bones that account for
      as many as seven of these primitive individuals that lived on the
      equatorial island of Flores, located east of Java and northwest of
      Australia. The mostly intact female skeleton was found in September
      2003.


      Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis, or Flores
      Man, and details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.


      The specimens' ages range from 95,000 to 12,000 years old, meaning they
      lived until the threshold of recorded human history and perhaps crossed
      paths with the ancestors of today's islanders.


      Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was
      two-thirds smaller than ours, and closer to the brains of today's
      chimpanzees and transitional prehuman species in Africa than vanished 2
      million years ago.


      Yet Flores Man made stone tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for
      meat. Bones of fish, birds and rodents found near the skeleton were
      charred, suggesting they were cooked.


      All this suggests Flores Man lived communally and communicated
      effectively, perhaps even verbally.


      "It is arguably the most significant discovery concerning our own genus
      in my lifetime," said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington
      University, who reviewed the research independently.


      Discoveries simply "don't get any better than that," proclaimed Robert
      Foley and Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University in a written
      analysis.


      To others, the species' baffling combination of slight dimensions and
      coarse features bears almost no meaningful comparison either to modern
      humans or to our larger, archaic cousins.


      They suggest that Flores Man doesn't belong in the genus Homo at all,
      even if it was a recent contemporary. But they are unsure where to
      classify it.


      "I don't think anybody can pigeonhole this into the very simple-minded
      theories of what is human," anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz of the
      University of Pittsburgh. "There is no biological reason to call it
      Homo. We have to rethink what it is."

      For now, most researchers have been limited to examining digital
      photographs of the specimens. The female partial skeleton and other
      fragments are stored in a laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia.

      Researchers from Australia and Indonesia found the partial skeleton 13
      months ago in a shallow limestone cave known as Liang Bua. The cave,
      which extends into a hillside for about 130 feet, has been the subject
      of scientific analysis since 1964. Fenced off and patrolled by guards,
      it is surrounded by coffee farms.

      Older stone tools and other artifacts previously found on the island
      suggest that Flores Man is part of a substantial archaic human lineage.

      "So the 18,000-year-old skeleton cannot be some kind of 'freak' that we
      just happened to stumble across," said one of the discoverers,
      radiocarbon dating expert Richard G. Roberts of the University of
      Wollongong in Australia.

      But the environment in which Flores Man lived was indeed peculiar, and
      scientists say it probably contributed to the specimen's unusually small
      dimensions.

      Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
      Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
      giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
      dogs.

      It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's
      carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug
      described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.


      Artifacts suggest that a big-boned human cousin, Homo erectus, migrated
      from Java to Flores and other islands, perhaps by bamboo raft, nearly 1
      million years ago.

      Researchers suspect that Flores Man probably is an H. erectus descendant
      that was squeezed by the pressures of natural selection.

      Nature is full of mammals - deer, squirrels and pigs, for example -
      living in marginal, isolated environments that gradually dwarf when food
      isn't plentiful and predators aren't threatening.

      This is the first time that the evolution of dwarfism has been recorded
      in a human relative, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown of the
      University of New England in Australia.

      Just how this primitive, remnant species managed to hang on is
      uncertain. Inbreeding certainly would've been a danger. Geologic
      evidence suggests a massive volcanic eruption sealed its fate some
      12,000 years ago, along with other unusual island species like the dwarf
      elephant species, stegodon.

      Now, scientists are more puzzled by the specimen's jumble of features
      that appear to be borrowed from different human ancestors.

      This much is clear: Its worn teeth and fused skull show it was an adult.
      The shape of the pelvis is female. The skull is wide like H. erectus.
      But the sides are rounder and the crown traces an arc from ear to ear.
      The skull of H. erectus has straight sides and a pointed crown, they
      said.

      The lower jaw contains large, blunt teeth and roots like
      Australopithecus, a prehuman ancestor in Africa more than 3 million
      years ago. The front teeth are smaller and more like modern human teeth.


      The eye sockets are big and round, but unlike other members of the Homo
      genus, it has hardly any chin or browline.

      The rest of the skeleton looks as if it walked upright, but the pelvis
      and the shinbone have primitive, even apelike features.

      Bones from the species' feet and hands have not yet been found. Delicate
      artifacts found in the cave were described as "toy-sized" versions of
      stone tools made by H. erectus. They suggest that Flores Man retained
      intelligence and dexterity to flake small weapons with sharp edges, even
      if its body shrunk over time.

      "I've spent a sleepless night trying to figure out what to do with this
      thing," said Schwartz. "It's a mind-blower. It makes me think of nothing
      else in this world."

      Even more speculative is whether Flores Man met with modern humans, and
      what might've happened.

      Folklore experts have reported persistent legends of little people
      living on Flores and nearby islands. Islanders called the creature "Ebu
      Gogo" and say it was about 3 feet tall.

      ___

      Associated Press writers Emma Ross in London and Chris Brummit in
      Jakarta contributed to this report.
    • Alan Kellogg
      Hi Beth, You can thank the LotR movie for the wide familiarity with hobbit . I expect a term such as dwarf would offend some in the readership, most likely
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 27, 2004
        Hi Beth,

        You can thank the LotR movie for the wide familiarity with 'hobbit'.
        I expect a term such as dwarf would offend some in the readership,
        most likely self appointed defenders of the rights of the Little
        People. So they went with a word they thought was 'friendlier'.

        BTW, the BBC, Washington Post, and Nature apparently went with
        'hobbit' as well.
        --
        Alan Kellogg

        http://www.mythusmage.com

        mailto:mythusmage@...
      • WendellWag@aol.com
        In a message dated 10/27/2004 9:50:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Dwarf would also be inaccurate. To be a dwarf, in the usual medical sense, means not
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
          In a message dated 10/27/2004 9:50:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          mythusmage@... writes:

          > I expect a term such as dwarf would offend some . . .

          "Dwarf" would also be inaccurate. To be a dwarf, in the usual medical sense,
          means not just that someone is short but that their proportions don't match
          usual proportions. They would tend to have shorter limbs and larger heads than
          one would expect.

          Wendell Wagner


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
          Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations. Still I don t see the big
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
            Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to
            find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations. Still I don't see the
            big deal... there has always been a wide variety of humankind, and isolated
            cultures can be very short or tall. Makes good reading, but I don't get
            the drama.

            Lizzie

            Elizabeth Apgar Triano
            lizziewriter@...
            amor vincit omnia
            www.lizziewriter.com


            > [Original Message]
            > From: Beth Russell <russells@...>
            > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
            > Date: 10/27/2004 5:46:46 PM
            > Subject: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton
            >
            >
            >
            > Hey! Look at all these comparisons! Keep reading and you will even
            > find Smaug. (A pity the headline didn't say Hobbit rather than Dwarf.)
            >
            > Beth
            >
            >
            >
            > Scientists Find Prehistoric Dwarf Skeleton
            >
            >
            >
            > By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, AP Science Writer
            >
            > In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human
            > evolution, scientists say they have found the skeleton of a new human
            > species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while
            > modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.
            >
            >
            > The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists
            > like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that
            > bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern
            > humans.
            >
            >
            > Yet biologically speaking, it may have been closely related to us and
            > perhaps even shared its caves with our ancestors.
            >
            >
            > The 3-foot-tall adult female skeleton found in a cave is believed 18,000
            > years old. It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief that our
            > species, Homo sapiens, systematically crowded out other upright-walking
            > human cousins beginning 160,000 years ago and that we've had Earth to
            > ourselves for tens of thousands of years.
            >
            >
            > Instead, it suggests recent evolution was more complex than previously
            > thought.
            >
            >
            > And it demonstrates that Africa, the acknowledged cradle of humanity,
            > does not hold all the answers to persistent questions of how - and where
            > - we came to be.
            >
            >
            > "This finding really does rewrite our knowledge of human evolution,"
            > said Chris Stringer, who directs human origins studies at the Natural
            > History Museum in London. "And to have them present less than 20,000
            > years ago is frankly astonishing."
            >
            >
            > Scientists called the dwarf skeleton "the most extreme" figure to be
            > included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.
            >
            >
            > She is the best example of a trove of fragmented bones that account for
            > as many as seven of these primitive individuals that lived on the
            > equatorial island of Flores, located east of Java and northwest of
            > Australia. The mostly intact female skeleton was found in September
            > 2003.
            >
            >
            > Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis, or Flores
            > Man, and details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
            >
            >
            > The specimens' ages range from 95,000 to 12,000 years old, meaning they
            > lived until the threshold of recorded human history and perhaps crossed
            > paths with the ancestors of today's islanders.
            >
            >
            > Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was
            > two-thirds smaller than ours, and closer to the brains of today's
            > chimpanzees and transitional prehuman species in Africa than vanished 2
            > million years ago.
            >
            >
            > Yet Flores Man made stone tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for
            > meat. Bones of fish, birds and rodents found near the skeleton were
            > charred, suggesting they were cooked.
            >
            >
            > All this suggests Flores Man lived communally and communicated
            > effectively, perhaps even verbally.
            >
            >
            > "It is arguably the most significant discovery concerning our own genus
            > in my lifetime," said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington
            > University, who reviewed the research independently.
            >
            >
            > Discoveries simply "don't get any better than that," proclaimed Robert
            > Foley and Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University in a written
            > analysis.
            >
            >
            > To others, the species' baffling combination of slight dimensions and
            > coarse features bears almost no meaningful comparison either to modern
            > humans or to our larger, archaic cousins.
            >
            >
            > They suggest that Flores Man doesn't belong in the genus Homo at all,
            > even if it was a recent contemporary. But they are unsure where to
            > classify it.
            >
            >
            > "I don't think anybody can pigeonhole this into the very simple-minded
            > theories of what is human," anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz of the
            > University of Pittsburgh. "There is no biological reason to call it
            > Homo. We have to rethink what it is."
            >
            > For now, most researchers have been limited to examining digital
            > photographs of the specimens. The female partial skeleton and other
            > fragments are stored in a laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia.
            >
            > Researchers from Australia and Indonesia found the partial skeleton 13
            > months ago in a shallow limestone cave known as Liang Bua. The cave,
            > which extends into a hillside for about 130 feet, has been the subject
            > of scientific analysis since 1964. Fenced off and patrolled by guards,
            > it is surrounded by coffee farms.
            >
            > Older stone tools and other artifacts previously found on the island
            > suggest that Flores Man is part of a substantial archaic human lineage.
            >
            > "So the 18,000-year-old skeleton cannot be some kind of 'freak' that we
            > just happened to stumble across," said one of the discoverers,
            > radiocarbon dating expert Richard G. Roberts of the University of
            > Wollongong in Australia.
            >
            > But the environment in which Flores Man lived was indeed peculiar, and
            > scientists say it probably contributed to the specimen's unusually small
            > dimensions.
            >
            > Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
            > Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
            > giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
            > dogs.
            >
            > It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's
            > carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug
            > described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
            >
            >
            > Artifacts suggest that a big-boned human cousin, Homo erectus, migrated
            > from Java to Flores and other islands, perhaps by bamboo raft, nearly 1
            > million years ago.
            >
            > Researchers suspect that Flores Man probably is an H. erectus descendant
            > that was squeezed by the pressures of natural selection.
            >
            > Nature is full of mammals - deer, squirrels and pigs, for example -
            > living in marginal, isolated environments that gradually dwarf when food
            > isn't plentiful and predators aren't threatening.
            >
            > This is the first time that the evolution of dwarfism has been recorded
            > in a human relative, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown of the
            > University of New England in Australia.
            >
            > Just how this primitive, remnant species managed to hang on is
            > uncertain. Inbreeding certainly would've been a danger. Geologic
            > evidence suggests a massive volcanic eruption sealed its fate some
            > 12,000 years ago, along with other unusual island species like the dwarf
            > elephant species, stegodon.
            >
            > Now, scientists are more puzzled by the specimen's jumble of features
            > that appear to be borrowed from different human ancestors.
            >
            > This much is clear: Its worn teeth and fused skull show it was an adult.
            > The shape of the pelvis is female. The skull is wide like H. erectus.
            > But the sides are rounder and the crown traces an arc from ear to ear.
            > The skull of H. erectus has straight sides and a pointed crown, they
            > said.
            >
            > The lower jaw contains large, blunt teeth and roots like
            > Australopithecus, a prehuman ancestor in Africa more than 3 million
            > years ago. The front teeth are smaller and more like modern human teeth.
            >
            >
            > The eye sockets are big and round, but unlike other members of the Homo
            > genus, it has hardly any chin or browline.
            >
            > The rest of the skeleton looks as if it walked upright, but the pelvis
            > and the shinbone have primitive, even apelike features.
            >
            > Bones from the species' feet and hands have not yet been found. Delicate
            > artifacts found in the cave were described as "toy-sized" versions of
            > stone tools made by H. erectus. They suggest that Flores Man retained
            > intelligence and dexterity to flake small weapons with sharp edges, even
            > if its body shrunk over time.
            >
            > "I've spent a sleepless night trying to figure out what to do with this
            > thing," said Schwartz. "It's a mind-blower. It makes me think of nothing
            > else in this world."
            >
            > Even more speculative is whether Flores Man met with modern humans, and
            > what might've happened.
            >
            > Folklore experts have reported persistent legends of little people
            > living on Flores and nearby islands. Islanders called the creature "Ebu
            > Gogo" and say it was about 3 feet tall.
            >
            > ___
            >
            > Associated Press writers Emma Ross in London and Chris Brummit in
            > Jakarta contributed to this report.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • dianejoy@earthlink.net
            I suspect the drama is having the scientific theories you ve held for years knocked into a cocked hat. ---djb ... From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
              I suspect the "drama" is having the scientific theories you've held for
              years knocked into a cocked hat. ---djb

              Original Message:
              -----------------
              From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano lizziewriter@...
              Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 09:54:05 -0400
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton



              Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to
              find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations. Still I don't see the
              big deal... there has always been a wide variety of humankind, and isolated
              cultures can be very short or tall. Makes good reading, but I don't get
              the drama.

              Lizzie

              Elizabeth Apgar Triano
              lizziewriter@...
              amor vincit omnia
              www.lizziewriter.com


              > [Original Message]
              > From: Beth Russell <russells@...>
              > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
              > Date: 10/27/2004 5:46:46 PM
              > Subject: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton
              >
              >
              >
              > Hey! Look at all these comparisons! Keep reading and you will even
              > find Smaug. (A pity the headline didn't say Hobbit rather than Dwarf.)
              >
              > Beth
              >
              >
              >
              > Scientists Find Prehistoric Dwarf Skeleton
              >
              >
              >
              > By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, AP Science Writer
              >
              > In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human
              > evolution, scientists say they have found the skeleton of a new human
              > species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while
              > modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.
              >
              >
              > The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists
              > like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that
              > bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern
              > humans.
              >
              >
              > Yet biologically speaking, it may have been closely related to us and
              > perhaps even shared its caves with our ancestors.
              >
              >
              > The 3-foot-tall adult female skeleton found in a cave is believed 18,000
              > years old. It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief that our
              > species, Homo sapiens, systematically crowded out other upright-walking
              > human cousins beginning 160,000 years ago and that we've had Earth to
              > ourselves for tens of thousands of years.
              >
              >
              > Instead, it suggests recent evolution was more complex than previously
              > thought.
              >
              >
              > And it demonstrates that Africa, the acknowledged cradle of humanity,
              > does not hold all the answers to persistent questions of how - and where
              > - we came to be.
              >
              >
              > "This finding really does rewrite our knowledge of human evolution,"
              > said Chris Stringer, who directs human origins studies at the Natural
              > History Museum in London. "And to have them present less than 20,000
              > years ago is frankly astonishing."
              >
              >
              > Scientists called the dwarf skeleton "the most extreme" figure to be
              > included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.
              >
              >
              > She is the best example of a trove of fragmented bones that account for
              > as many as seven of these primitive individuals that lived on the
              > equatorial island of Flores, located east of Java and northwest of
              > Australia. The mostly intact female skeleton was found in September
              > 2003.
              >
              >
              > Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis, or Flores
              > Man, and details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.
              >
              >
              > The specimens' ages range from 95,000 to 12,000 years old, meaning they
              > lived until the threshold of recorded human history and perhaps crossed
              > paths with the ancestors of today's islanders.
              >
              >
              > Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was
              > two-thirds smaller than ours, and closer to the brains of today's
              > chimpanzees and transitional prehuman species in Africa than vanished 2
              > million years ago.
              >
              >
              > Yet Flores Man made stone tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for
              > meat. Bones of fish, birds and rodents found near the skeleton were
              > charred, suggesting they were cooked.
              >
              >
              > All this suggests Flores Man lived communally and communicated
              > effectively, perhaps even verbally.
              >
              >
              > "It is arguably the most significant discovery concerning our own genus
              > in my lifetime," said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington
              > University, who reviewed the research independently.
              >
              >
              > Discoveries simply "don't get any better than that," proclaimed Robert
              > Foley and Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University in a written
              > analysis.
              >
              >
              > To others, the species' baffling combination of slight dimensions and
              > coarse features bears almost no meaningful comparison either to modern
              > humans or to our larger, archaic cousins.
              >
              >
              > They suggest that Flores Man doesn't belong in the genus Homo at all,
              > even if it was a recent contemporary. But they are unsure where to
              > classify it.
              >
              >
              > "I don't think anybody can pigeonhole this into the very simple-minded
              > theories of what is human," anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz of the
              > University of Pittsburgh. "There is no biological reason to call it
              > Homo. We have to rethink what it is."
              >
              > For now, most researchers have been limited to examining digital
              > photographs of the specimens. The female partial skeleton and other
              > fragments are stored in a laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia.
              >
              > Researchers from Australia and Indonesia found the partial skeleton 13
              > months ago in a shallow limestone cave known as Liang Bua. The cave,
              > which extends into a hillside for about 130 feet, has been the subject
              > of scientific analysis since 1964. Fenced off and patrolled by guards,
              > it is surrounded by coffee farms.
              >
              > Older stone tools and other artifacts previously found on the island
              > suggest that Flores Man is part of a substantial archaic human lineage.
              >
              > "So the 18,000-year-old skeleton cannot be some kind of 'freak' that we
              > just happened to stumble across," said one of the discoverers,
              > radiocarbon dating expert Richard G. Roberts of the University of
              > Wollongong in Australia.
              >
              > But the environment in which Flores Man lived was indeed peculiar, and
              > scientists say it probably contributed to the specimen's unusually small
              > dimensions.
              >
              > Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
              > Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
              > giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
              > dogs.
              >
              > It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's
              > carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug
              > described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
              >
              >
              > Artifacts suggest that a big-boned human cousin, Homo erectus, migrated
              > from Java to Flores and other islands, perhaps by bamboo raft, nearly 1
              > million years ago.
              >
              > Researchers suspect that Flores Man probably is an H. erectus descendant
              > that was squeezed by the pressures of natural selection.
              >
              > Nature is full of mammals - deer, squirrels and pigs, for example -
              > living in marginal, isolated environments that gradually dwarf when food
              > isn't plentiful and predators aren't threatening.
              >
              > This is the first time that the evolution of dwarfism has been recorded
              > in a human relative, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown of the
              > University of New England in Australia.
              >
              > Just how this primitive, remnant species managed to hang on is
              > uncertain. Inbreeding certainly would've been a danger. Geologic
              > evidence suggests a massive volcanic eruption sealed its fate some
              > 12,000 years ago, along with other unusual island species like the dwarf
              > elephant species, stegodon.
              >
              > Now, scientists are more puzzled by the specimen's jumble of features
              > that appear to be borrowed from different human ancestors.
              >
              > This much is clear: Its worn teeth and fused skull show it was an adult.
              > The shape of the pelvis is female. The skull is wide like H. erectus.
              > But the sides are rounder and the crown traces an arc from ear to ear.
              > The skull of H. erectus has straight sides and a pointed crown, they
              > said.
              >
              > The lower jaw contains large, blunt teeth and roots like
              > Australopithecus, a prehuman ancestor in Africa more than 3 million
              > years ago. The front teeth are smaller and more like modern human teeth.
              >
              >
              > The eye sockets are big and round, but unlike other members of the Homo
              > genus, it has hardly any chin or browline.
              >
              > The rest of the skeleton looks as if it walked upright, but the pelvis
              > and the shinbone have primitive, even apelike features.
              >
              > Bones from the species' feet and hands have not yet been found. Delicate
              > artifacts found in the cave were described as "toy-sized" versions of
              > stone tools made by H. erectus. They suggest that Flores Man retained
              > intelligence and dexterity to flake small weapons with sharp edges, even
              > if its body shrunk over time.
              >
              > "I've spent a sleepless night trying to figure out what to do with this
              > thing," said Schwartz. "It's a mind-blower. It makes me think of nothing
              > else in this world."
              >
              > Even more speculative is whether Flores Man met with modern humans, and
              > what might've happened.
              >
              > Folklore experts have reported persistent legends of little people
              > living on Flores and nearby islands. Islanders called the creature "Ebu
              > Gogo" and say it was about 3 feet tall.
              >
              > ___
              >
              > Associated Press writers Emma Ross in London and Chris Brummit in
              > Jakarta contributed to this report.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >






              The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              Yahoo! Groups Links








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            • Beth Russell
              The drama is not in the discovery, interesting as it is, but in the Tolkenian comparisons being made in the reports (whether they be true or false). I think
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                The drama is not in the discovery, interesting as it is, but in the
                Tolkenian comparisons being made in the reports (whether they be true or
                false). I think there is more than just The Movie shown here because
                the article mentions Smaug as well (although erroneously placing him in
                "The Lord of the Rings").

                These are the relevant paragraphs in that particular article:

                "The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists
                like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that
                bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern
                humans. "

                "Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
                Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
                giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
                dogs."

                "It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's
                carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug
                described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings"
                trilogy."


                A USA Today article says this morning:

                "Fans of The Lord of the Rings may be interested to know that a remote
                Indonesian island has yielded the remains of pint-size people - a
                surprising new human species - that paleontologists say lived just
                18,000 years ago.

                In fact, scientists have nicknamed the new creature "Hobbit" after the
                diminutive folks in the famed J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy. Fiction aside, the
                discovery reported today by an Australian paleontology team is a big
                deal, challenging decades of human-origins research."



                From the "Middle-earth Studies" point of view, the third paragraph of
                the Prologue to LOTR says "Hobbits are [. . .] a very ancient people [.
                . .]". Were these skeletons the last of the hobbits, hidden on their
                island from the Big Folk "until the Dragon" came" (which the scientists
                are interpreting as a volcanic event)?

                Beth



                Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good
                to
                find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations. Still I don't see
                the
                big deal... there has always been a wide variety of humankind, and
                isolated
                cultures can be very short or tall. Makes good reading, but I don't get
                the drama.

                Lizzie

                Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                lizziewriter@...
                amor vincit omnia
                www.lizziewriter.com


                > [Original Message]
                > From: Beth Russell <russells@...>
                > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                > Date: 10/27/2004 5:46:46 PM
                > Subject: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton
                >
                >
                >
                > Hey! Look at all these comparisons! Keep reading and you will even
                > find Smaug. (A pity the headline didn't say Hobbit rather than
                Dwarf.)
                >
                > Beth
                >
                >
                >
                > Scientists Find Prehistoric Dwarf Skeleton
                >
                >
                >
                > By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, AP Science Writer
                >
                >
                >
                > "The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists
                > like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature
                that
                > bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than
                modern
                > humans. "
                >
                >"Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
                Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
                giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
                dogs."
                >
                >"It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's
                carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug
                described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings"
                trilogy."
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >.
                >
                > ___
                >
                > Associated Press writers Emma Ross in London and Chris Brummit in
                > Jakarta contributed to this report.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >






                The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                Yahoo! Groups Links
              • Edith.Crowe@sjsu.edu
                Citation from _Nature_ (online) is as follows: Brown, P. et al. A New Small-bodied Hominin [sic] from the Late Pleistocence of Flores, Indonesia. _Nature_
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                  Citation from _Nature_ (online) is as follows:

                  Brown, P. et al. "A New Small-bodied Hominin [sic] from the Late
                  Pleistocence of Flores, Indonesia. _Nature_ 431, 1055-1061(28 October
                  2004). The journal web site has a lot on it also, try
                  http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html--I think you can get
                  this without being a subscriber.

                  There was a major article on this find in my local newspaper this morning
                  (San Jose Mercury News). Charts & diagrams included.

                  Edith L. Crowe
                  Corresponding Secretary of the Mythopoeic Society
                  http://www.mythsoc.org




                  "Elizabeth Apgar Triano" <lizziewriter@...>
                  10/28/2004 06:54 AM
                  Please respond to mythsoc


                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  cc:
                  Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton


                  Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to
                  find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations.
                  The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org


                  Yahoo! Groups Sponsor



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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Alan Kellogg
                  ... All I can advise is a visit to , where you can find a number of stories on the subject. Picking up a copy of the new *Nature* when
                  Message 8 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                    >Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to
                    >find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations. Still I don't see the
                    >big deal... there has always been a wide variety of humankind, and isolated
                    >cultures can be very short or tall. Makes good reading, but I don't get
                    >the drama.
                    >
                    >Lizzie
                    >
                    >Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                    >lizziewriter@...
                    >amor vincit omnia
                    >www.lizziewriter.com

                    All I can advise is a visit to <http://www.nature.com>, where you can
                    find a number of stories on the subject. Picking up a copy of the new
                    *Nature* when it's released would also be a good idea.
                    --
                    Alan Kellogg

                    http://www.mythusmage.com

                    mailto:mythusmage@...
                  • alexeik@aol.com
                    In a message dated 10/28/4 1:56:15 PM, Lizzie wrote:
                    Message 9 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                      In a message dated 10/28/4 1:56:15 PM, Lizzie wrote:

                      <<there has always been a wide variety of humankind, and isolated
                      cultures can be very short or tall. Makes good reading, but I don't get
                      the drama.>>

                      This is not just a previously unknown human population, but a distinct
                      species of hominid that nevertheless used tools and weapons. Also, no natural human
                      population consists of individuals three feet tall (discovering a species of
                      ten-foot-tall hominids would be equally newsworthy).
                      Alexei
                    • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                      Thanks, all. I did find the internet links, and am going to scout around for magazine backup. For myself, I believe they would have belonged more to the
                      Message 10 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                        Thanks, all. I did find the internet links, and am going to scout around
                        for magazine backup.

                        For myself, I believe they would have belonged more to the Dreamtime than
                        to the Hill.

                        Lizzie

                        Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                        lizziewriter@...
                        amor vincit omnia
                        www.lizziewriter.com


                        > [Original Message]
                        > From: <Edith.Crowe@...>
                        > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Date: 10/28/2004 12:07:44 PM
                        > Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton
                        >
                        >
                        > Citation from _Nature_ (online) is as follows:
                        >
                        > Brown, P. et al. "A New Small-bodied Hominin [sic] from the Late
                        > Pleistocence of Flores, Indonesia. _Nature_ 431, 1055-1061(28 October
                        > 2004). The journal web site has a lot on it also, try
                        > http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html--I think you can
                        get
                        > this without being a subscriber.
                        >
                        > There was a major article on this find in my local newspaper this morning
                        > (San Jose Mercury News). Charts & diagrams included.
                        >
                        > Edith L. Crowe
                        > Corresponding Secretary of the Mythopoeic Society
                        > http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > "Elizabeth Apgar Triano" <lizziewriter@...>
                        > 10/28/2004 06:54 AM
                        > Please respond to mythsoc
                        >
                        >
                        > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                        > cc:
                        > Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Hominid in Hobbiton
                        >
                        >
                        > Well I am still sorting messages, but is this for real? Would be good to
                        > find a magazine with charts, pictures and citations.
                        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mythsoc/
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                        > mythsoc-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • David Bratman
                        ... It s interesting that the comparisons are being made, though they re certainly neither true nor relevant. Aside from being small, secretive, and barefoot,
                        Message 11 of 14 , Oct 28, 2004
                          At 10:57 AM 10/28/2004 -0500, Beth Russell wrote:

                          >The drama is not in the discovery, interesting as it is, but in the
                          >Tolkenian comparisons being made in the reports (whether they be true or
                          >false).

                          It's interesting that the comparisons are being made, though they're
                          certainly neither true nor relevant. Aside from being small, secretive,
                          and barefoot, these beings clearly have nothing in common with hobbits as
                          Tolkien described them. That they should have spawned legends among later
                          Indonesians is interesting, as Tolkien evidently intended readers to think
                          of hobbits as the "real" story behind elusive small European peoples like,
                          say, leprechauns.


                          >"Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life
                          >Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like
                          >giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting
                          >dogs."

                          This strongly suggests the author has no more knowledge of Middle-earth
                          than the infamous Barbara Remington covers to the original Ballantine editions.
                        • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                          Most likely, the Irish Fionn Cycle, dealing with the stories of Fionn mac Cumhail? ---djb ... From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano lizziewriter@earthlink.net Date:
                          Message 12 of 14 , Oct 29, 2004
                            Most likely, the Irish Fionn Cycle, dealing with the stories of Fionn mac
                            Cumhail? ---djb

                            Original Message:
                            -----------------
                            From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano lizziewriter@...
                            Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 13:29:40 -0400
                            To: Mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [mythsoc] Paul Hazel's Finnbranch




                            I have just finished reading Paul Hazel's _Yearwood_, the first book in the
                            Finnbranch trilogy. I know I have not read any other Hazel. The cadence,
                            or style, of this book is so familiar though, and many of the names are as
                            well. I realize these are separate issues. Does anyone know if his Finn
                            legend is based on any single story or set of tales, or just generally set
                            in the, what would you call it? semi-Celtic-Gaelic-storylands? And the
                            cadence, it recalls something, but I am not sure what. Anyone?

                            thanks,

                            Lizzie

                            Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                            lizziewriter@...
                            amor vincit omnia
                            www.lizziewriter.com









                            The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                            Yahoo! Groups Links








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                          • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                            That s what perhaps I thought, but I would like to hear more discussion and analysis from those who would know. Even if you look on amazon under reviews,
                            Message 13 of 14 , Oct 29, 2004
                              That's what perhaps I thought, but I would like to hear more discussion and
                              analysis from those who would know. Even if you look on amazon under
                              reviews, there is very little, and it sounds more like criticism of
                              original fiction than of retellings. At first I thought it was "that"
                              Finn, but there is also use of other popular legendary names, and not,
                              perhaps, tied to the characters one would first think of.

                              Mr. Hazel is apparently now the HR director, or similar, of a school
                              district in my area. I can't find a lot more about him in searches, but I
                              am thinking of writing to him. With two shows coming up soon, though,
                              everything else is taking a back burner around here.

                              Lizzie

                              Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                              lizziewriter@...
                              amor vincit omnia
                              www.lizziewriter.com


                              > [Original Message]
                              > From: dianejoy@... <dianejoy@...>
                              > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                              > Date: 10/29/2004 10:47:45 AM
                              > Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Paul Hazel's Finnbranch
                              >
                              >
                              > Most likely, the Irish Fionn Cycle, dealing with the stories of Fionn mac
                              > Cumhail? ---djb
                              >
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