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New Species of Hobbit-sized Human Discovered

The remains of a new species of Hobbit-sized human have beenfound in a cave on the island of Flores, an isolated islandto the east of Java. So far, the remains of eightindividuals from the new species have been uncovered. Thepartial skeleton of an adult female shows that these peoplewere about 3 feet (1m) tall and had a brain similar in sizeto a chimpanzee's. Along with the remains, evidence of toolmaking and other modern human behavior were found at thesite. Scientists believe "Homo floresiensis" livedapproximately 18,000 years ago.

Local legends tell of hobbit-like people living on islandsin the area, but thus far there has been no evidence of them.

Dubbed "Flores Man", these decedents of Homo erectus werecompletely isolated on Flores and evolved into a diminutivestature in order to adapt to living conditions found there.Scientists from the University of New England in Armidale,Australia suspect the new species became extinct after amassive volcanic eruption occurred on the islandapproximately 12,000 years ago.

Finding these new hominins -- a scientific classificationthat includes humans and pre-humans -- in a completelyisolated environment and with elements of tool use is animportant discovery and adds another piece to the complexhistory of human evolution.

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