Komodo Dragon Kaper: The Hobbit

Day 11

Sunday May 23rd

Lazy Daze

May23 - 6
This morning we found ourselves back in the lux comforts of our hotel, breakfast with a view and another swim. The resident cat had curled up outside our room, fast asleep. After our cruise filled komodo adventures, today was a quiet day – just what we needed. We walked nearby to indulge in some lunch, desserts plus a last revel in views of the Flores Sea and contemplated the unseen wonders of this ancient archipelago…

The Hobbits

The specimens were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 by a joint Australian-Indonesian team of archaeologists looking for evidence of the original human migration of Homo sapiens from Asia to Australia.They were not expecting to find a new species, and were surprised at the recovery of a nearly complete skeleton of a hominin they dubbed LB1 because it was unearthed inside the Liang Bua Cave. Subsequent excavations recovered seven additional skeletons, initially dated from 38,000 to 13,000 years ago. An arm bone provisionally assigned to H. floresiensis is about 74,000 years old. The specimens are not fossilized and have been described as having “…the consistency of wet blotting paper.” Once exposed, the bones had to be left to dry before they could be dug up.

Stone implements of a size considered appropriate to the 3-foot-tall human are also widely present in the cave. The implements are at horizons initially dated at from 95,000 to 13,000 years ago and are associated with (found in the same stratigraphic layer as) an elephant of the extinct genus Stegodon (which was widespread throughout Asia during the Quaternary), presumably the prey of LB1. Homo sapiens reached the region by around 50,000 years ago. Comparisons of the stone artefacts with those made by modern humans in East Timor indicate many technological similarities.

Homo floresiensis was unveiled on 28 October 2004, and was swiftly nicknamed the hobbit, after the fictional race popularized in J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, and a proposed scientific name for the species was Homo hobbitus. It was initially placed in its own genus, Sundanthropus floresianus (“Sunda human from Flores”), but reviewers of the article felt that the cranium, despite its size, belonged in the genus Homo. – wiki

We packed for the flight departing Flores Island to slumber in the arms of our welcoming Balinese hosts Made and his family and awake to another new chapter of the Komodo Dragon Kaper.

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