- Reconstruction based on skull fragments found in Flores in 2003
- Researchers say result is ‘not pretty, but definitely distinctive’
By MARK PRIGG
PUBLISHED: 12:18 EST, 10 December 2012 | UPDATED: 12:28 EST, 10 December 2012
On the eve of the release of Peter Jackson’s version of the Hobbit, researchers in Australia have revealed what the early human dubbed the ‘hobbit human’ really looks like.
Researchers analysed the homo floresiensis unearthed by Professor Mike Morwood and the Liang Bua archaeological team in Flores, Indonesia in 2003.
‘She’s not what you’d call pretty, but she is definitely distinctive,’ said Dr Susan Hayes of the University of Woollongong, who led the research.
‘In the media it’s often called ‘facial reconstruction’, but because I’m evidence-based and work in archaeological science, we prefer the term ‘facial approximation’,’ Dr Hayes said.
THE HOBBIT HUMAN
The project, marking the beginning of the Australian Archaeological (AAA) Conference being hosted by UOW from 9-13 December, involved Dr Hayes applying her methods to a very different female individual.
She was given access to the very significant remains of Homo floresiensis unearthed by Professor Mike Morwood and the Liang Bua archaeological team in Flores, Indonesia in 2003.
Dr Hayes described the facial approximation as an extraordinary challenge working on an archaic hominin.
‘She’s taken me a bit longer than I’d anticipated, has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I’m pleased with both the methodological development and the final results.’
‘She’s taken me a bit longer than I’d anticipated, has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I’m pleased with both the methodological development and the final results,’ said Miss Hayes.
With a background in forensic science, Hayes was able to flesh out the face of the 3-foot (1-meter) tall, 30-year-old female based on remains that were uncovered in the Liang Bua cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores in 2003.
The 18,000-year-old skeleton, officially known as Homo floresiensis, gets its nickname from its squat stature.
Since the discovery, scientists have debated whether the specimen actually represents an extinct species in the human family tree, perhaps a diminutive offshoot of Homo erectus, a 1.8-million-year-old hominid and the first to have body proportions comparable to those of modern Homo sapiens.