Hobbits Were A Real Species

“My dear Frodo. Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you.” —Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

In A Nutshell

In 2003, archaeologists began to discover a series of hominid skeletons on the island of Flores in Indonesia. The skeletons suggest these hobbits averaged 1 meter (3.3 ft) in height and weighed in at roughly 35 kilograms (77 lbs). They were found near tools sized appropriately to their bodies and hands, meaning that they may have had complex brains and may be part of our own family tree.

The Whole Bushel

The isolation of islands and island chains is often responsible for creating unique ecosystems. Many plant and animal species that thrive on individual islands exist nowhere else in the world. Evolution on islands takes a slightly different path than on large land masses, and unique adaptations are completely normal for these islands.

Due to the limited resources on islands, over time, native species can shrink in size due to a phenomenon known as “island dwarfism.” This adaptation allows the species to thrive with a smaller caloric intake, less water and shelter, etc. While researching the migration of ancient humans on the island of Flores in 2003, paleoarchaeologists discovered a nearly intact humanoid skeleton. The skeleton was officially named LB1 after the cave she was found buried in and was affectionately called Flo. Flo’s skeleton suggested she stood about 1.1 meters (3.6 ft). At first, the skeleton was thought to be a dwarf or an individual with microcephaly (a condition that causes small features, especially in the subject’s skull). But after more skeletons (full and partial) were unearthed, it became clear that an entire population on the island bore the diminutive stature.

It is estimated that Homo floresiensis, as it is now known, lived 17,000–95,000 years ago. Skeptics were convinced that the specimens were actually another species that adapted to island life, but after comparing brain size, bone structure, and tool use, it is now understood to be a unique species. Additionally, some claimed that their tiny brains meant they wouldn’t be able to make and use tools like hominids found in other parts of the world. Analysis of stone tools found alongside the skeletons reveals that the hobbits used similar tools to contemporary hominids.

While being a smaller creature affords a better chance at getting enough nutrition, it seems as if Flo and her island mates had to deal with much larger issues. Stegodons are an extinct elephant-like animal that inhabited Flores and surrounding islands. Unlike their hominid counterparts, stegodons didn’t suffer from island dwarfism. Stegodon bones have been found alongside hobbit bones and tools, suggesting the tiny tykes may have hunted the massive beasts. In addition, large reptiles similar to komodo dragons appear to have been both predator and prey for the hobbits.

There is no word on whether the Flores hobbits had large hairy feet and an affinity for rings.

Show Me The Proof

Homo Floresiensis: Facts About the ‘Hobbit’
Smithsonian: What does it mean to be human?
Wrist gives hobbit theory the flick

  • Tyla McCullough

    Learnt this in my biology clss this year most interesting thing all year love learning about stuff like this

  • Joseph

    There is no such thing as a hobbit. Ewoks are real though.

  • Limesy

    They werent hobbits, so why title the article as such? Do listverse and its affiiates have no regard for factual premise? Yes, these hominids existed but no researcher or archeologist is going to refer to them as hobbits. It makes you sound stupid or makes it seem that you’re simply going for some sort of shock value to entice people to read your article.

    • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

      I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties.

      • Errkism

        Hahahahaha

      • Eoghan-Tony Dwyer

        Who talks about hobbits at parties?

        • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

          Not that guy ^

      • Limesy

        You sound like you’re good at using the internet, or do you just like disqus so much that you made it a part of your name?

        • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

          I surrender!

    • Joseph

      I agree that they aren’t really hobbits but, you’re wrong about no researcher or archaeologist referring to them as hobbits. That’s where it came from. Although, it wasn’t an official name.

      • Limesy

        They did not refer to them as hobbits in a scholarly way, nor did they want to confuse people (as the author of this knowledgenuts article totally did) as such; that’s why the word “hobbit” is in parenthesis. It is not to be taken literally.

        • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

          So you clicked the link thinking that researchers had discovered The Shire? Man, I’d be bummed too.

          • Limesy

            That’s a ridiculous assumption to make based on the comments i’ve made.

          • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

            Nuh uh.

        • Joseph

          Yeah, you’re right.

    • Passin’ Through

      The first source under Show Me The Proof seems to contradict you.

      • Limesy

        Did you actually read the source. See my above comment to Joseph.

        • Passin’ Through

          Yes, I read it and it contains the following:

          “LB1’s diminutive build — Homo floresiensis likely weighed between 66 and 77 pounds (30 and 35 kilograms) — earned the species the nickname of “the Hobbit,” after the tiny folk in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book of the same name.”

          The title seems very appropriate for a fun, educational article.

          • Limesy

            Fun? Facts are not fun. And neither am I.

    • Errkism

      Lighten up man, just because you don’t to call them hobbits doesn’t mean other people won’t.

      • Limesy

        That’s stupid. Yeah, let’s name a relatively newly discovered hominid after a made up race of people inspired by a master of linguistics.

        • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

          Yeah, that’s just ridiculous.

        • Errkism

          The name they used doesn’t come close to mattering compared to the information gained with this find.

          • Limesy

            I think you’re kind of missing the point of what i was implying. But, carry on, carry on.

    • Passin’ Through

      It sounds like you clicked on this article because you wanted to believe in hobbits and are now disappointed.

      Hey Limesy, I saw a unicorn on my way to work. He was playing croquet with a leprechaun, the tooth fairy, and a troll.

      • Limesy

        Again, stupid assumption. Speaking of trolls, if you haven’t noticed yet, I do quite enjoy getting people all fired up in comment sections. So dont get too butthurt; my life as an unemployed grad is boring and all you lovely people make it fun. I love you.

  • elmofuddleputt

    It’s true! They do exist! If you have ever seen all the mouth breathing, self-righteous trolls that move here from the Northeast and now infest our beloved South then you too would believe that indeed they do exist.

    • Limesy

      It is a funny thing. All of us up here think even worse of you backwards-ass, hillbilly scum in…where are you from…Kentucky i bet.

      • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

        ^our hero says as spit dribbles from his jowels onto his portable keyboard, coalescing with the crusty peanut butter between the buttons.

        • Limesy

          Why would i need a portable keyboard? Obviously my fat, pimply ass never leaves my bedroom desktop.

          • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

            Gross. I don’t wanna hear about it.

  • Amanda Brady

    Cant these people just make a fun, yet informative article without being persecuted?? You complain about something so silly but you are the same assholes who take the AFCA up the ass even though its killing America! Yay for KnowedgeNuts! I enjoy this page!

    • Limesy

      The fact that you find that silly, makes you silly. Silly woman.

      • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

        Antique Fan Collectors Association, dummy.

        • Limesy

          Nice. I’d like to think that the AIDS one was the one she was referring to. Given all the anal references.

          • disqus_NNz0t1GSdz

            I bet.

          • Limesy

            You know what? You’re alright, guy. We should keyboard bash each other more often; all 15 of knowledgenuts’ readers seem tp enjoy it (you more than me)

  • Chester

    The scientific research that established this “theory” was based off a single skull and the researcher who discovered/ came up with the “hobbit” idea has never allowed the skull to be examined by any other scientific body. Its induction as a “new hominid” species happened with ZERO! conformation by learned members in the anthropological field leaving the credability of the claim to be specious at best. What most researchers believe is that the skull is from a child with a cranial disorder (think tiny head circus sideshow freaks).

  • Eoghan-Tony Dwyer

    Ugh, the stupification of academia is alive and well

  • Wiley Peyote

    Knowledgenuts – is this supposed to be serious knowledge site ot ‘tongue in cheek’ ?