The Discovery of the Homo Floresiensis
A combined team of archeologists from Australia and Indonesia was on a lookout for the evidence of the original migration of modern humans to Australia from Asia.
Instead, they stumbled upon a small-statured and nearly complete skeleton that they named LB1.
They found the skeleton in 2003 in the Late Pleistocene deposits in a cave known as Liang Bua. The Liang Bua cave is located on the island of Flores, Nusatenggara, Indonesia.
Studies revealed that the skeleton that they found with a nearly complete skull belonged to an adult woman aged 30. They named her the “Little Lady of Flores.” The team went ahead with further excavations, only to find seven more skeletons.
The skeletal remains of LB1 or the Little Lady of Flores were initially dated to approximately 18,000 BP (before present). LB2 (another specimen) was dated to be much older.
Subsequent studies of all the skeletal specimen found so far, place the Homo floresiensis species in the range 100,000 to 60,000 years BP.
The archeologists who found the Homo floresiensis also found stone tools dated between 190,000 and 50,000 years old.
Standing at approximately 3 feet and 6 inches tall, the Homo floresiensis had large teeth (compared to their small size), tiny brains, receding foreheads, no chin, shrugged-forward shoulder, and relatively large feet compared to their short legs.
Even though they had small brains and small body size, they learned how to make and use stone tools. They hunted and ate large rodents and small elephants.
They dealt with large predators like the giant Komodo dragon and probably even used fire!
Experts hypothesize that the small brains and the short stature of the Homo floresiensis were the results of island dwarfism. The presence of the remains of extinct pygmy elephants on Flores also reveals the same adaptation.
However, an alternate theory suggests that the ancestors of the Homo floresiensis were small when they first reached Flores.