Hobbits and Scotsmen


The Washington Post reports:

Scientists have discovered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an isolated island east of the Java Sea—a prehistoric hunter in a "lost world" of giant lizards and miniature elephants.

These "little people" stood about three feet tall and had heads the size of grapefruit. They co-existed with modern humans for thousands of years yet appear to be more closely akin to a long-extinct human ancestor.

Researchers suspect the earlier ancestor may have migrated to the island and evolved into a smaller dwarf species as it adapted to the island's limited resources. This phenomenon, known as the "island rule," is common in the animal world but had never been seen before in human evolution.

In other archeological news, a find in Scotland suggests that the village of Dreghorn has been continuously occupied for some 5,500 years. This was actually reported back in February—but given the context, eight months ago seems positively recent.