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June 15, 2016

The existence of human ancestors on the island of Flores in the Indonesian archipelago has been pushed back to approximately 700,000 years ago, it was announced in two papers appearing in Nature’s June 9th edition. The formal name of this species uncovered in 2004 is Homo floresiensis.

Fossil remains of a late Pleistocene biped with diminutive stature and a brain size found in early Homo or even Australopithecus (and quickly nicknamed “Hobbit”) were discovered on the island. See the news report, The “Hobbit” debate continues. The two papers this week announce finding remains at a nearby site dated to 700,000 years ago. Also small statured, the remains are hypothesized by the authors to be a predecessor population, possibly Homo erectus and small statured because of the "island effect.

View the Nature video.