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The findings of
the lower right jaw fragment and six teeth from Mata Menge, published in the journal Nature on Thursday, is the latest in a string of significant discoveries Dr van den Bergh has made on Flores in eastern Indonesia over the past 20 years. In 1992 artefacts and fossils dating back more than 700,000 years were discovered at Mata Menge. "Most archaeologists thought it was impossible that more than 700,000 years ago humans were present on an oceanic island like Flores which had never been connected with the Asian mainland." Then in 2003 at Liang Bua cave in Flores they found the female remains of a 60,000 to 100,000-year-old skeleton of Homo floresiensis or the `Hobbit' - a tiny human standing at just one metre tall. Dr van den Bergh said the new fossils uncovered in 2014 date back even further than the `Hobbit' to around 700,000 years - making it a potential ancestor to the little human. Not only does he believe the discovery will silence those critics who argue the `Hobbit' was nothing more than a deformed modern human, but also has important implications for our understanding of early human dispersal and evolution.
Most surprising was that the recently exhumed specimens were no larger than those still living on the island more than 600,000 years later.
"I was stunned when I first saw these new fossils," said co-author Yousuke Kaifu, a scientist at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.
Read more at: phys.org...