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One tiny specimen, an adult female measuring about 3 feet tall, is described as "the most extreme" figure to be included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.
Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was about a quarter the size of the brain of our species, Homo sapiens. It is closer in size with the brains of transitional prehuman species in Africa more than 3 million years ago.
"It is arguably the most significant discovery concerning our own genus in my lifetime," said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University, who reviewed the research independently.
This hobbit-sized creature appears to have lived as recently as 18,000 years ago on the island of Flores, a kind of tropical Lost World populated by giant lizards and miniature elephants.
Near the skeleton were stone tools and animal remains, including teeth from a young Stegodon, or prehistoric dwarf elephant, as well as fish, birds and rodents. Some of the bones were charred, suggesting they were cooked.