A study of bird remains from the same cave that yielded bones of a mini human species called Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the hobbit has cast new light on the lost world of this enigmatic human relative. The findings hint that the hobbits’ island home was quite ecologically diverse, and raise the possibility that the tiny humans had to defend their kills from giant carnivorous birds.
The new work, carried out by Henneke Meijer of the Smithsonian Institution and her colleagues at the Smithsonian and the National Research and Development Center for Archaeology in Jakarta, Indonesia, shows that a great many birds also called the island home back when the hobbits reigned, as recently as 17,000 years ago. Meijer presented the results on November 4 at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
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