Updated: Wednesday, 21 Apr 2010, 5:44 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 21 Apr 2010, 7:09 AM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Once the stuff of pure fiction, scientists in Albuquerque debated the existence of Hobbits over the last week.
During the Association of Physical Anthropologists annual meeting, PhD's presented papers on the discovery of Homo floresiensis ("Flores Man"), nicknamed the Hobbit. They debated if, and where, the 2003 discovery falls into human evolution.
"I think the majority opinion now is that this is a distinct species and the question 'is this really human,'" said Dr. Chris Stringer.
Stringer works for the Museum of Natural History in London. Stringer has written in popular culture on the Halfling discovery made in 2003.
"Scientifically, it's an incredibly important find, because it shows how little we know about the evolution of man in Asia," he said.
Scientists presented several papers during the conference ranging from claiming Homo floresiensis was nothing more than a developmental disorder, to others discussing its bone strength and even brain shape.
"Here was a creature with a brain the size of a chimpanzee yet making reasonably sophisticated stone tools, apparently eating stegadons, (small elephants) maybe even hunting them," said Stringer.
When asked how close the scientific discovery is to the fantastic creation of J.R.R. Tolkien, Stringer responded as such:
Question: "Hobbits are short, 3-and-a-half feet tall?"
Answer: "That's pretty close, so yeah."
Question: "Big hairy feet?"
Answer: "Big feet certainly, we don't know about hairy."
Question: "Loved food, tended to overindulge?"
Answer: "I don't think we can answer that one."
So it's up to everyone's interpretation whether this discovery is related to the "Shire" or not. However, this one scientist thinks they are certainly similar.