ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Once the stuff of pure fiction, scientists in Albuquerquedebated the existence of Hobbits over the last week.
During the Association of Physical Anthropologists annualmeeting, PhD's presented papers on the discovery of Homofloresiensis ("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 distinctspecies and the question 'is this really human,'" said Dr. ChrisStringer.
Stringer works for the Museum of Natural History in London.Stringer has written in popular culture on the Halfling discoverymade in 2003.
"Scientifically, it's an incredibly important find, because itshows how little we know about the evolution of man in Asia," hesaid.
Scientists presented several papers during the conferenceranging from claiming Homo floresiensis was nothing more than adevelopmental disorder, to others discussing its bone strength andeven brain shape.
"Here was a creature with a brain the size of a chimpanzee yetmaking reasonably sophisticated stone tools, apparently eatingstegadons, (small elephants) maybe even hunting them," saidStringer.
When asked how close the scientific discovery is to thefantastic creation of J.R.R. Tolkien, Stringer responded assuch:
Question: "Hobbits are short, 3-and-a-half feettall?"
Answer: "That's pretty close, so yeah."
Question: "Big hairy feet?"
Answer: "Big feet certainly, we don't know abouthairy."
Question: "Loved food, tended to overindulge?"
Answer: "I don't think we can answer thatone."
So it's up to everyone's interpretation whether this discoveryis related to the "Shire" or not. However, this one scientistthinks they are certainly similar.
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