Archeology X-Files

Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of Hobbit

Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of Hobbit

Hobbits of Flores have always allured attention! And, yet again, there is the buzz about discovering the ancestors of the hobbits! These new found individuals are even smaller than the hobbits, and date back to almost 700,000 years ago.

The first sight of hobbits

  • The first sights of fossils associated with hobbits, dates back to the year 2003.
  • The scientist unearthed fossils in Liang Bua cave, on the Indonesian island of Flores.
  • These fossils were witnessed to belong to unknown hominin.
  • It was suspected that the hominin lived between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago.
  • In accordance with the suggestion of the scientists, this hominin was a unique branch of the human lineage- Homo floresiensis.
  • Since, the stature was just 1 m long; it earned the nickname of Hobbit.

The scientists have some proposal to make with regards to the Hobbit:-

  • A group of Homo erectus evolved into floresiensis.
  • They can be the earliest ancestor of the modern humans.
  • The entire population became smaller in size post reaching the Flores.
  • floresiensis might have evolved from even more ancient hominins, with ape like skeletons and smaller brains.

The latest discovery has, however, instigated to the evolution from H. erectus-as suggested by the researchers.

Mata Menge excavation

Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of HobbitThe researchers uncovered the new fossils in 2014 at the so-called Mata Menge site, located within the So'a Basin in central Flores, about 46 miles (74 kilometers) from Liang Bua, where the hobbit fossils were discovered. The researchers have been excavating in the area for more than 20 years. Credit: Kinez Riza

The start

  • The newest of the fossils were unearthed in 2014.
  • Mata Menge, nestled within the So’a Basin in central Flores was the site.
  • The excavation has been carried on for more than 20 years.
  • The specimen was found in sandstone. Analysis of the same revealed that the hominins resided in hot and dry grasslands, which had scattered wetlands.
Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of HobbitProfessor Chris Stringer, Head of Human Origins at London's Natural History Museum, holds a cast of the skull of Homo floresiensis in 2004. Though no skull was found belonging to the hobbit ancestors, the researchers involved in the excavation said they expect to find more material, since the hominin fossils all came from the same layer of sandstone at Mata Menge.

What resulted?

  1. A fragment of an adult jaw
  2. 6 teeth from 3 individuals- include 2 tiny milky teeth from different infants.
Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of HobbitThe researchers found that the Mata Menge jaw fragment, which would have been part of the lower jaw of an adult hobbit ancestor, is 20 percent smaller than the smallest lower jaw belonging to H. floresiensis from the Liang Bua cave.Credit: Kinez Riza

In accordance with the researchers these reminiscent were almost 700,000 years old.

What do the researchers unfurl?

  • In consonance with the researchers, the new found hominins can be the ancestors of floresiensis.
  • The Mata Menge fossils are way smaller than the initially discovered Liang Bua reminiscent.
  • The size of the new findings thus indicates that Homo floresiensis had already reached the smallest since by almost 700,000 years ago.
  • This can be related to the fact, that radical change in sizes was observed when animals were trapped on islands, the example of the same is dwarf mammoths and dwarf dinosaurs.

The argument continues

Some researchers were of the view that the Liang Bua hominins were not a different human species; they were in fact modern humans with a birth disorder. But, the recent discovery suggests that the hobbit lineage was established much before the evolution of human species in Africa.

There are also found tools in Mata Menge fossil, which are similar to those at the Liang Bua fossil.

In accordance with van der Bergh-“The Mata Menge fossils are intermediate in shape between Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis from Liang Bua,”

It is a definite that further excavation, exploration and research are bound to establish new revelations!

Images ©Kinez Riza

Mata Menge Fossil- The Ancestor Of Hobbit
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