It has been some time since we last reported on the “hobbits” of Indonesia—the casual term for “ancient” humans who left behind bones and tools on the Indonesian island of Flores. Scientists continue to debate whether the hobbits were, basically, otherwise “ordinary” humans affected by congenital disease or whether they were far more different—the latter view having given rise to the Homo floresiensis classification.
The researchers claim the hobbits or their ancestors may have lived on Flores over one million years ago.
Now, a team reporting in the journal Nature contributes a new evolutionary perspective on when the hobbits might have inhabited Flores and, consequently, what they may have been. The team, led by the University of Wollongong’s Adam Brumm, began by investigating the question of how long the hobbits or their ancestors inhabited Flores.
The scientists studied dozens of stone blades that were buried on the island. The blades were all buried below a layer of volcanic ash that, by old-earth dating methods, was dated to slightly more than one million years before present. Ergo, the researchers claim the hobbits or their ancestors may have lived on Flores over one million years ago.
That, on its own, may seem a less-than-revolutionary evolutionary view. However, it is at odds with current evolutionary estimates of when Homo erectus—the hominid suspected to have given rise to H. floresiensis (if it is a separate species)—migrated out of Africa. Brumm’s team has thus put forward a “contentious theory”: not only that the hobbits evolved from something more primitive than Homo erectus, but that a hominid more primitive than Homo erectus traveled as far from Africa as Indonesia.
Even scientists who accept that the hobbits were different from modern humans don’t accept the team’s conclusions, however. “There are many ways in which artifacts can move through sediments,” said University of Illinois–Chicago anthropologist James Phillips. He also pointed out that the team’s dating implied the hobbits never changed their tool-making style over a million-year period, something Phillips finds unlikely.
Beginning with God’s Word, not only do we realize that one million years is an impossible time frame for the hobbits to have lived on Flores; we also recognize that the only humans to have lived are descendants from Adam and Eve, who were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); however different the “hobbits” may have been, they were created in God’s image and were fully human. Further, at this point we still agree with the many scientists who reject H. floresiensis as a classification, finding it more likely the hobbit bones were from perhaps-diseased and diminutive but otherwise ordinary humans.
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