In 2003, archaeologists looking for evidence of the migration of modern humans from Asia to Australia stumbled across a small, fairly complete skeleton of an extinct human species on the Indonesian island of Flores, which came to be known as Homo floresiensis. Or, as it became more commonly known, the Hobbit, after the small, breakfast-guzzling creatures from J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit.
The species was initially thought to have survived until relatively recently, around 12,000 years ago, before further analysis pushed that date back to around 50,000 years. But one retired professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta says that evidence that the species’ continued existence may have been overlooked, and the Hobbit may still be alive today, or at least within living memory.
In an opinion piece for The Scientist promoting his upcoming book Between Ape and Human, Gregory Forth argues that palaeontologists and other scientists have overlooked Indigenous knowledge and accounts of an “ape-man” living in the forests of Flores.
“My aim in writing the book was to find the best explanation — that is, the most rational and empirically best supported — of Lio accounts of the creatures,” Forth wrote in the piece. “These include reports of sightings by more than 30 eyewitnesses, all of whom I spoke with directly. And I conclude that …