Little Species, Big Mystery: The Story of Homo Floresiensis
There is only one kind of human on earth today: us. But we are only one of a number of human species – primates of the Hominini tribe – that have existed on our planet across the millennia. In 2004 the world was astounded by the discovery of Homo floresiensis, a species of human never encountered before, on the island of Flores in the Indonesian archipelago. A very short, thickset being, with long arms and feet and an appetite for stegodons (a now extinct relative of modern elephants), it was soon nicknamed ‘the hobbit’. As recently as 52,500 years ago, at a time when our own ancestors were spreading around the world, these ‘hobbit’ cousins lived also, at least on Flores. In Little Species, Big Mystery archaeologist Debbie Argue takes us on a journey of thrilling scientific discovery, recounting the unearthing of H. floresiensis, the archaeological expeditions that have followed, other finds – including that of a small Philippines hominin – and new paths of research and discussion. Argue conveys the excitement of searching for and finding clues to a lost past, and the animated discussions that have flowed from their discovery. She provides much contextual information to strengthen our grasp of the essential coordinates of this field and stimulate our interest in the shadowy, fascinating realm of prerecorded time.
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Debbie Argue is a specialist in human evolution and an archaeologist. She is an honorary lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University, Canberra.