The Discovery of Homo floresiensis


The story is as remarkable as the finding of the first coelacanth, the 65 million year extinct "living fossil" found off Africa in 1938. The biggest story in anthropology for 2004 may become the event of the decade within cryptozoology. The editor of Nature, Henry Gee, in an editorial entitled "Flores, God and Cryptozoology," wrote: "The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth....Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold."

On October 27, 2004, Nature announced an entirely new species of Homo, concurrently living with modern humans (Homo sapiens), from the Indonesian island of Flores. The team of scientists (Peter Brown, T. Sutikna, Mike Morwood, R. P. Soejono, M. W. Moore, D. R. Hobbs, M. I. Bird, and several other Australians and Indonesians) involved in the discovery and analyses of the Flores people thought they were at first dealing with children, but soon realized this was a group of fully-grown 3 feet (one meter) tall hominids, a new species, who lived as recently as 13,000 years ago. Christened with the new name, Homo floresiensis, the type specimen is a 30 year old female, with the subfossilized remains of six other individuals also being found in the same cave.

Local natives on Flores have one hundred year old legends of a small hairy people, the Ebu Gogo, and clues from these tales will be employed to find new caves to explore for evidence of their former little habitants. While Sumatra's Orang Pendek has been mentioned in the same context as the media nicknamed "Hobbits" of Flores, the more relevant cryptids are not anthropoids, but the fully manlike ones, such as the Nittaewo, the three feet tall hairy hominids of ancient Ceylon (Sri Lanka) -- mentioned by Pliny in the first century -- who were said to exist to the end of the 18th Century. It is time to look again at reports of little people, with an eye to the discovery of their subfossil remains and living existence, from Sri Lanka to the South Pacific. As many cryptozoologists have been saying for years about these unknown hairy hominid reports: "We are not alone." Now we know that is assuredly true