Scientists: New evidence Indonesian 'Hobbits' disappeared 50K years ago

Liang Bua excavation site where scientists discovered new information about Indonesian Hobbits (Photos courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)

This isn't a scene from "The Lord of the Rings."

For one, the excavation site looks nothing like "The Shire." But scientists do believe new evidence found in a cave suggests Indonesian Hobbits disappeared from the earth much longer than originally thought.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, along with an international team of scientists confirm new evidence suggests the Hobbits (also known as Homo floresiensis) disappeared 50 thousand, not 12 thousand years ago as originally thought.

According to researchers, in 2003 the remains of a human skeleton was discovered 20 feet in the earth at Liang Bua.

"The skull revealed an extremely small, chimpanzee-sized brain," and the bones showed that the fully grown adult stood 3.5 ft. tall.

New excavations at the site showed all of the skeletal remains range between 100 thousand to 60 thousand years old.

According to a press release by the Smithsonian, "Lead author of the study, Thomas Sutikna at the University of Wollongong and National Research Centre for Archaeology, said, 'We didn't realize during our original excavations that the 'hobbit' deposits near the eastern wall of the cave were similar in age to those near the cave center, which we had dated to about 74,000 years ago. As we extended our original excavations each year, it became increasingly clear that there was a large remnant pedestal of older deposits truncated by an erosional surface that sloped steeply toward the cave mouth.'"

The release states that modern humans ventured through the islands of Southeast Asia around the time that the Hobbit was in the area, but it's unclear whether the two encountered each other.

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