An island in Indonesia has been home to two different pygmy hominids

A skull of a man from Flores. Homo floresiensis, only one meter tall and not related to the modern pygmy humans who call the island home

The small Indonesian island of Flores is known for its small inhabitants.

The first, an early hominid species known as Homo floresiensis that inhabited the island 60,000 years ago, measured only three feet (0.9 meters) in height.

The researchers dubbed the old species & # 39; Hobbits & # 39; in reference to the short species of humanoid that is in the saga The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkien.

These days, the island is called home by pygmy humans whose average height is 4 feet and 9 inches (1.4 meters), one foot lower than the average height of an American man.

Until now, researchers suspected that the Homo floresiensis species, 60,000 years old, was related to the modern pygmies that inhabit the island.

However, new research has shown that these two populations do not have DNA in common. In contrast, restricted selection is favored by natural selection on the island of Indonesia.

According to new research, smaller humans have evolved separately on two separate occasions on the island of Flores, indicating that it has an evolutionary advantage and helps human survival on the island by 5,227 square miles (13,540 km²).

Although the exact reason for the The phenomenon, known as "convergent evolution", is not yet clear, researchers believe it could be related to the food shortage in Flores.

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A skull of a man from Flores. Homo floresiensis, only one meter tall and not related to the modern pygmy humans who call the island home

A skull of a man from Flores. Homo floresiensis, only one meter tall and not related to the modern pygmy humans who call the island home

Scientists have wondered if modern humanity (Homo sapiens) could have mixed with the old population & # 39; Hobbit & # 39; when they arrived on the island thousands of years ago.

This would have led to the genes of Homo floresiensis being transmitted to the modern pygmies of the island.

However, there is no genetic trace of the old species & # 39; Hobbit & # 39; in the current inhabitants living in Flores.

A team of researchers, led by Princeton University, analyzed the DNA of the modern pygmy population on the island and compared it to the genomes of people around the world to see if this was the case.

The team took samples of saliva from 32 individuals from a town called Rampasasa.

DNA has always been impossible to extract from the remains of Homo floresiensis, so the researchers compared the samples with other groups of living people.

Being small, it has now evolved twice in Flores, indicating that it has an evolutionary advantage and helps survival. This phenomenon is known as convergent evolution and there are other examples throughout the world. The skulls are much smaller (above) than normal humans (below)

Being small, it has now evolved twice in Flores, indicating that it has an evolutionary advantage and helps survival. This phenomenon is known as convergent evolution and there are other examples throughout the world. The skulls are much smaller (above) than normal humans (below)

Being small, it has now evolved twice in Flores, indicating that it has an evolutionary advantage and helps survival. This phenomenon is known as convergent evolution and there are other examples throughout the world. The skulls are much smaller (above) than normal humans (below)

A profile view of a skull of H. floresiensis. The sloping forehead of the skull and the lack of chin suggest that the first humans were primitive

A profile view of a skull of H. floresiensis. The sloping forehead of the skull and the lack of chin suggest that the first humans were primitive

A profile view of a skull of H. floresiensis. The sloping forehead of the skull and the lack of chin suggest that the first humans were primitive

WHO WERE THE FLOWER HOBBITS?

With a height of just over 3 feet (0.9 meters), the inhabitants of the Liang Bua cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores are known only for a few fragmented remains.

The first remains were found in 2003 and since then partial skeletons of nine individuals have been unearthed, including a complete skull.

The researchers believe that the small people were descendants of prehistoric humans, who were isolated on the island about a million years ago.

There are several theories about how they got there.

Some believe they may have crossed a land bridge from mainland Asia and, as sea levels rose, they were isolated.

Others suggest that they were dragged to the island after a tsunami.

Once cut, these hominids had to survive with the food they could find, evolved to a small stature.

Scientists have previously said they were smart hunters because they had found evidence of tool making, butchery and fires.

Bones of the mandible of H. floresiensis. The jaw is tilted back, suggesting that Flores was a primitive species of human

Bones of the mandible of H. floresiensis. The jaw is tilted back, suggesting that Flores was a primitive species of human

Bones of the mandible of H. floresiensis. The jaw is tilted back, suggesting that Flores was a primitive species of human

Modern non-Africans, including populations of pygmies in Flores, have splinters of DNA from the Denisovians and Neanderthals, other similar species that lived thousands of years ago.

Modern non-Africans, including populations of pygmies in Flores, have splinters of DNA from the Denisovians and Neanderthals, other similar species that lived thousands of years ago.

Modern non-Africans, including populations of pygmies in Flores, have splinters of DNA from the Denisovians and Neanderthals, other similar species that lived thousands of years ago.

Dr. Serena Tucci explained: "We use a statistical method that is able to find traces of Neanderthals and Denisovans in the genomes of living people.

"Then, using the same method, we looked for other DNA readings that showed ancestry for a long time.

"None were found, which indicates that Hobbits are unlikely to have contributed to the gene pool of today's pygmies."

They discovered that despite the morphological similarities between the two groups, they have no relationship.

Homo floresiensis became extinct about 12,000 years ago, but there are reasons to believe that it coexisted with early Homo sapiens.

The new analysis, published in Science, found no trace of Hobbit DNA in people today and dispels the theory that an early Homo sapiens ancestor crossed with the Hobbits, causing a crossover in DNA.

Homo floresiensis (pictured) is a primitive human species that measured only 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height. In the photo, an artistic reconstruction of the species

Homo floresiensis (pictured) is a primitive human species that measured only 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height. In the photo, an artistic reconstruction of the species

Homo floresiensis (pictured) is a primitive human species that measured only 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height. In the photo, an artistic reconstruction of the species

H. floresiensis lived in the cave of Liang Bua on the remote Indonesian island of Flores and is known only by a few fragmented remains

H. floresiensis lived in the cave of Liang Bua on the remote Indonesian island of Flores and is known only by a few fragmented remains

H. floresiensis lived in the cave of Liang Bua on the remote Indonesian island of Flores and is known only by a few fragmented remains

"It's weird in science that you get to answer a question and you get a definitive answer and it's the end," said Richard Green, a geneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-author of the study. .

"The answer is a not clear enough to have finished with this."

The discovery gives credence to the concept that small islands drive evolution at an accelerated pace, and animals adapt to fill ecological niches that remain unfilled in isolated microcosms of the world.

Dr. Green said: "My colleague, Professor Peter Visscher, identified the genetic variants that determine the short stature of the pygmies, and discovered that they are the same that also exist in other modern humans.

"Together, the evidence makes it unlikely that the pygmies derive in any way from the Hobbits."

Humans are not the only species of mammal that shrinks on the island, since the remains of small elephants now extinct have been found on the island.

They also descended from higher ancestors and independently developed a smaller body size.

The skull is low, wider around the level of the ears; and has a sloping front

The skull is low, wider around the level of the ears; and has a sloping front

But there is evidence that primitive people had well-developed frontal lobes, the part of the brain associated with more complex human behaviors

But there is evidence that primitive people had well-developed frontal lobes, the part of the brain associated with more complex human behaviors

The shape of the skull suggested that small people had small brains and that they might not be as smart as other Hominid species.

HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN THE HOBBITS HAVE BEEN EVOLVED?

An artist used information from fossil remains to create a detailed 3D reconstruction of a man from Flores

An artist used information from fossil remains to create a detailed 3D reconstruction of a man from Flores

The researchers finally discovered that the small inhabitants of the islands evolved from one of the first species of humans more than 1.75 million years ago.

The researchers finally discovered that the small inhabitants of the islands evolved from one of the first species of humans more than 1.75 million years ago.

An artist used information from fossil remains to create a detailed 3D reconstruction of a Flores woman

The researchers finally discovered that the small inhabitants of the islands evolved from one of the first species of humans more than 1.75 million years ago.

Where previous research had focused mainly on the skull and lower jaw, this study used 133 data points that span the entire skull, jaws, teeth, arms, legs, and shoulders.

The researchers found that many parts of the body indicated that Homo floresiensis was more primitive than previously thought.

The findings cast doubt on the widely accepted assumption that islanders evolved from Homo erectus, a more modern species of human being. Dr. Debbie Argue, from the National University of Australia, spoke through these body parts with MailOnline.

Arms and legs: "It has relatively short legs that make the arms look long," he said.

"Not as much as, say, a chimpanzee, but out of reach of modern humans."

Feet: "He has long feet compared to the length of his legs," said Dr. Argue.

"Although they were beings so short and one meter tall."

& # 39; Again, this is out of the range we see in modern humans & # 39;

Back: "Your shoulders shrug and look forward," he said.

Skull: Dr. Argue said: "The skull is low, wider around the level of the ears, and has a sloping forehead.

It has a mound of bone in the area of ​​the eyebrows that extends around the outside of the eye area.

& # 39; Does not have a chin. Instead, the jaw is tilted back.

Pelvis: "The pelvis is like that of Australopithecus afarensis," he said. A. afarensis is a human ape that lived 3.9 million years ago.

Bones of Flores man's leg. The species had short legs and long arms, a common feature of early humans and modern apes such as the chimpanzee

Bones of Flores man's leg. The species had short legs and long arms, a common feature of early humans and modern apes such as the chimpanzee

Bones of Flores man's leg. The species had short legs and long arms, a common feature of early humans and modern apes such as the chimpanzee

A profile view of the Flores woman. We are no closer to understanding why the people of the island, who lived in Flores for more than a million years, suddenly became extinct.

A profile view of the Flores woman. We are no closer to understanding why the people of the island, who lived in Flores for more than a million years, suddenly became extinct.

A profile view of the Flores woman. We are no closer to understanding why the people of the island, who lived in Flores for more than a million years, suddenly became extinct.

Standing alone on the shoulder of an average person, the reason why Flores causes population decline remains unknown.

One of the main hypotheses for the evolution of the pygmy body type is the shortage of food. A smaller body requires fewer calories and can offer a survival advantage.

Dr. Green said: "If the circumstances are right, natural selection can act on the inherited variation to create a small body population in a short period of time.

"Whatever the ecological factors for the dwarfing of the islands, they are present in abundance on this island.

& # 39; That's what makes it so fascinating & # 39;

The phenomenon of convergent evolution is not exclusive to Flores, since there are examples of it scattered all over the world.

Madagascar is one of the most intriguing examples, as it remained intact and isolated for centuries, allowing an evolutionary path to make its way completely independent of any foreign species.

The animals live in Madagascar that look like hedgehogs, called tenrecs, both have pointed skin and behave similarly, but are genetically extremely different.

Shoulders on the shoulder of H. floresiensis. The species had sloping shoulders, a feature of our oldest human ancestors

Shoulders on the shoulder of H. floresiensis. The species had sloping shoulders, a feature of our oldest human ancestors

Shoulders on the shoulder of H. floresiensis. The species had sloping shoulders, a feature of our oldest human ancestors

An artist used features of the skull to recreate the face of a Flores woman. The artist first estimated the muscle junction points and then used the software to add a layer of skin

An artist used features of the skull to recreate the face of a Flores woman. The artist first estimated the muscle junction points and then used the software to add a layer of skin

An artist used features of the skull to recreate the face of a Flores woman. The artist first estimated the muscle junction points and then used the software to add a layer of skin

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