Wild Fact #717 – The Great Debate – Flores Man

Artists Rendering of the Flores Man

Tonight I decided that there will definitely be more extinct animals on Wild Facts in the coming months.  There are just way too many cool and interesting animals that roamed this earth for me to simply ignore.  I am really having a tough time choosing only one extinct animal to write about each night.  In an attempt to be different we are going to look at the Flores Man (Homo floresiensis) today.  Trust me, there are a lot of bizarre animals out there but I thought it would be fun to write about one of our potential ancestors.

You may have heard of the Flores Man since they managed to get quite a few headlines back in 2003 when their remains were discovered on the Island of Flores in Indonesia.  The nickname for the Flores Man will instantly help you identify their key characteristics.  These early ancestors are often called “Hobbits”.  Since Lord of the Rings cleaned up at the box office, I will assume that many of my readers know this term.  As this nickname suggests the Flores Man is basically a mini human. They had tiny heads and were only about 1 m (3 ft) tall.

Comparison of Flores Man Skull and Human Skull

There is quite a bit of controversy over these short human-like species.  For instance are they actually a separate species than present day humans or are they just humans that had a medical condition causing their small stature.  The arguments continue to go back and forth. I don’t believe we have decided that they are indeed a separate species but I like to think they are.  Some strong points for that argument came about after observing the Flores Man bones and joints.  It was discovered that their wrist bones were more similar to that of a chimpanzee while their shoulders, arm joints and lower limbs were more closely related to apes rather than humans. Put all of that together and it sounds like they just might be a separate species.

Even more amazing than finding a miniature human is the fact that the Hobbits were alive up to 12000 years ago and were capable of using tools.  It is amazing to think that humans would have interacted with this other species.  It makes you wonder if they co-existed or were at odds with one another.  We will probably never know what the interaction between the Hobbits and Humans was like but at least we have s0mething cool to ponder.  I just hope we weren’t the cause of their extinction but you never know, right?

Since today’s Wild Fact wasn’t really that bizarre I will be sure to end the week with an unique and fascinating animal.  Have a great day!

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