New fossils push ‘hobbit’ story back to 700,000 years ago

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New York (AP) – Scientists say new fossil finds on an Indonesian island have revealed ancestors of the “hobbits,” our extinct, 3 ½ -foot-tall evolutionary cousins that gained fame more than a decade ago after their remains were found in a cave there.

The fossils are about 700,000 years old, extending the hobbit story far backward from the original remains, which date to just 50,000 years ago.

This 2015 picture provided by Kinez Riza shows a reconstruction model of Homo floresiensis by Atelier Elisabeth Daynes at Sangiran Museum and the Early Man Site. In a paper released Wednesday, June 8, 2016, researchers say newly-discovered teeth and a jaw fragment, which are about 700,000 years old, have revealed ancestors of Homo floresiensis, also known as “hobbits,” our extinct, 3 1/2-foot-tall evolutionary cousins. (Kinez Riza via AP)
This 2015 picture provided by Kinez Riza shows a reconstruction model of Homo floresiensis by Atelier Elisabeth Daynes at Sangiran Museum and the Early Man Site. In a paper released Wednesday, June 8, 2016, researchers say newly-discovered teeth and a jaw fragment, which are about 700,000 years old, have revealed ancestors of Homo floresiensis, also known as “hobbits,” our extinct, 3 1/2-foot-tall evolutionary cousins. (Kinez Riza via AP)

Scientists say the six isolated teeth and a jaw fragment come either from hobbits or a related species. The fossils were excavated in 2014 about 46 miles from the cave where the first hobbit remains were found.

The discovery is described in two papers released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Online:

Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature