Credit: Susan Hayes / Australian Archaeological Association
Reading aloud They are actually from the imagination of John Ronald R. Tolkien - and yet, in a sense, they really did exist: on the Indonesian island of Flores, once lived a human form that possessed characteristics as Tolkien attributed to his hobbits, who are now again fantasy enthusiasts to lure in the cinemas. The so-called Homo floresiensis was only about one meter tall and had disproportionately large feet? that brought the nickname to this mysterious relative of modern man? hobbit? on. At an archaeologist conference, an Australian anthropologist now has a computer model of the face of a hobbit woman? presented, whose remains were discovered in 2003. Susan Hayes of the Australian University of Wollongong specializes in the visualization of faces. She uses for her work techniques that serve in forensics in criminal cases of identification of human remains. In the case of the hobbits, computer tomographic images of an approximately 18, 000-year-old skull were used as a basis for the computer reconstruction of the facial features. That's how Hayes got the Hobbit Woman? restore a three-dimensional face, which you can now see at the? Australian Archaeological Association? s Conference? presented at the University of Wollongong.

Pretty she was not in our eyes

The unusual features of the little skull have made the process much more difficult, Hayes says: "This task has taken an unexpectedly long time and caused me some headaches." The scientist is now satisfied with the final result. The reconstruction that restricts the researcher? Approach? names, shows unusual, but clearly human traits. "Pretty she has not been in our eyes, but definitely distinctive, " says Hayes. The "hobbit woman"? According to the 3D images, we did not have typical feminine traits, such as big eyes and a rounded forehead. Of course, modern aesthetics was not a criterion in the reconstruction, but scientific accuracy, Hayes emphasizes.

The skeleton discovered on the island of Flores in 2003 was, according to current knowledge, a woman who lived about 18, 000 years ago. Her dentition indicates that she was around 30 years old at the time of her death. Concerning the classification of Homo floresiensis in the family tree of humans there were and still are differences of opinion among the anthropologists. Some assume that the finds come only from short-lived representatives of Homo sapiens. The unusually small brain and the squat body were due to a disease or deficiency symptoms, so the argument. Recent investigations, however, invalidated this suspicion. The prevailing view now is that the? Hobbits? actually acted in its own way. It probably came from Homo erectus. The phenomenon of so-called island dwarfing had probably caused these early humans on the island Flores to shrink. display

Here's a bit again? Tolkien?

However, there are also possible references to the "hobbits", which once again seem to lend them a touch of mystery and fantasy: locals from the island of Flores told Australian researcher Richard Roberts about the so-called "Ebu Gogo", the discovery of the fossils their ancestors allegedly still met. The name Ebu Gogo means "grandmother who eats everything". "The Ebu Gogo were tiny as small children, completely hairy except for the face and had long arms and a round drum belly. They were always mumbling in incomprehensible language, but babbling about what they were told, according to the stories. The last Ebu Gogo should therefore have been eradicated only at the beginning of the 19th century. However, these unusual traditions can not yet be linked scientifically with Homo floresiensis.

Presentation at the Australian Archaeological Association's Conference © wissenschaft.de - Martin Vieweg

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