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It sounds too incredible to be true, but this is not a hoax. A species of tiny human has been discovered, which lived on the remote Indonesian island of Flores just 18,000 years ago.

Researchers have unearthed remains from individuals who were just one metre tall, with grapefruit-sized skulls. These astonishing little people, nicknamed 'hobbits', made tools, hunted tiny elephants and lived at the same time as modern humans who were colonizing the area.

Nature news tells the story of a find that changes the world of palaeoanthropology, and challenges our perception of what it means to be human.

Little lady of Flores forces rethink of human evolution
Dwarf hominid lived in Indonesia just 18,000 years ago.
27 October 2004
The Flores find
Peter Brown, who led the analysis, and Mike Morwood, who directed the Flores dig, give their reflections.
27 October 2004
Flores, God and cryptozoology
The discovery raises hopes for yeti hunters and, says Henry Gee, poses thorny questions about the uniqueness of Homo sapiens.
27 October 2004
A stranger from Flores
When a new fossil is found it is often claimed that it will rewrite the anthropological textbooks. For once, the claim is fully justified.
27 October 2004
Human evolution writ small
We are the only living species of the genus Homo. But it seems we coexisted with another species until much more recently than we thought.
27 October 2004
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More evidence for hobbit unearthed as diggers are refused access to cave
Nine Homo floresiensis individuals shore up their status as a new species of human.
11 October 2005
Early man left trail of lice
Our ancestors may have caught nits from their primitive cousins.
5 October 2005
Palaeoanthropology: Looking for the ancestors
The scientists who discovered a new species of human in Indonesia last year are now back, looking for the bones that will flesh out their theories. Rex Dalton joins them.
23 March 2005
Critics silenced by scans of hobbit skull
Comparisons with pygmies and chimps bolster new species claim.
3 March 2005
Fossil finders in tug of war over analysis of hobbit bones
Famous Indonesian skeletons given back to original discovery team.
2 March 2005


Travellers' tales
Discover the stories behind the many weird and wonderful finds made in Asia and the Pacific islands.

Could the 'hobbits' have inspired the mythical tales often told by Flores natives? And did Flores Man have language? Find out from Nature's Henry Gee.

Homo evolutionary tree
full size

Comparison of Homo skull and skeleton size
full size
Original research
A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia
Brown, P. et al. Nature 431, 1055-1061 (2004).
Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores in eastern Indonesia
Morwood, M. J. et al. Nature 431, 1087-1091 (2004).
For more research papers, see Nature's web focus.
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