The little folk of Flores

How a hobbit is rewriting the history of the human race

The discovery of the bones of tiny primitive people on an Indonesian island six years ago stunned scientists. Now, further research suggests that the little apemen, not Homo erectus, were the first to leave Africa and colonize other parts of the world.

According to a growing number of scientists, Homo floresiensis is probably a direct descendant of some of the first apemen to evolve on the African savannah three million years ago. These primitive hominids somehow travelled half a world from their probable birthplace in the Rift Valley to make their homes among the orangutans, giant turtles and rare birds of Indonesia before eventually reaching Flores.

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