(ORDO NEWS) — According to the anthropologist, an ancient man may be hiding here.
In 2003, on the Indonesian island of Flores, archaeologists were looking for evidence of the migration of modern humans from Asia to Australia when they came across a small, nearly complete skeleton of an extinct human species that became known as Homo floresiensis.
In honor of the little creatures from J.R.R. Tolkien called this species a hobbit.
The species was originally thought to have survived relatively recently, around 12,000 years ago, but further analysis has pushed this date back by about 50,000 years.
A retired professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta believes the evidence for the continued existence of the species may have been overlooked, and the hobbit may still be alive today, or at least be remembered by the living.
In an article for Scientist magazine promoting his forthcoming book Between Ape and Man, Gregory Fort argues that palaeontologists and other scientists have overlooked local lore and tales of a “man-ape” living in the forests of Flores.
“My goal in writing the book was to find rational and empirically validated facts about Leo’s existence,” Fort wrote in the article.
“These include reports of sightings from more than 30 eyewitnesses with whom I personally spoke.
And I came to the conclusion that the best way to explain what they told me is that the non-sapiens hominin has survived on Flores up to the present or has disappeared very recently.”
He writes that the folk mythology of the Lio people who inhabit the island contains stories of humans changing into animals as they move and adapt to new environments, which he compares to the inheritance of acquired physical characteristics.
The Lyo identify these creatures as animals without the complex language or technology that humans possess. However, their resemblance to humans is noted.
“To Leo, the appearance of the ape-man appears anomalous and therefore problematic and unsettling,” Force wrote.
At the moment, scientists believe that the species H. floresiensis lived 50,000 years ago. But Fort insists that indigenous knowledge should be included in the study of hominin evolution.
“I suspect that we instinctively consider the existence of the Flores ape people to be entirely fictional.
But, taking seriously what the people of Lio say, I did not find good reasons to take it the same way, ”he concludes.
“What they say about these creatures, including other evidence, is completely consistent with the surviving species of hominins or the one that has become extinct in the last 100 years.”
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