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Scientists Reveal Face of Hobbit

Dec 11, 2012 06:09 AM EST
The path Dr Hayes took to reach her facial approximation of the ‘Hobbit’.
(Photo : University of Wollongong)

An Australian scientist has reconstructed the face of an ancient human species popularly known as the "Hobbit."

Hobbit, officially called Homo floresiensis, was first found in Liang Bua cave, in the Indonesian island of Flores, in 2003. Scientists uncovered the skeleton of the human species that lived some 18,000 years ago.

The skeleton belonged to a 30-year-old female who was just 3.3 feet tall and weighed around 55 pounds, according to National Geographic.

Every since its discovery, the mysterious ancient human specimen has not been spared from controversies.

Some scientists have argued that the hobbit belongs to a new species, while others have insisted that the specimen belonged to an ancient human with microcephalia. Microcephaly is a neurodevelopmental disorder where the brain size is smaller than the average size of the human brain of the same age and sex. 

Anthropologist Susan Hayes, a senior research fellow at University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, reconstructed the female's skeleton and fleshed out her face by moulding muscle tissues and fat around the face of a model replicating the hobbit's skull. The final results showed that the young woman had high cheekbones, long ears and a broad nose, reports The Conversation.

"She's not what you'd call pretty, but she is definitely distinctive," Dr Hayes said in a statement.

Hayes described how difficult it was to work on an archaic hominin, but expressed happiness with the end results.  

"She's taken me a bit longer than I'd anticipated, has caused more than a few headaches along the way, but I'm pleased with both the methodological development and the final results," Hayes said.

The face of the hobbit has been unveiled as one of the features of the Australian Archaeological (AAA) Conference being held by the University of Wollongong from Dec. 9-13.

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