top of page

The Hobbits of the Island of Flores

It's true. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote about a race that existed nearly eighteen-thousand-years ago. But did Tolkien know he wrote about a people that actually existed, their attributes similar to his famous hobbits? I highly doubt it.

In 2004, Australian archaeologists found a peculiar find in a cave on the island of Flores. Digging deep into the soil, they came upon a skeleton they thought could be a child. Upon further inspection and years of forensic study on the small skeleton—plus analysis of eleven other skeletons they found nearby—the teeth, the cranial sutures, and the bone structure showed these were adults.

Yet, how alike were these hobbit-like beings to Tolkien’s hobbits? Here we go down a bit of a rabbit hole.

The natives of the island of Flores spoke of fairy folks that lived on that island. These hobbit-like Beings would come from deep in the jungle and steal from the locals. They had long feet, short legs, looked human, their heads symmetrical to their body size, and all no taller than the average five-year-old child; a smidge over a meter.

Credit: AFP

The Naga people—the natives of Flores—called these small people, the Ebu Gogo. Naga folklore described the Ebu Gogo as able walkers that could run extremely fast. They murmured in their own language and repeated Naga words and speech in a parrot-like fashion. They tended to kidnap the native Naga children, hoping to learn from them how to cook.

According to legend, in the 18th century, Naga villagers gifted palm fiber to the Ebu Gogo to make clothes. Following the Ebu Gogo to their caves, the villagers threw firebrand to set the cave and the Ebu Gogo alight, killing all the occupants except a pair of Ebu Gogo, who fled, disappearing into the depths of the jungle.

But, again, could that just be a legend or is there some truth behind the Naga's stories? To find out, we slip deeper into the archaeological discovery.

In archaeology speak, the Ebu Gogo's classified name is Homo floresiensis. Upon unearthing these bones, the archaeologists found tools, hunting weapons, plant grounding utensils, burned pigmy elephant bones, komodo dragon bones, and many other interesting artifacts.

Other than being the most drastic human beings ever found and the smallest human species on record, they still didn't know if they could associate their slight stature to a medical condition. And many archeologists around the world believed that was the case. And that these humans were simply small humans with a rare disease that prevented normal growth. However, years and years of further examination proved otherwise. No such disease presented itself.

A hobbit-sized species existed.

Furthermore, the brain cavities were completely different than modern humans, along with the skulls' shapes and their thorax. Paleoanthropological evidence and scientists say this is a brand new flavor of human. With this find comes another sophisticated issue. Their brains a third of homo sapiens sapiens (yes, two sapiens in our species name as there was a species that died out long ago labeled homo sapiens), how could these small-brained people have sophisticated tools?

Well, digging deeper, they found that these brains were organized differently. Homo floresiensis brains could do more in a little space. This brought up an entirely new model of human intelligence. However, that's not what shocked the archeologists the most.

After dating these Home floresiensis bones, they concluded that they were no older than eighteen-thousand-years old. That meant they lived during Homo Sapiens Sapiens (our) existence. And since archaeologists know that modern humans have been in Flores for at least fifty-thousand years, it also meant that big people and little people shared that island for thirty-thousand years, bringing to light that by chance not all folk-lore or native legend are mere stories, and were/are in fact, true.

Yet, the native folklore claim these little people still exist, and with one American geologist who refuses to be named also claiming to spot some in a cave west of a Flores volcano, hobbit-like (Ebu Gogo) Beings may continue to inhabit Earth today. In that case, a few of Frodo's ancestors may still be alive.

Brandon Ellis

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page