More on the tiny humans who lived in Idonesia

Here are a few notes about my favorite story of the year – the discovery of a race of tiny, tool-making people with heads the size of grapefruits.

Many kind readers emailed me to tell me that these wee folk are not our "ancestors," as much as I wish that they were. Here's one email I received, from a gentleman named Dustin

I saw your Boing Boing post earlier on the tiny Indonesian hominids, and
have a small
quibble: the headline says "human ancestor" but these creatures, though
apparently related to us, are not ancestors. If they existed 13,000 years
ago, they'd have co-existed with modern Homo sapiens for at least 15-20,000
years, and with archaic H. sapiens for the 60-190,000 years before that. If
anything, they're more like second cousins or something.

My friend Jenn Shreve forwarded an email from Marc Herman, who is writing a book on Indonesia:

comparison_thumbI just read your friend Mark's posting on boing boing about the skeleton of the tiny people of indonesia. As it happens, I met one of the anthropologists in on this discovery several months ago at an airport in Indonesia. She was *bursting* to tell someone about it, so after I promised not to report anything, she went on and on about the discovery. It was an excellent way to kill a layover. But the really cool part, which you really should tell Mark, is that these tiny people were recent enough that they likely coexisted with humans who could tell stories; there are, to this day, myths among people in that part of Indonesia of distant human ancestors who had tiny, somewhat stupid tiny friends who lived in caves. There are also many remnants of tiny elephants on Flores island. It appears increasingly likely that this particular island, which is east of Bali, was isolated from predators, so over thousands of years everything that didn't need to defend itself became smaller and smaller, until it became the land of the tiny things. Normal sized people lived amongst all the tinyness. This is real. This actually happened.


There's a lot of good stuff about the tiny people at Link