A new evidence-based image of the tiny hobbit species – known officially as Homo floresiensis.SHE’S not what you’d call a classic beauty. Her chin is non-existent and her forehead less than flattering. But a new evidence-based image of the tiny hobbit species – known officially as Homo floresiensis – is about scientific accuracy, not aesthetics.
Released on Monday, the 2D image was created by facial anthropologist Susan Hayes from the University of Wollongong.
“She’s not pretty,” Dr Hayes said after working on the project for eight months. “She doesn’t have those hyper-feminine features such as big eyes; there isn’t much of a forehead.”
With a background in forensic science, Dr Hayes created the image using high-resolution 3D imaging and CT scan data obtained from a female hobbit skull that dates back about 17,000 years.
The information was loaded into a computer graphic program, which allowed Dr Hayes to reconstruct the skull. The face and its features were then added, based on the skull’s structural attributes.
“Compared to other archaic hominins, there was a remarkable amount of information there,” she said.
Dr Hayes also analysed existing portraits by other palaeo-artists. She said the earlier depictions were largely dominated by monkey features, whereas her findings suggested modern anatomical features were more appropriate.
“As a Homo floresiensis she is closer to us than to a chimpanzee, which is our closest relative,” Dr Hayes said. “She is certainly more us than them.”
The remains of Homo floresiensis were unearthed by Professor Mike Morwood and the Liang Bua archaeological team in Flores, Indonesia, in 2003.
Dr Hayes said the task was an extraordinary challenge.
“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,” Dr Hayes said.
Homo floresiensis lived on the Indonesian island of Flores until about 17,000 years ago. Nicknamed hobbits because of their diminutive size – at less than a metre tall – remains of at least 13 members of the species were unearthed between 2001 and 2004.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.