1 Apr 2016

At www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institute/hobbits-disappeared-much-ea... ... after all the fuss over the Hobbit fossils has died down we now have a revised age for them - but courtesy of the journal Nature (March 2016). However, inclined to be a bit sceptical of turn arounds one cannot but help think the new dates suit the mainstream agenda - but is it contrived? Having said that the new evidence comes from a more detailed study of the sediment layers in the cave and it is more than likely the initial dates were wrong, and some of the team were involved in both studies.

Excavations on the Indonesia island of Flores has shown that Hobbits occupied Liang Bua cave between 190,000 and 50,000 years ago, rather than as recently as 12,000 years ago (always going to be contested). There is a layer cake of sediment inside the cave - but it appears to be unevenly distributed. It seems older layers had been eroded and gradually covered again by new sediments. These younger sediments are said to have confused the original dating efforts and scientists erroneously associated the fossil Hobbits with the new sediments.

It does sound very suspicious so we have to wait for a response from the initial group of scientists. However, it is easy to make mistakes in these circumstances so we should not jump to conclusions. The scientists themselves have to respond. On top of that the new study has included uranium dating of bones - and this methodology seems to support the new dates. In all probability the new dates are more or less correct and the Hobbits did not survive as late as 12,000 years ago. It was the dates that made this anthropological find unique. If an older date had been arrived at not so much fuss would have been made. So, we have a double sided ball - and heads the size of grapefruits. The new dates now appear to support the idea the Hobbits were a diminutive form of Homo Erectus and this is how the anthropologists will in all likelihood proceed. Those that want to trace the Hobbits to an older hominem (early form of humanity) have a bit of an uphill struggle. Likewise, those that see them as survivors into the near Holocene have only the theory of disease or subnormality as a reason (and that is probably the most unlikely).

You may be happy to know that some scientists, those obsessed with humans being responsible for the extinction of Ice Age mammals, are now thinking in terms of adding the Hobbits to the list of casualties. These people seem to have an inbuilt hostility to the human condition which brings us round to another link you might like to browse - http://phys.org/print378550933.html ... In this link some Japanese researchers, and a lone UK compatriot, have researched the into the Jomon people and come to the conclusion there is very little evidence of warfare or violence in their lifestyle - and a distinct lack of evidence of violence from the study of their bones (thousands of individuals were looked at). The paper is published in the Royal Society's 'Biology Letters' (march 2016) and covers the period 13,000 to 800BC. The evidence suggests humans might not be as predisposed to violent activity as maintained by other studies. The research also undermines the idea people formed themselves into groups and tribes as a result of violence - and competition for resources with neighouring groups.