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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsI think some of the most intriguing unanswered questions are, when actually did the hobbit finally disappear? Why did the hobbit finally disappear? We still don't have concrete answers to that. We have some interesting conjectures, some interesting speculation, but we still need to find hard evidence of why the hobbit finally went extinct. We may not find that answer only at Liang Bua. We might need to find other caves on the island to answer that, because each site only preserves part of the record. We need to look and work out where else on the island the hobbit might have survived. Maybe it survived later in other parts. We still don't know the evolutionary history of the hobbit really well.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsThere's lots to be learned in the back story to the hobbit. But my particular interests are on the interaction side of things. How did our species interact with the hobbits given the fact that we now know the modern humans were migrating through Southeast Asia on their way to Australia at the same time that the hobbit were going extinct on Flores? That strikes me as one coincidence too many, but we've yet to find the hard evidence to prove there was any interaction between those two species, and if there was interaction, what nature it might have been.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 secondsAnd so I think there are lots of intriguing questions still that have yet to be answered, and they're going to take us over the next few years.

Unanswered Questions

There are more unanswered questions than answered questions…

“We know that we’re missing way more than what we have. There’s always a lot more that we don’t know than what we do know” (Prof. Bert Roberts, geochronologist).

Some unanswered questions include:

  • Where did Homo floresiensis come from exactly?
  • Where did the common ancestor that we share with Homo floresiensis live?
  • When did populations of that ancestor leave Africa and ultimately lead to Homo floresiensis?
  • When did the ancestors of Homo floresiensis arrive on Flores, and how did they get there?
  • When did Homo floresiensis finally disappear on Flores (and possibly elsewhere)?
  • Why did Homo floresiensis finally disappear?
  • What is the evolutionary history of Homo floresiensis?
  • Did our species interact with hobbits, and, if so, how?
  • Is there a link between the arrival of modern humans at Liang Bua and the extinction of Homo floresiensis?

Are there other unanswered questions to add to this list?

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This video is from the free online course:

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

University of Wollongong

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Why Uncover the Past?
    Why Uncover the Past?
    video

    Professor Bert Roberts explains how modern archaeological science helps us trace out the human story and piece together the human family tree.

  • Excavations at Liang Bua
    Excavations at Liang Bua
    video

    The discovery of Homo floresiensis and ensuing excavations at Liang Bua

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