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Who were our ancestors? A sneak preview of a new course about ‘the Hobbit’

In this post, Alyce Shepherd from the University of Wollongong, shares some exciting details about new course: Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of 'the Hobbit'.

In this post, Alyce Shepherd from the University of Wollongong, shares some exciting details about new course: Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’.


What makes you, you, is as much about the ancestry written in your genes as it is about you as a person. Human evolution is an eternally fascinating topic regarding the story of our species that is written deep back through time. We are interested in who our parents and grandparents are and if we keep tracing back, we are all related to each other somewhere in the distant past. But how did it all take place? How did it all map out? And why did it follow that particular path?

In 2003 a team of archaeologists set out into Indonesia with to try and answer some of these questions by looking for the earliest members of the human species in Australia. They ended up finding a lot more than they expected. In fact, they found the ‘hobbit’, an unusual extinct ancient species of early human. As leader educator and archaeologist – the internationally renowned Professor Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts says…

“That’s the beautiful thing about scientific discovery in the real world… you get these serendipitous discoveries. You’re not looking for it, and it pops up. And it leads you in whole new directions. Suddenly, here’s a new species who we would have been around on the planet the same time as… and a distinctively different one from us” 

–Prof. Bert Roberts

Discovered in Liang Bua – a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores – this species raised all sorts of questions and had major implications for not just archaeology but the wider world.

In this sneak preview from the first week Professor Roberts shares a bit more about this remarkable discovery.

If you want to know more about our human evolution, archaeology, and the mystery of the Hobbit join us on Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’ it’s completely free and starts next month.

If you can’t wait until the course starts, there a few other things you can look at before then. The latest findings regarding Homo floresiensis were reported on Thursday 9th June in the journal Nature. Hot off the press you can also view the following media releases about remarkable new finds that shed light on “hobbit” ancestry and human evolution:

Remarkable new finds are clues to ‘hobbit’ ancestry

Fossils provide clues to ancestry of Flores ‘hobbits’

A 700,000 ‘hobbit’ found in Indonesia could indicate evolutionary reversal

New evidence pushes back time of disappearance of Indonesian ‘hobbits’

Join the free online course Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’ now.

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