Hobbits did walk the earth: a group of paleo-anthropologists discovered definitive proof of human species resembling the hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."
Recent discoveries do not confirm Tolkien's myth, though. The hobbits are technically classified as homo floresiensis, hominids that co-existed with the homo sapiens 70,000 years ago. The moniker still fits the description, because these hobbits were three feet tall and weighed 70 pounds. Environment apparently factored into their physiology.
Surviving On Meager Resources
The remains were retrieved off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, on an island called Flores. Scientists describe their home as small and desolate, with just enough food to get by. Adam Brumm, an archaeologist with Australia's Griffith University said "clearly there was enough food to survive for a long period of time. But not enough to flourish."
The conditions on the island forced its first dwellers to adapt over time, developing smaller bodies that survive with minimal resources. Other traits that complement the environment were also passed along the generations.
Flores' Dwellers Came From The Mainland
A PRI report speculates homo floresiensis evolved from homo erectus that either reached the island by boat, or were washed ashore by some natural catastrophe. Brumm said the second theory is likely, since boats are concepts well beyond the cognitive abilities of early humans.
It's possible the hobbits were swept onto the island as castaways of a tsunami originating from the mainland. Brumm said this could be confirmed with an excavation at Sulawesi, an island 400 meters north of Flores.
The Christian Science Monitor confirms these hobbits knew how to use tools and create fire. Their prey: dwarf elephants the size of buffalo. It's yet to be confirmed if they killed these elephants for food, since bone fragments discovered didn't show tool marks. It's likely, though, considering the island's meager resources.
"There's a lot of meat and fat on those bones," Brumm said. "You can get enough meat to keep God knows how many barbecues going without ever making contact with the bones."