Loading...
The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

Hobbits found outside of Middle Earth?

A not-quite-human face from 17,000 years ago.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 12, 2012 6:29PM

It’s probably unlikely that Elijah Woods, star of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, would ever win a “sexiest man of the year” award. Especially against, say, Clooney or Beckham or Gosling. But 17,000 years ago, Elijah might have had a fighting chance.

Photo: Courtesy of Dr Susan Hayes, University of WollongongThat’s because the voters might have been humanoids who were just barely removed from Hobbits, at least physically. So suggests the work of Dr. Susan Hayes, a facial anthropologist at Australia’s University of Wollongong. Hayes recently spent eight months reconstructing the face of a species known as Homo floresiensis working with nothing more than a skull. Her completed project shows that some of our distant forebears might have resembled Frodo and Bilbo Baggins more than they resembled you and me.

More on MSN Living: Break the rules for a better romance

Dr. Hayes used CT scan data and 3D imaging taken of a female Homo floresiensis skull estimated to be 17,000 years old. She then employed her own 2D skills to craft an image that fit the creature’s anatomical features and bone structure. Specifically, her work incorporated highlighting areas where she determined fat and muscle would have been evident. This differed significantly from previous renderings that tended to simply drop a monkey-like face on such hominids. After meticulous detailing, Hayes developed an image that looks very Hobbit-like — so much so that researchers are calling it the Flores Hobbit, named for the location in Flores, Indonesia, where the skull was found in 2003.

More on MSN Living: World's greatest body shapers

Admitting that her female subject is “not very pretty,” Hayes’ image shows an individual with high cheekbones, a very small forehead, a broad nose, and long ears. Add to that the rest of the creature’s attributes — roughly a meter tall, weighing about 70 pounds, and perhaps 30 years old — and you have the description of any number of residents of Middle Earth.

However, scientists aren’t sure yet where this Hobbit fits in with our real Earth chain of ancestors. While Homo floresiensis does look to be a distinct species rather than some Neanderthal mutant, there’s no consensus as to whether it’s an offshoot of homo erectus or perhaps a distinct but not-so-closely-related cousin. That will come with more research. For now, we’ll have to be content with the knowledge that it’s kind of, sort of, almost quaintly human. Like Elijah Wood.

Photo: Courtesy of Dr Susan Hayes, University of Wollongong

Bing: Watch The Hobbit trailer.

More from MSN Living:
Instant classic: Pinup suits
10 ways to feel good every day
What your engagement ring says about you

Subscribe to the Daily Dose

0Comments

inspire: live a better life

  • Getty Images

    One hour a week is all you need to get more stuff done

    Take this advice to finally tackle that nagging to-do list.

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel at his desk John Bryson Time Life Pictures Getty Images // Theodor Seuss Geisel at his desk John Bryson Time Life Pictures Getty Images (Theodor Seuss Geisel at his desk John Bryson Time Life Pictures Getty Images)

    Search: Celebrating Doctor Seuss

    The iconic storyteller would have been 110-years-old

  • Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister

    Women who inspire us

    Take the time to appreciate women’s contributions to society. Here are some of the women who inspire us by their example.

  • Florence Henderson, Christopher Knight, Barry Williams & Maureen McCormick // Florence Henderson, Christopher Knight, Barry Williams & Maureen McCormick (Florence Henderson, Christopher Knight, Barry Williams & Maureen McCormick)

    Search: 'Brady Bunch' reunion

    Cast of the iconic TV show reunites for Florence Henderson's birthday

  • Inspiring Olympic Moment: Madge Syers Competes With the Men

    The most inspiring Olympic moments for women

    We couldn’t be more excited to watch the best athletes in the world compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This year, about 44 percent of the competitors are women according to the International Olympic Committee—which is awesome but wasn’t always the case. Let’s look back at some of the amazing women who paved the way with incredible, memorable feats of girl power.

  • Tino Tedaldi\Getty Images

    Smart, easy ways to earn extra money

    Still pulling yourself out of holiday credit card debt? Ready to pool some funds for that beach vacation you've been dreaming about at your desk? We're with you 100 percent.

Loading...
about rich maloof
Loading...
buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
inspire videos
editor's picks
Loading...