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

  • 13 ways to improve your life this spring

    13 ways to improve your life this spring

    No one looks forward to washing windows or storing the ski gear or the other chores associated with spring-cleaning. But this annual ritual does not have to be a drag, if you approach it in a slightly different way. "You've been cooped up with this cave-like mentality all winter; now it's time to break free and play," says R.D. Chin, a feng shui architect and consultant in New York City. "It's time to follow the cycle of nature, get rid of the clutter, and free up your mind." Here's our idea of what a truly effective spring-cleaning can look like.

  •  David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images //  David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images ( David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Top Americans of all time named

    American presidents garner most votes over celebrities in a poll ranking the 100 most significant citizens.

  • The 10 coldest travel destinations on Earth

    The 10 coldest travel destinations on Earth

    Heading to a world-class beach town is always a safe bet for a great vacation, but if you want something that tests your limits, consider a more extreme spot. Here are 10 places around the world that require a winter coat year-round and offer spectacular glaciers, ice features, and the best snow anywhere.

  • 50 hidden gems in the US

    51 hidden gems in the US

    From the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. boasts world-famous national parks, historical sites and landmarks. Beyond the well-known locations, there's a wealth of undiscovered destinations stretching from coast to coast worth visiting. From scenic sand dunes to wild mountains, here's 51 places within America that you've probably never heard of.

  • Hudson Bay has old earth rocks

    10 interesting facts about the Earth

    How much do you really know about the Earth? In honor of Earth Day, April 22, we explore some interesting and fun facts about the fifth-largest planet of our solar system.

  • stress and happiness

    Beat stress and boost happiness

    Most of the stuff we worry about never happens.

  • How to end an email

    You've written an email, and need to wrap it up. You could end with a simple "Sincerely," tack on your name, and then shoot it out the door, proving definitively that you suck at communication.

  • Go where few have gone

    Craziest places to visit on the planet

    Here are nine of the most extreme trips on the planet -- and the outfitters that take adventurers over the edge and back again.

  • 10 serious adventures anyone can conquer

    10 serious adventures anyone can conquer

    A true challenge is within your reach. All it takes is a few months to get in shape and a few days off work.

  • How to set a world record

    How to set a world record

    Think you got what it takes to be included in the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records? We consult one of the judges to help you on your quest.

  • User-friendly home automation

    8 ways to smarten up your home

    Just a few years ago, the term "home automation" meant a bunch of blinking lights and a headache. But thanks to simpler interfaces and the rise of smartphones, new tech can transform your house into a safer, more comfortable, less wasteful place.

  • The 13 most annoying people on the airplane

    The 13 most annoying people on the airplane

    If you're like most people, flying around in a big metal tube in the sky isn't your idea of a fun time. From the terrible food to the cramped space, flying can be a miserable experience. Don't make the flight even more soul-sucking by breaking airplane etiquette. We've compiled a list of the worst-inflight offenders. by Rebecca Pattee

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