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

  • Off-season vacation destinations

    The 10 best off-season vacation deals in the world

    Summer and winter tend to hog all the glory when it comes to travel high seasons. Sure, you want to soak up all the time at the beach you can during the summer, and you just want to escape the cold during the last months of the year.

  • Best places for fall foliage

    The 16 best places to see fall foliage

    Who just wants to stand around and watch the red and gold leaves slowly fall from their tree branches to the ground as we move from summer to fall? Instead, take in the changing seasons while you're on the move.

  • 30 things you learn in your 30s

    30 things that will (probably) happen in your 30s

    In September, I'll turn 38. I'm at the age now where, when people ask how old I am, it takes me a minute to remember. I don't know if that's because I've already been 37 different ages and it's hard to keep straight which one I am now, or if it's because I'm in denial, or if it's because I am going senile. Maybe a combination of all of the above. Regardless, my 30s have flown by and soon they will be but a memory. So, in an effort to preserve the memory I have left (or at least keep a record of it), and to celebrate what has been an amazing decade so far, here are 30 things that have happened to me in my 30s (and will probably happen to you too):

  • Great travel tech gadgets

    The 8 best travel tech accessories for every trip

    Traveling doesn't have to be stressful. And what you can fit in your carry-on can make all the difference (and not just a fresh pair of socks), especially when you get that low battery signal.

  • The Science

    5 surprising ways to live longer

    Volunteering (and these other rituals) might be just as good as exercise when it comes to extending your life.

  • Don’t hit snooze

    7 cures for a case of the Mondays

    Use these tricks to set a better tone for the rest of the week.

  • King's Night: Amsterdam, Holland

    The 10 wildest celebrations in the world

    Whether it involves a food fight, mermaids or a torch-lit procession, people the world over know how to have a good time. Here are some of the biggest, boldest, booziest celebrations around, along with some tips to get the full experience.

  • green brain image (Courtesy of Newser)

    Scientists turn bad memories to happy ones

    Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders.

  • Cultura\Getty Images(Cultura\Getty Images)

    4 reasons journaling is good for you

    An entry a day might keep the doctor away (or at least the shrink).

  • Getty Images(Getty Images)

    Appreciating the Small Things in Life

    One woman's shout-outs to daily moments of joy — and how to cultivate them.

  • Woman jogging (Photo: Huffington Post)
  • Getty Images // Magazine

    Little ways to feel healthier and happier

    Our best health and fitness tips including the one move that tones all, berry news, and more.

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