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First facial reconstruction of the Indonesian 'Hobbit' unveiled

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Hobbit skull University of Wollongong
Hobbit skull University of Wollongong

Scientists at this week's Australian Archaeological Conference have unveiled the face of Homo floresiensis — more commonly referred to as the 'Hobbit' — for the first time. Specialist facial anthropologist Dr. Susan Hayes used forensic facial approximation techniques to build out a female skull specimen discovered in 2003 in Flores, Indonesia. Other bones have been found since, revealing that these Hobbits were only about three and a half feet tall — just like the creatures of J.R.R. Tolkien lore that will hit the big screen later this week. Homo floresiensis populated the island of Flores between 95,000 and 17,000 years ago, but it's not yet clear where the species falls within the human evolutionary tree. Although she's pleased with the final results, Hayes says that the reconstruction was far from easy — "she's not what you'd call pretty, but she is definitely distinctive."