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Or is the hobbit the sole testament to a previously unrecognized branch of the human family tree?
If so, how did it end up in Indonesia with virtually no evidence of comparable early hominids anywhere between there and Africa, the root of the family tree?
So who made the mysterious stone tools three-quarters of a million years old?
To figure out the identity of the ancient toolmakers, Morwood and his colleagues needed more evidence.
While searching for fossils, a team of Dutch and Indonesian scientists uncovered puzzling artifacts.
The hobbit was an adult female no larger than a three-year-old child, with a skull less than one-third the size of a modern human's. But only now, five years later, are researchers beginning to make sense of this archeological oddity, dubbed Homo floresiensis.
Definitive proof of its place in the human lineage awaits future finds, especially DNA evidence, but the implications of the work so far are intriguing and quite possibly revolutionary.
But is the hobbit an anomaly, a modern human whose small stature and unusual features are the result of disease?
Or could its size result from the "island effect" that often causes large creatures to evolve to be small and vice versa—witness Flores's extinct pygmy elephant and still surviving giant lizard, the Komodo dragon?