Hobbits Of The South Pacific

Why the discovery of a 3-ft.-tall dragon slayer is rewriting human history

Local folktales on the Indonesian island of Flores, some 350 miles west of Bali, tell of a race of shy little people--South Seas leprechauns who inhabited the limestone caves that dot the island, accepting gourds full of food that the Floresians would set out for them. It wasn't until Dutch traders arrived in the 1500s, according to the legends, that the diminutive race finally disappeared.

Western scientists have long dismissed these stories as pure fancy, but now they are having second thoughts. In a report that rocked the world of paleoanthropology last week, a team of Australian and Indonesian scientists announced...

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