Ancestors of the mysterious extinct human lineage nicknamed “hobbits” may have been discovered, a new study finds. The newfound individuals may have been even littler than the hobbits, and date much further back in time (from some 700,000 years ago), scientists added. This suggests these ancestors may have shrunk rapidly after reaching the islands where the hobbits lived, the scientists said. Those islands include Flores, where the hobbit remains were originally found.

“These are priceless treasures that provide the first real insight into the evolutionary history of the mysterious ‘hobbits’ of Flores,” said Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, and co-lead author of one of two studies on the new finding published in the June 9 issue of the journal Nature. READ MORE