Friday, November 12, 2004

Hobbits and Dinosaurs

James Kuchiner of Touchstone links to this article that notes the anthropologically interesting discovery of a race of small humans in Indonesia:

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a village of warrior hobbits. No more than three feet tall or so, they dwelled in caves and hunted down dragons and pygmy elephants with stone weaponry.

I was forced to rub my eyes, shake my head, and check once again that I was reading the Associated Press, and not a supermarket tabloid. But there it was, originally announced in Nature magazine and soon likewise plastered across the pages of newspapers and magazines around the world.

Archaeologists discovered the remains of these little people on the Indonesian island of Flores. They named them Homo floresiensis, but they were quickly nicknamed “Hobbits.” Scientists found remains of Komodo dragons and large rodents that had been cooked in cave fires. Scientists assure us that these little “hominids” died out about 13,000 years ago, and that they were descendents of Homo erectus, the alleged evolutionary ancestor of modern humans.

The author goes on to note that this discovery is more embarrassing to advocates of evolution than it is to defenders of the biblical account of human origins.

Kuchiner further comments:
This reminds of the NOVA program aired on PBS this week that reported the DNA evidence that the Objiway Indians of the Great Lakes region (sometimes called Chippewa) have genetic markers from European, in addition to Asian, populations. The European DNA is not from French trappers. Based on the rate that DNA/genetic markers develop, the European DNA came to North America about 15,000 years ago. That should set some anthropologists redrawing their maps and rewriting chapters in textbooks.

I object to the label of "Hobbits" because I do not like to mix fantasy with science, but I must admit that I am glad to find that folklore is once again vindicated against unwarranted skepticism. It is easy to dismiss stories of fairies and whatnot as ignorant wives tales. But sometimes those wives have a point.
(Note: Evidently the Mere Comments permalinks are still broken. Scroll down to the post titled TOLKIEN'S NON(SCIENCE)FICTION? on 11/12/04 at 1:27 PM)

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