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Old 10-27-2004, 05:28 PM   #1
Child of the 7th Age
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Thumbs up Headline News: We Have Hobbit Ancestors....

Sitting at home with the flu, I ran across this story, which gave me both a chuckle and a pause. It is from the folk at National Geographic.

Professor Tolkien got it right! According to the most recent scientific discovery, there are Hobbits in the homo sapiens family tree. These folk were given the nickname of "Hobbit" by the scientists who made the discovery: they describe the find as "one of the most spectacular discoveries in paleoanthropology in half a century. The Hobbits are cousins of ours, officially called Homo floresiensis . The scientists tell us that our three-foot cousins had heads about the size of a grapefruit and brains one-third the size of ours. They were native to Asia.

The scientists had a number of positive things to say about the Hobbit:

Quote:
"The hobbit was nobody's fool," Roberts said. "They survived alongside us [Homo sapiens] for at least 30,000 years, and we're not known for being very amiable eco-companions. And the hobbits were managing some extraordinary things—manufacturing sophisticated stone tools, hunting pygmy elephants, and crossing at least two water barriers to reach Flores from mainland Asia—with a brain only one-third the size of ours.

"Given that Homo floresiensis is the smallest human species ever discovered, they out-punch every known human intellectually, pound for pound."

So much for all you Elf fans who fail to give the Hobbits their due!

The species inhabited Flores as recently as 13,000 years ago, which means it would have lived at the same time as modern humans! So perhaps, in an age long ago, there was an ancient Aragorn who went on a quest with four Hobbit companions. We can always dream...
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Old 10-27-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
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Boots COol...

Hmm. i read national geo all the time. But, my lazy fat billyboy mail carrier always delivers them late... you know what i mean? Then sometimes, when it does come on time, it's not mine. so, then i have to give the mongurle someone's mail back, then wait a bloody week for my real mail. Ah. Cool that you found that.

For more hobbit brain tasties (Because i can guess, that like me, finding the mystery of hobbit relations is the meaning of life) Go to www.glyphweb.com/arda

Click on hobbits. Read ALL of it and you will come across the "Isle of Man" article. Well, it's more like a paragraph. But, it's intrigueing.
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:47 AM   #3
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
After finding out that a thread about this discovery has already been posted on the Mirth forum (Existence of Hobbits Discovered) Child asked me to delete or merge this thread. I have decided to leave it as is; since the Mirth thread is exploring the comical possibilities of the topic (do read Kransha's post there - it's hilarious!), this thread can stay open for serious responses and additional information.
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Old 10-28-2004, 05:01 AM   #4
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I saw this and was interested, yes. Apparently the legends of the locals were not as outlandish as was once presumed. But are there any of the 'Hobbits' still hiding in the deep places? Is this going to spark a wide-scale exploration?
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:33 AM   #5
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I would hope not. The interesting point is that not only did modern humans evolve alongside other human species rather than from them, but that it is unclear that there are not sub-species extant in the population still. Neanderthals were wiped out by our evolutionary success, but there is a possibility I read mooted that relatives of homo erectus might still be hanging around.

If anyone's ever been to Croydon, they'll probably know what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:51 AM   #6
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In a Radio 4 programme on Tolkien - 'Fired by the Ring' - a couple of years back Brian Sibley interviewed Philip Pullman, who reacted to Sibley's suggestion that one reason for the popularity of LotR was that it wasn't set on another planet, but in the ancient past of this planet by laughing his usual mocking laugh, & replying 'I'll believe that when someone digs up a fossilised hobbit!'

Well, who's laughing now, Mr Pullman?

(I think that proves not only what a rubbish writer Pullman is, but also what a sad excuse for a human being he is too.

Not that I have any animus towards the Tolkien-hating, archaeologically-ignorant jerk.)
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:28 AM   #7
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Boots Roll over Beethoven and tell Tolkien the news

I wouldn't think Croydon has any monopoly on such, Rim

Interesting, isn't it, that both the BBC news article and the National Geographic include a drawing of the Homo floresiensis. The drawing depicts a male, although the skeleton found was, apparently, female. (Shades of Lucy!) Apparently the male is still the defining standard of any species. Neanderthals indeed. * Umm , make that, Sapient indeed.

*apologies to the much maligned Neanderthalis
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:50 AM   #8
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Well, archaeologically-ignorant would be to strong an epithet, as just a week ago researchers themselves would laugh at anybody suggesting they would dig up a 'hobbit' in a weeks time

Else, I've been just busy sending the links to mentioned articles along good part of an hour. I have a NG channel too, let's see what they throw out on air in January

cheers
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:16 AM   #9
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Question

I was poking around and found some additional articles through a link that Mark12_30 provided down in Mirth. Take a look at this quotation that discusses the possibility that remnents of these folk may have survived much closer to our day....

Quote:
Bert Roberts, of the University of Wollongong, whose team carried out the dating, said there were a lot of detailed folk tales on Flores about little people.

"These stories suggest there may be more than a grain of truth to the idea that they were still living on Flores up until the Dutch arrived in the 1500s," Professor Roberts said. "The stories suggest they lived in caves. The villagers would leave gourds with food out for them to eat, but legend has it these were the guests from hell. They'd eat everything, including the gourds."
I guess Hobbits had big appetites, just as Tolkien said.

Actually, when I read this, my heart dropped down into my toes. The idea that there could be this much diversity on our earth in human memory is astounding to me: that little and big folk may actually have coexisted, with the big folk scarcely aware of the other's existence. That scenario sounds eerily like Tolkien:

Quote:
Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of 'the Big Folk', as they call us, and now they avoid us with dismay, and are becoming hard to find.
OK, I am going to raise an idea here that is probably preposturous. Yet I can't help wondering.... Many cultures have stories of little folk leading a secluded life alongside the big folk, but largely hidden from view. They are given many different names, but the idea is widespread.

Do we have some kind of a collective memory that taps into what happened in the distant past? Some kind of radar that could take a people that really existed and make them part of a folk memory? And is it possible that some people are better at this than others.....they are sensitive to these distant memories in a way that others are not? Could Tolkien be someone with a special gift: the gift of reconnecting with archetypes that once really existed in some form or fashion and make up part of our human past? Is this one of the things we sense when we read his works?

Two more points mentioned in other articles. One scientist speculates on why the human population on Flores might have tended to favor those who were small in size:

Quote:
On Flores the only predator was the komodo dragon and the tropical rainforest provided little food for people. "Under these conditions selection should favour the reduced energy requirements of smaller individuals," Professor Brown said.
Another suggests thereason why the small people probably died out about 12,000 years ago: they were killed by volcanic activity.

Quote:
A layer of volcanic ash above the skeletons, dated to about 12,000 years ago, suggests that volcanic activity led to the demise of the little people and the pygmy elephants they hunted, the Australian and Indonesian team says.
Shades of Mordor!
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:32 AM   #10
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Could Tolkien be someone with a special gift: the gift of reconnecting with archetypes that once really existed in some form or fashion and make up part of our human past? Is this one of the things we sense when we read his works?
A gift that he likely shared with Jonathan Swift?
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:40 AM   #11
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Jonathan Swift? Why not?

If such a collective memory exists, we all share in it. Only some are more adept than others.....
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:44 AM   #12
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A dose of cold water ...

Am I the only person here not surprised by this development? Given the diversity of life on our planet, it is hardly surprising that a miniature form of primitive human would evolve given the right environmental conditions.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:45 AM   #13
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If that 'collective memory' is in the form of our human mythologies, then yes I agree. There are many stories of differing human physiognomies from our past, and it is partly into these 'memories' that JRRT delved.

Edit: And SpM has made the point behind that which I posited.
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Old 10-28-2004, 12:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
Am I the only person here not surprised by this development? Given the diversity of life on our planet, it is hardly surprising that a miniature form of primitive human would evolve given the right environmental conditions.
I'm not surprised myself. Although, it's a delightful thing, altogether, this discovery.

Concerning the the "right environmental conditions," the finding occured in Asia...where short people live! Yay me. I've got Hobbits for ancestors, and the feet to prove it

Indonesia is SO near the Philippines and I would not be surprised if the same kind of species were found here . heh
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:33 PM   #15
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I'm joining Child's thread because she joined mine, and it's time to get serious...despite there being plenty on here which has already made me laugh!

Quote:
Do we have some kind of a collective memory that taps into what happened in the distant past?
This is something I've often thought about myself; I've read articles on this in the past and it does seem to make some sense to me. The human mind is unfathomable, and we do not know what constitutes memory and the subconscious. In addition to this, there are genes and DNA to bring into the equation. If genetic features from an ancestor several generations back can suddenly manifest in a child born today (and this does happen) then who can tell in what ways genes may affect our minds. Considering that the billions of people in the world are descended from just a few common ancestors, it is entirely possible that some kind of genetic memory is shared by all of us.

I'm not sure whether this is something we could ever 'tap' at will, but the correlation of myths between cultures spread around the globe suggests that there are genetic links we do not yet understand.

That was a good link, THE Ka (that's a website I do look at often), and there was a lot of interesting food for thought within the link. I grew up with stories of Boggarts and I'm fascinated by the mythical little creatures. My grandmother was a maid when she was young, and each night she used to leave a bucket by the well of the hall she worked at. Each morning it was full. She maintained that the Boggart had filled it. We always thought there were Boggarts in our own house, and the description I was given of them was rather like Gollum. They were supposed to particularly like the nooks above doors, dark corners, ginnels or cupboards. If you moved house, the Boggart might even come with you; not good if it was an unfriendly one . My auntie even had a horseshoe nailed above her door to keep the Boggarts from entering - some kind of offering?

No, the area I grew up in was not populated by delusionary people ( ), but these stories had been handed down the generations, and it was once an area cut off from the rest of the county, and where the Vikings took up residence, and there is little history written about the area, but there are plenty of folk tales. Similar tales exist in other areas, where the creatures may have different names; but whether these creatures were once real, if they were poltergeists, or just someone's tomfoolery, no-one really knows!
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Old 10-28-2004, 06:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
We always thought there were Boggarts in our own house, and the description I was given of them was rather like Gollum. They were supposed to particularly like the nooks above doors, dark corners, ginnels or cupboards.
Don't be silly! They were Borrowers.
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Old 10-28-2004, 06:43 PM   #17
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I saw the article too, and was so intrugued. A point about the myths and legends of the smaller race of people:
Remember in the Fellowship movie when Galadriel say " History became legend, legend became myth, and things that should not have been forgotten were lost."
I think that pertains to this topic very well, which is somewhat ironic.

anyways, that's my two cents


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Old 10-28-2004, 11:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
Am I the only person here not surprised by this development? Given the diversity of life on our planet, it is hardly surprising that a miniature form of primitive human would evolve given the right environmental conditions.
SpM -

What surprises me the most is not that three-foot humanoids existed on this planet but that we've actually managed to come up with some concrete evidence regarding their existence in the 21st century, and that I have instantaneous access to all the details on the internet so quickly.

As a child, I devoured every account of an archaeological or paleontological expedition that I could find. I was quite convinced that I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Carter and Schliemann or perhaps of Mary Leakey. Way before the internet, such accounts just weren't instantaneously available to members of the general public who did not have general access to research libraries. Gosh, I even remember when you couldn't get a subscription to National Geographic unless you had been "invited" to join. I remember pouring through back issues in the library since such things were a luxury in a working class home.

Plus, at that time, scientists had such a more limited view of the past and had less technology available to them. Carbon-14 dating for example, only came about in the late 1940s, and it took a while to perfect. If I had suggested that dinosaurs were warm blooded or that birds and dinosaurs were closely related on the evolutionary tree, most 'experts' would have keeled over laughing. And if I had argued the existence of a three-foot humanoid, I hate to think where I would have been dragged off to!

So I guess I do find such discoveries amazing in the context of how I've seen such things change in my own lifetime.

If Tolkien was alive today, I think he'd agree that we've both gained and lost something in our modern world. We've certainly gained improved techniques for doing such scientific research and the abilty to transmit new ideas very quickly over the face of the earth, hopefully acquiring a more accurate and rich perspective on where we come from. It's quite amazing.

Yet we've lost or are losing touch with other aspects of our past, aspects of who we actually are: the wise grandmother Lalwende describes who could see and accept the boggart at her front door. In one sense, she had closer links to that folk consciousness or mythology that people used to understand their world than we have with all our book learning.

In other threads, people have raised the question of why we can't produce fantasy that rivals that of Tolkien (or T.H. White). Shippey has made an interesting argument that we will not see the likes of such authors again because they were a product of a unique system of education and a world that could still glimpse a boggart at its front door. That world has passed on, and even the formal education that produced a philologist like Tolkien. Shippey may be right or wrong but it is an interesting idea.

Both sides --scientific knowledge and myth--have something to say to us. I only hope we can keep some sense of wonder alive at the same time as we continue to unearth "hobbit" bones and who knows what else in the future!
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Old 10-29-2004, 02:36 AM   #19
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Anyone who's read Shippey knows that Tolkien's (original at least) intent was to re-create our (England's, that is) lost mythology - re-construct it rather than invent a whole new one. And as stories of a race of small, dark people run through Celtic myth as the aboriginal inhabitants of the British Isles its clear Tolkien was drawing on these accounts. Same, obviously, with Elves, Dwarves, Dragons & all the other inhabitants of Me (even the talking foxes!).

How far do we push the idea, though? Tolkien, at least in the beginning, seems almost to have believed that there was a coherent system of beliefs which could be reconstructed to the point where we could have the mythology our ancestors had in virtually the form they had it.

To be serious for a moment, these 'hobbits' may have been the origin of the stories of the 'small, dark people' - I've read folktales which anthropologists believe originated in the stone age - tales must originate at some point, & if they are powerful or beloved enough, why wouldn't they pass down from generation to generation within oral cultures?

But this strays into 'Canonicity' - how 'true' (leave aside True) are Tolkien's stories? How much literal 'truth' is in them (again. leave aside 'moral' Truth).If 'Hobbits' have a basis in fact - however distorted the stories of them have become (because Tolkien didn't even invent the name 'hobbit' - its in the Denham Tracts) - then can we look to find Elves & Dwarves (or some race which inspired the stories of those mythical beings) in our ancient history? If not, then how else do we account for the stories?

We seem to be living in a time when legends are springing from the grass, & I suppose a Jungian would call that significant. Fifty years since the publication of LotR, the final movie about to appear, & someone digs up a fossilised hobbit. The real question, perhaps, is what that means to us.

Does it have a significance beyond the merely curious? Why do we latch onto it? Why do we connect it to 'our' beloved hobbits?Are we as free from the 'irrational' dimension as we like to believe? Is this discovery significant for scientific reasons, in that it tells us something about our history, or is it really significant because it makes it possible to believe that our dreams might not be 'just' dreams? Maybe there really were hobbits, once upon a time; & Dragons & Elves; & high beauty, purged of the gross, & a light beyond the borders of the world & all the rest of that romantic stuff.
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Child
I only hope we can keep some sense of wonder alive at the same time as we continue to unearth "hobbit" bones and who knows what else in the future!
Oh, I hope so too. And I am confident that we can, even in this highly technological age.

Don't get me wrong. This discovery is highly significant in terms of understanding our evolutionary history. The media description of it as one of the most important finds in this field is certainly not pure hyperbole.

The thing is for me is that, they are not really Hobbits at all. They have been labelled as such by the media (not by Tolkien fans) by virtue of the fact that they were three foot tall and that the term "Hobbit" is one which is familiar to the majority of their readers. The circumstantial similarities (large appetite, presence of volcano, miniature "Oliphaunts" etc) are good for a bit of fun. But the fact remains that these were a primitive human (homo) species little different from homo erectus save in size, with a brain the size of a grapefruit, and nothing like the parochial, fun-loving and inherently brave little beings that we know and love from Tolkien's works. And that's why the Tolkien fan within me can't get too worked up about this (although the residual paleontologist within me is terribly excited about it).

But isn't that a good thing? If scientists were to discover evidence of a relatively technologically advanced race of three foot tall humans, physically alike to us in every respect save in height and the hairyness of their feet, who perhaps used umbrellas and liked to drink ale in pubs, wouldn't that go some way to destroying the magic? Or sentient giant winged reptiles? Or stocky beings with beards that lived in cavernous halls beneath mountains? Don't we need these things to remain a possibility rather than a certainty in order to preserve the enchantment that we feel on reading about them?
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:21 AM   #21
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Well, actually...no. I rather like the fantasy of imagining the stories to be true. That daydream would not be sullied by being ratified. If they did find 'stocky, bearded cave-dwelling corpses' or elven skeletons, I would be tremendously excited, and no story containing a fantastical interpretation of such a physiognomy would be spoilt for me.

And as for dragons, of course they existed, silly.

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Old 10-29-2004, 04:59 AM   #22
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Seconding Rimbaud here.

Know what? Discussion starts to resemble something with capital C at the head of it.

Did grapefruit-headed hobbits trade for goods in shops on certain borders, can't help asking myself...
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Old 10-29-2004, 08:36 AM   #23
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First, a clarification: I have already said in that other, more mirthful thread on this topic, that my father is an “evolutionary biologist.” Well, before somebody calls me on this, let me quickly say that such a formulation is rather redundant: it’s like saying a “flying pilot” or a “teaching professor” insofar as the study of biology (the study of living organisms) is, by definition, the study of evolution (how those organisms have changed through time). My father is, more properly, an endocrinologist, zoologist and comparative anatomist; he is also deeply interested and well-versed in the theory of natural selection.

(Parenthetical Comment: I usually try not to be too overtly provocative or confrontational, but on this one point I will be. . .pre-emptively so. If there are any creationists reading this, please don’t waste your time and mine by trying to argue that evolution is wrong, or didn’t happen, or whatever it may be that you try to argue. Evolution is a fact. I will not say anything about this ever again in the Downs, either in forum or via PM, so if you want to fight with someone about this, go find somebody else.)

This is why I find this discovery and the subsequent discussions in this thread to be so interesting, for it has got me to thinking about the evolution of the peoples in Middle-Earth. We all know how careful Tolkien was to get it ‘right’ in the creation of his secondary world: that it have and obey its internal laws, but that it be compatible with the laws of the primary world. Well, I think – either by dint of extreme care, foresight or luck – he has given us a world in which the theory of natural selection is borne out perfectly!

At the end of the Third Age, all of the talking races in Middle-Earth are in decline, except for Men. The reasons for this are wonderfully in line with natural selection: Men are not ‘better’ than the other races in any way; they are not aggressively wiping out the other races, nor are they in direct competition with them for resources. All of these views are traditional and widespread misinterpretations of what Darwin meant when he said “survival of the fittest.” What that oft-quoted, rarely understood phrase actually means is that those species that are better suited to their environment will have a better chance of reproducing than those that are not. The “fitness” is not a measure between species, but between a species and its environment. This is where I get to Tolkien:

At the end of the Third Age, the Elves are dwindling because they are no longer suited to the environment of Middle-earth. The magical woods and glades that housed them are disappearing; in fact, the realms that they are suited for disappeared at the end of the First Age, but little islands were created by a few powerful Elves to keep the culture alive. With the loss of these islands, there is no longer an environment suitable for Elf habitation, and thus they disappear. They might have had a chance to survive in M-E longer, but for their very low rate of reproduction; without being able to create new offspring who might be willing or able to move into new environments, they are doomed to pass with the passing of their natural habitat.

Much the same is true for the Dwarves. Their habitats, in addition to being scarce (mountains with caves and rich veins of ore) are also dependent upon a limited resource. What happens with the mines of their realms are used up? They also seem to suffer from the same low reproduction rates as do the Elves, this time from a scarcity of Dwarven women.

Hobbits are an interesting case. They have high rates of reproduction (c.f. Rose Cotton!) and are eminently suited to a variety of habitats in Middle-Earth. Their downfall is that they are unwilling or unable to leave the Shire. The Fell Winter nearly wiped them out, but there is no evidence that any of them left to colonise new environments. Hobbits are the perfect example of a species that is the victim of its own success. Sometimes it will happen in a stable environment that a species will become so well adapted to it, that they can no longer dissociate themselves from it without going extinct. So just like the new ‘hobbit’ species discovered in Indonesia, Tolkien’s Hobbits are trapped by the Shire as much as they are protected by it. For as long as the Shire is there, they will do fine. But as soon as there is an ice age, or a volcano or even an extended period of drought or rain brought on by climactic shift, they are doomed. And if there is one thing that evolution has taught us, there is no such thing as an eternally stable environment. Change is the order of the day.

And this is why Men do so well in the Fourth Age. With the passing of Sauron and the Noldor, the stasis that had been maintained in certain parts of Middle-Earth goes with it, and change begins to accumulate at an increasing rate. The Elves see their environment disappear, the Dwarves, presumably, consume their limited resources and are pushed into an ever narrower and smaller niche in pursuit of what they need, and the Hobbits remain in the Shire, growing ever closer to it until they share its fate. Only Men are equipped to survive because they are the only ones who are adapted to live in every environment in Middle-Earth. Think about this: like Elves they are happy in places like Ithilien; like Hobbits they do well in richly rolling hills (Bree, and environs); like the Dwarves they work well in mountains and with stone (Minas Tirith; the Hornburg); and they even inhabit environments that the others shun (the grasslands of Rohan).

I write all this not just to talk about evolution (which would be reason enough) but to point out just how surprisingly true to life Tolkien’s imagined world is, even in ways he does not intend it to be. Tolkien’s view of his peoples is clearly and explicitly creationist, but he is so careful an observer of life, and so particular a creator of life-forms, that they follow the established laws of the primary world (evolution)! Is it any wonder, then, that we should find that the primary world has creatures in it that not only resemble his imagined beings, but that they shared the same fate? Remember, the ‘hobbits’ of Indonesia, like the Hobbits of the Shire, were victims of their own success: they had become so perfectly adapted to their environment , that they were unable to spread beyond it (there were no other islands nearby with Komodo dragons and little food resources), and were thus totally wiped out when that environment was!

Hope my Dad will be proud of me for this!
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Last edited by Fordim Hedgethistle; 10-30-2004 at 06:06 AM. Reason: Good points raised by Heren-Istarion and Mark 12_30 below
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:45 PM   #24
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Encore!

Great post and I certainly agree but I'm sure you'll end up on the 'ignore' list of a number of other posters. Never mind that
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Old 10-29-2004, 07:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimbaud
Well, actually...no. I rather like the fantasy of imagining the stories to be true. That daydream would not be sullied by being ratified.
I agree wholeheartedly with your first sentence, but not your second. The fantasy of imagining it to be true would, for me, be ruined by the certainty of it being so. I have a particular relationship with the works of Tolkien, based upon his fiction that it was true combined with his adoption of mythological (and archetypal) imagery. If it turned out that particular elements of what he wrote were in fact true, then that relationship would be fundamentally altered, and I don't think that it would be for the better. I prefer to think that it might be true.

Fordim, I agree with much of what you say. Save, however, that Tolkien asks us to believe that Elves and Men (and Hobbits and Dwarves) awoke in the form in which we encounter them in his works. They did not evolve from "lower" forms of life. I can accept that within the context of his Legendarium, but it is fundamentally at odds with Darwin's "theory".
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Old 10-30-2004, 02:48 AM   #26
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Humble request met with understanding. Thanks, Fordim

Cheers
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Old 10-30-2004, 03:09 AM   #27
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I thought we were to let it rest?
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:00 AM   #28
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A clarification

HI, you are not silly -- nor are you a creationist, if you believe that evolution has and is happening. Creationism holds that all life forms sprang into being in their current form 8 000 years ago.

I agree whole-heartedly that Darwinism deals with the how, and not the why. So did Darwin.

We really should leave it at that, however!

EDIT: H-I and Mark 12_30 (below) have raised the very good point of my judgemental language in the post in question. I have edited it slightly as a result. They are right: this is not a forum in which we should denigrate the views of others.
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:39 AM   #29
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Edit: Thanks, Fordie.
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Old 10-30-2004, 07:26 AM   #30
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White Tree Just some say on archaeology and the "Collective Memory"

Oh, i just flip head over heels for topics like this!!!! I knew this would be found! You guys don't know how happy i am now.

Anyway, i find it rather obvious that this would happen, since if you follow some of the finds pretaining to our ancestrial remains these figures keep getting smaller. It's just something i've noticed. Another thing is, i was talking to someone at a museum once (It was the Royal BC museum in Victoria, in the "First Peoples" Section... it seemed out of place.) and we spent somewhere around a hour discussing the fact that we might have even smaller ancestors... Hmm? Maybe we all are right about this.


Since the article made a reference to a tropical type climate, i thought i might contribute some of this "mythology"...

this is something from http://www.occultopedia.com/m/menehune.htm
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Old 10-30-2004, 10:40 AM   #31
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Thumbs up

Ka -

Many thanks for that reference to the three-foot Menhune in Hawaii. I am more familiar with the European legends so it's helpful to learn about such references in terms of other cultures.

Interesting stuff!

~Child
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:58 PM   #32
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Quote:
And the hobbits were managing some extraordinary things—manufacturing sophisticated stone tools, hunting pygmy elephants...
Hobbits hunt Oliphants. That would make Sam happy.
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Old 10-30-2004, 07:49 PM   #33
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Birdie?

BirdieBirdieBirdie?????

Hobbits also celebrate Birdie's return... WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT



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Old 10-30-2004, 08:03 PM   #34
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:06 PM   #35
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Child of the 7th Age
Ka -

Many thanks for that reference to the three-foot Menhune in Hawaii. I am more familiar with the European legends so it's helpful to learn about such references in terms of other cultures.

Interesting stuff!

~Child
oh, if you go to the home site (it might be the home link... i'm not sure) you'll find references from everywhere... i encourage you guys to check them out. very interesting. the Menhune (pronounced "Men-a-hue-ee"), are just something i remember my grandma telling me about when i was little. They've always been interesting in my mind. Also, for further reference on "myth" Hawaiian myth tells that the Menhune where on the islands before the Oceanic peoples arrived... basically, they came ashore and scarred them into the forest. Eventually they came out and helped the oceanic peoples how to use the resources of the island.

thanks for the comment on my user cp Child! you are very kind... most people blackmail me with threats, then unfortunately leave names...

-THE Ka
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:41 PM   #36
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Well, I always knew that certain Neanderthals have secretly thrived among us...But our Hobbit relatives have been a pleasant surprise. This gives me new ammunition for certain height-related jokes. Thank you.
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:26 AM   #37
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I've just seen an update to the news story about 'real hobbits' late last year. You can read it here, if you are interested.
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Old 04-04-2005, 06:57 PM   #38
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The new issue of the national Georgraphic (April 2005) has more information about these "hobbit" people. So if you want to know more pick up a copy.
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:52 AM   #39
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Another "hobbit" found:

Quote:
Anthropologists Uncover Ancient Jawbone

By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA, AP Science Writer
1 hour, 31 minutes ago


Scientists digging in a remote Indonesian cave have uncovered a jaw bone that they say adds more evidence that a tiny prehistoric Hobbit-like species once existed.

The jaw is from the ninth individual believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The bones are in a wet cave on the island of Flores in the eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia.

The research team which reported the original sensational finding nearly a year ago strongly believes that the skeletons belong to a separate species of early human that shared Earth with modern humans far more recently than anyone thought.

The bones have enchanted many anthropologists who have come to accept the interpretation of these diminutive skeletons marooned on Flores with dwarf elephants and other miniaturized animals, giving the discovery a kind of fairy tale quality.

But a vocal scientific minority insists the specimens are nothing more than the bones of modern humans that suffered from microencephaly, a broadly defined genetic disorder that results in small brain size. The latest discovery on Flores to be published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature does not change their minds, they said, with one critic describing the latest artifacts as "pretty scrappy."

And, at least two groups of opponents have submitted their own studies to other leading scientific journals refuting the Flores work.

The result is a controversy unlike any other in the often-contentious study of human origins. Those caught in the middle say the debate is a real test for what we know about human evolution.

Daniel E. Lieberman of the Peabody Museum at Harvard said the specimens are so unusual that they deserve a more detailed analysis in order to adequately answer the critics.

"Many syndromes can cause microencephaly and dwarfism and they all need to be considered," said Lieberman, who wrote a commentary in Nature. "The findings are not only astonishing, but also exciting because of the questions they raise."

In the latest Nature study, the same team of Australian and Indonesian scientists working in trenches dug in Liang Bua cave found a variety of additional bones at various depths, suggesting the cave had been occupied for tens of thousands of years by several generations.

The most prominent specimen discovered in the latest batch is the lower jaw bone from a separate individual. Dating of charcoal nearby in the excavation layer suggests it is 15,000 years old.

They also found the right arm of the 18,000-year old female announced last year, as well as fragments of other skeletons.

The jaw reported now has a weaker chin with smaller tooth dimensions than last year's primary specimen, but otherwise shares the same characteristics.

Other artifacts in the cave include cut and charred bones of stegodon, a prehistoric pygmy elephant, and other animals, as well as a variety of sophisticated stone tools. The researchers said the artifacts offer further proof that the cave's tiny inhabitants were capable of advanced thinking and behavior, like cooperative hunting.

Critics say they have many lingering questions about the Flores discoveries.

"This paper doesn't clinch it. I feel strongly that people are glossing over the problems with this interpretation," said Robert Martin, a biological anthropologist and provost of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

In Martin's view, the more likely scenario is that the specimens belonged to an extended family of modern humans, some of whom suffered from microencephaly, which often runs in families.

The critics challenge the reliability of the dating of bones and artifacts because only a few pieces of charcoal — presumably from fire pits — were analyzed. Also, water drainage may have helped jumble the older specimens with the more recent.

And, they argue, the stone tools found are of the type known to be made only by modern humans. The brain size of the specimens found suggest it's unlikely such a people could have used the tools.
Note the anachronistically advanced tools found in the hobbit-hole--er, "cave". Perhaps we'll soon have archaeological proof for hobbit umbrellas and mantle-clocks.
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:23 AM   #40
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I saw a good Horizon documentary about this a couple of weeks ago, which went into depth about the scientists who are sceptics; it seems that the pro-Hobbit party have since been keen to find more evidence so it will be interesting to see if this proves that the little folk did exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Underhill
Note the anachronistically advanced tools found in the hobbit-hole--er, "cave". Perhaps we'll soon have archaeological proof for hobbit umbrellas and mantle-clocks.
What if they find a skeleton with nine fingers?
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