“The hobbit, Homo floresiensis, is a really challenging find for everyone. There’s still a minority of scientists who don’t accept that it is a distinct human species; it’s some kind of a weird, maybe diseased form of modern human. But I think it is a genuine distinct form, and actually a very primitive form.
It’s either derived from a very primitive form of Homo erectus, maybe similar to the ones at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia, or it’s evidence of an earlier Africa exit, maybe before two million years ago, by something that’s pre-erectus that somehow got all the way over to the Far East and survived there in isolation, evolving for more than a million years. It’s an extraordinary story, if that’s true.”
From an interview with British paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer.
More on “hobbits” from the Smithsonian:
H. floresiensis individuals stood approximately 3 feet 6 inches tall, had tiny brains, large teeth for their small size, shrugged-forward shoulders, no chins, receding foreheads, and relatively large feet due to their short legs. Despite their small body and brain size, H. floresiensis made and used stone tools, hunted small elephants and large rodents, coped with predators such as giant Komodo dragons, and may have used fire.