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NOVA scienceNOW: Little People of Flores

Program Overview


Some scientists think Homo floresiensis may be a new human species that measured three feet tall, had a brain one-third the size of modern human's, and lived as recently as 18,000 years ago.

This NOVA scienceNOW segment:

  • reports on the discovery of a meter-tall adult skeleton found by a team of Australian archeologists in Liang Bua cave on Flores Island, Indonesia.

  • notes that the skeleton is the smallest human species ever identified—a dramatic difference from other hominids.

  • looks at competing views of whether the skeleton represents a new human species or a modern human with stunted growth.

  • theorizes how Homo erectus, the precursor to modern humans, might have reached Flores Island via land bridges exposed during recent ice ages.

  • discusses why being small is an advantage on an island where food resources are scarce.

  • states that Homo floresiensis may have existed as recently as 18,000 years ago, and that Homo floresiensis and Homo sapiens (modern humans) may have co-existed on Flores Island for 30,000 years.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
NOVA scienceNOW: Little People of Flores
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