Compare the Brains

  • By Peter Tyson & Rachel VanCott
  • Posted 11.01.08
  • NOVA

Who was the so-called Flores hobbit, the three-foot-tall, 18,000-year-old skeleton found in Indonesia in 2003? More precisely, what was she? Dean Falk of Florida State University and colleagues used computers to compare the size and shape of the hobbit's brain with those of a modern human, a Homo erectus, and other members of the great-ape line.* In this slide show, see how the hobbit's brain measured up.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

How does the hobbit's brain measure up to those of a modern human, a chimp, and others?

Peter Tyson and Rachel VanCott are editor in chief and editorial assistant of NOVA Online, respectively.


*See Falk, D. et al., "The Brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis." Science 308, 242-45 (2005).

Image Credits

(virtual endocast/skull)
Courtesy Kirk Smith, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
(LB1 skull, LB1 skull sideview)
© Corbis
(virtual endocasts)
from Falk et al., Science 308:242 (2005). Reprinted with permission from AAAS.

Related Links

  • Alien From Earth

    Do the remains of a tiny hobbit-like creature found on the island of Flores belong to a new human species?

  • Alien from Earth: Expert Q&A

    Mike Morwood, coleader of the team that discovered the hobbit, answers viewer questions.

  • Little People of Flores

    The remains of three-foot-tall humans are discovered on a remote Indonesian island.

  • Jared Diamond on the Hobbit

    The evolutionary biologist explains why the little people shrunk, how they got to Flores, and more.


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