Compare the Brains

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The hobbit skeleton is known as LB1, for the cave where it was found, Liang Bua (Cold Cave). The team's measurements revealed that LB1's brain was as small as that of 3.2 million-year-old "Lucy," or about the size of a chimp's. (See Who's Who in Human Evolution for more on our rich evolutionary history.) But LB1 was associated with charred bones, stone tools, and remains of Stegodon, a now-extinct dwarf elephant, suggesting her kind knew how to use fire, cook, and hunt. How could a tiny hominin with a chimp-sized brain have had such advanced behaviors? Comparing brains, the team decided, might help provide an answer. (Above, LB1's skull.)

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