A 3ft tall 'hobbit' discovered on a remote Indonesian island has raised the extraordinary possibility that our human species might not be alone on Earth.
The female creature has been identified as a completely new member of the human race.
But, although she lived 18,000 years ago, scientists believe her relatives survived for thousands more years on the island of Flores.
And experts have not ruled out the possibility of her descendants, or other unknown human species, still hiding in the impenetrable forests and cave systems of South-East Asia.
Mythical tales abound in the region of a race of little people that dwell on the islands of Indonesia.
Dutch explorers who colonised Flores 100 years ago were told colourful stories of a human-like creature local inhabitants called 'ebu gogo'.
The tales described how they could be heard 'murmuring' to one another, and how, parrot-fashion, they repeated back words spoken to them.
Dr Henry Gee, senior editor of scientific journal Nature, said scientists who made the discovery were now having to think again about these stories' source.
'Until they found this creature they would have dismissed them as tales of hobbits and leprechauns, but no longer,' he told a news conference last night.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Leprechauns are real!
Wow, this is turning out to be a pretty good day for news. From rednova.com: [UPDATE: which now seems to be defunct]