See Inside February 2005

The Littlest Human

A spectacular find in Indonesia reveals that a strikingly different hominid shared the earth with our kind in the not so distant past

On the island of Flores in Indonesia, villagers have long told tales of a diminutive, upright-walking creature with a lopsided gait, a voracious appetite, and soft, murmuring speech.

They call it ebu gogo, "the grandmother who eats anything." Scientists¿ best guess was that macaque monkeys inspired the ebu gogo lore. But last October, an alluring alternative came to light. A team of Australian and Indonesian researchers excavating a cave on Flores unveiled the remains of a lilliputian human--one that stood barely a meter tall--whose kind lived as recently as 13,000 years ago.

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