|A size comparison of the brave little Hobbit, the dwarf elephant Stegodon, the Komodo dragon, and the giant stork Leptoptilos robustus, drawn by the illustrious illustrator Zach Evens!|
If you aren't already familiar with island dwarfism, here's a brief summary. Oftentimes, populations of animals will become trapped on islands. Over deep time, they can either evolve and adapt....or die. On islands, what was beneficial on the mainland might not be quite as useful on a smaller, isolated chunk of land. For example, if you are a larger animal, you are going to need more food than a smaller animal. On the mainland, where food can be found in relative abundance, this usually isn't as much of an issue. Furthermore, being large helps ward off predators, and can increase the likelihood of passing off your genes to subsequent generations. So for some mainland animals, it pays to be bigger.
|Lions tend to give elephants, especially full grown individuals, a healthy and respectful distance. Photo Credit:|
|A fictional and somewhat inaccurate size comparison between many dwarf elephants and mammoths (pictured here a little smaller than they should be), and humans. Photo Credit:|
|One small brained individual contemplates another. The smaller skull is a cast of the skull of Homo floresiensis. Photo Credit: Zach Evens|
|An artistic and scientific reconstruction of Homo erectus. Photo Credit:|
|A reconstruction of Australopithecus. Photo Credit:|
|The tuatara, a sphenodont holdout from a long forgotten age. Photo Credit:|
|Fossils can be tricksy things. This is the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, LB1. As you can see, there isn't a whole lot to go off of when trying to reach conclusions regarding the anatomy of this particular proto-human. To confound matters further, only One Skull of Homo floresiensis has been discovered, which is the one you see in the photograph above. Looks to me like LB1 has got that One Thing. Photo Credit: Making Sense of the Small|
|A quality pic that shows a modern human skull on the left, and the skull of the Hobbit on the right.|
|Bet you didn't see that one coming, now, did you? Photo Credit:|
|An approximate size comparison between Leptoptilos robustus and Homo floresiensis. Photo Credit:|
|In this picture, you can see how big the Komodo dragon is compared to humans! Photo Credit:|
And my bow.
And my axe.
*Here on the blog, we've talked about animals such as the coelacanth and the horseshoe crab, both of whom are often referred to as living fossils. In this context, I'm using the term loosely, as H. floresiensis is no longer alive today. Instead, I am referring to the fact that at the time H. floresiensis was alive, it might have been considered a living fossil.
**If that didn't ruin that movie for you, keep in mind that Indiana Jones is irrelevant to the outcome of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that Luke and Leia are siblings and made out.