Scientists have discovered, by examining the skulls of extinct Madagascan hippos, that dwarfed mammals on islands evolved much smaller brains in relation to their body size. Basically, the ‘Hobbits’ found on Flores may have had tiny brains because they lived on an island.
“The discovery of a small fossil human from the island of Flores with normal facial proportions but a brain the size of chimpanzee has baffled scientists,” explained Natural History Museum palaeontologist, Dr Eleanor Weston, who led the research.
“It could be that its skull is that of a dwarfed mammal living on an island. Looking at pygmy hippos in Madagascar, which possess exceptionally small brains for their size, suggests that the ‘hobbit’ was a dwarf resulting from its H. erectus ancestors being isolated on the island in the past,” Weston added.