Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Bilbo Floresiensis

Once upon a time a tiny human species with large feet shared the planet with our own kind. It hunted giant rats and miniature cousins of the elephant, defended its kills from monstrous storks and dodged fearsome dragons. This is not the plot of a lost Tolkien book. This really happened. I’m referring, of course, to our extinct relative Homo floresiensis, which lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia as recently as 17,000 years ago and has for obvious reasons been dubbed the hobbit. It turns out that despite the species’ small size, it may have looked rather familiar, according to a scientific reconstruction.

There is something about using the word "it" to describe these cute, old folks that feels... wrong, even though it's not. But "fearsome dragons?" Are you sure? The Hobbit hits theaters Friday.

Related: "What Dwarf From the Hobbit Are You?"

32 Comments / Post A Comment



fondue with cheddar

@Megano! And ROUS's!


@fondue with cheddar Real talk: I would like Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit a lot more if there were tiny elephants that the hobbits ride to battle on.

fondue with cheddar


But the science stuff is really cool, as always. I'm just so excited about the movie!!!


@fondue with cheddar ME TOOO, I already bought my ticket to see it on Thursday night and I'm PUMPED!!!

Not sure I'm emotionally ready for hot Dwarves yet, but I'm sure I'll cope.

fondue with cheddar

@royaljunk Ooh, lucky! I'm hoping to see it Friday if my boyfriend is up for it. Some people don't like seeing movies opening night and I'm not sure if he's one of those people. If not, I shall convert him because HOBBITS and GANDALF and stuff.


@fondue with cheddar I've never gone to a midnight release for ANYTHING, but definitely making an exception in this case.

I don't even care if it's bloated and ridiculous, I don't caaaaaaare just give me hobbits and dwarves and Gandalf and Galadriel. (and Gollum I guess)

fondue with cheddar

@royaljunk It's totally worth seeing at midnight.

I saw an LOTR trilogy marathon in the theater when The Return of the King came out and it was glorious. I'm hoping they will do the same thing when the third Hobbit comes out. I will see all six at once! I don't care if it takes all day.


@fondue with cheddar I saw a trilogy marathon a few years ago, and it was excellent. My friends and I took blankets and food with us, and we just got to curl up in comfy chairs for hours and watch ALL THE LOTR. They should happen more often.

fondue with cheddar

@Verity Isn't it the best? Intermissions were fun too, because we sat on the floor against the wall out in the hallway, in our socks with our blankets and snacks, watching all the people going to and from their regular movies, and it felt like we lived there but they were just visiting.

And seriously, how often do you actually talk to the other moviegoers? Never, unless you're admonishing them to turn their phone off or something. But during the marathon, people were introducing themselves to each other and having conversations and it was wonderful.


Is it bad that when I read this article, my first thought was CLONE THEM!
I know it's wrong, I just want to have one as my neighbor so I can tickle its big hairy feet.


There are Komodo dragons on the island of Flores. They are kind of cute when behind glass, but if I were hobbit-sized and lived in Indonesia, I would probably find them fearsome.



@Plants&Rags Komodo dragons are fucking terrifying anyway, they have poisonous saliva and you better believe they will bite the shit out of you.


@iceberg Yes. Komodo dragon would be a particularly nasty way to go, given their saliva contains an anticoagulant and other nasty stuff. Whatever it is they are biting may die of blood loss and shock. There's some nightmarish nature documentary video on the internets about komodo dragons eating a buffalo which has gotten stuck in some mud. They basically eat it alive, very slowly, while it thrashes around. Great circle of life, nature red in tooth and claw, etc, but my goodness, it's a horrible death.


@iceberg I find it terrifying that researchers can't seem to agree on whether they are actually venomous, or whether it's just the legions of dangerous bacteria in their saliva that do the killing.


@SarahDances yiiiiiiiiiikes


That quiz was...interesting.


@meetapossum That is was. I am Gloin, apparently.

Kate Wong@twitter

Thanks for your interest in my floresiensis story! I used "it" because I was referring to the species, not to the individual hobbits (in this context, Homo sapiens would be "it," too). As members of the human family, floresiensis individuals definitely merit use of (s)he. And the fearsome dragons, as some of the other commenters note, are indeed the Komodo dragons that lived on Flores back in the hobbits' day and continue to persist there in small numbers today. I should've made that clearer in my story.


@Kate Wong@twitter
No, you're good.



Well... since I am apparently motivated by my stomach, I'm Bombur. Thanks, easy quiz. You would have been more fun if you weren't so full of dumb.


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