A new article published in Nature details the latest developments in the study of mysterious stone tools discovered on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The makers of these tools remains unknown and is pondered in a previous blog article on this site.
This discovery is pertinent to the study of bigfoot for several reasons. First of all, at least three species of unknown hominoids are reported throughout Indonesia. One fits the description of the orang pendek on Sumatra which can be speculated to be a type of bipedal orangutan. The other is more manlike, but smaller, and is referred to as the ebu gogo on the island of Flores. This form is probably a relict form of Homo floresiensis. The last of the three commonly reported forms fits the description of the North American sasquatch, and is in fact present in the folklore of Sulawesi where the tools were found.
While it is unlikely that the larger, sasquatch-like form is responsible for these tools, the study of pre-modern humans and our relatives should always be encouraged. It is within this framework that the sasquatch will eventually be recognized by science. Though paleoanthropology is a newer science, it will certainly help provide a foundation for the subject of bigfoot and other unknown hominoids in the near future.
For interested readers, the best book (by far) to detail the possible unknown hominoids found in the folklore of Southeast Asia is Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective by Gregory Forth. It is detailed, scientific, and open-minded while remaining skeptical. For any serious student of wildmen in that part of the world, I cannot recommend this book enough.
Ancient tools may shed light on the mysterious ‘hobbit’
The “hobbit” had neighbors. Back in 2004, researchers announced the discovery of this tiny, ancient human, which apparently hunted dwarf elephants with stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores 18,000 years ago. Its discoverers called the 1-meter-tall creature Homo floresiensis, but skeptics wondered whether it was just a stunted modern human. In the years since, researchers have debunked many of the “sick hobbit” hypotheses. Yet scientists have continued to wonder where the species came from.
Now, an international team originally led by the hobbit discoverer reports stone tools, dated to 118,000 to 194,000 years ago, from another Indonesian island, Sulawesi, likely made by another archaic human—or possibly by other hobbits. “It shows that on another island we have evidence of a second archaic early human,” says paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was not involved with the work. The discovery makes the original hobbit claim appear more plausible, he says, by suggesting that human ancestors may have island-hopped more often than had been thought.
After international debate over the hobbit’s origins, co-discoverer Michael Morwood—then an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia—set out to search other islands from which the tiny humans may have come. Java—more than 800 kilometers west of Flores but with a chain of islands in between—was already known to be the ancient home of the human ancestor H. erectus, a globe-trotting species that dates as far back as 1.7 million years ago. But Morwood instead set out for Sulawesi, 400 kilometers to the north, because powerful ocean currents sweep southward from this island toward Flores. Researchers had already found some simple stone tools on Sulawesi, but they couldn’t date the artifacts because they were found on the ground rather than buried with datable minerals.
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