Howdy all you thoroughbreds galloping down the home stretch of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe!
- Whaddaya think, is "thoroughbreds" better than "bloodhounds"? Anyway, on to today's Mystery!
There's a story that's been circulating for the past several years about Hobbits. No, I'm not talking about the fictional ones of Middle Earth. Rather, I mean jungle-dwelling, little tiny people - apparently related to humans - who went extinct about 12,000 years ago. The scientific name for these little guys is not actually "Hobbits", but rather Homo floresiensis, named for the Indonesian island of Flores on which the skeletal remains of several of these dudes have been found.
A big "Thank you very much" goes out to the New York Times for letting me use this copyrighted image from their web site, even if they don't technically know they let me use it.
Since this story goes in and out of the media periodically, you may have heard about it from reputable news sources like these:
The gist of the story is, some folks digging on Flores found some skeletons that are similar but not identical to modern humans, but the adults are only 3 feet tall! Pretty cool, finding real 12,000 year-old Hobbit skeletons in Indonesia, eh?
Here's a Flores Hobbit skull next to a modern human skull. Pretty neat, eh?
So you're asking now, "What's the big Mystery? Critters go extinct all the time." Well that's true, but like many scientific stories there is plenty of controvery surrounding the Flores Hobbits.
Some folks claim that the hobbits represent a separate, previously unknown branch of the human family tree. Others think that the Flores researchers have merely unearthed a deformed, diseased pygmy modern human. From a scientific point of view, that's a pretty humongous argument. And let me tell you, I've hung around plenty of scientists and I can say definitively that when they argue you better duck!
Lab fight! Watch out for flying glassware.
Since you humans can't seem to get to the bottom of this whole Hobbit thing, I figured I'd lend a hand with my impressive investigative skills and huge, hyperintelligent brain. No need to thank me, helping humans is what I do!
I flew over to Flores and started poking around the paleo-arechaeological dig sites looking for clues to the Truth behind the Great Hobbit Mystery. While I was out in the nearby jungle, just sitting there minding my own business, I saw a shocking scene, one that completely took me by surprise and solved the Mystery of the Flores Hobbits!
And lucky for me, I happened to have my camera with me. (Don't leave home without it, I always say.)
Here's the picture I took, which, as you can plainly see, shows the actual True Truth of the Flores Hobbits:
The Flores Hobbits are a hoax! Sheep are planting fake hobbit bones all over the island!
Sheep, you say? Where'd the sheep come from? Flores is mostly jungle, and jungle is not exactly a natural habitat for sheep. And why the heck are they planting these bones on Flores?
I wondered the same thing. And since I caught them red hoofed, they agreed to fess up and spill the whole story to me (a sheep may be bigger than a parrot, but they respect the power of Bird Fu.)
So here's the scoop: These sheep are from New Zealand, a country where sheep significantly outnumber humans. Using their "sheer" numbers (hah, ha, a little sheep humor there), they overwhelmed security at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch and stole a pile of early hominid fossils. Then they hopped a boat to Indonesia, disembarked on Flores, spread the fossils around, and notified some local science-type people that there was fame and fortune to be had just by digging in the right places in the jungle! Voila! A new species of "Hobbit" was discovered, all because of a bunch of scheming sheep!
But why would they go through all the trouble?
Puzzled, I asked sheep leader Curly Jack this question.
"You want to know why?" he said. "I'll telly you why. It's because of all the humans' damned "Lord of the Rings" movies! We sheep are sick and bloody tired of humans trodding all over our country filming orcs and ents and elves and bloody HOBBITS! And as if that weren't enough, now all the bloody NERDS in the whole world are comin' here to visit the damned filming sites, like it was some sorta PILGRIMAGE or somethin'! Well we're SICK AND TIRED of it! We figured if somebody found some hobbits somewhere else, they'd bugger off and LEAVE US ALONE!"
Actually, I can't really argue with him on any of that. I mean c'mon, the movies were kinda fun, but is it really necessary to have tours of the locales so people can see "where Helm's Deep and Isengard are"?
So to all you humans I say: by all means, read the books again for the 279th time, go play some "Dungeons and Dragons", and practice speaking Elvish, but for sheep's sake do it at home!