Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 21st, 2006
Peter Brown has spoken before of the interrelationship between the media-named "Hobbits," Flores’ ebu gogo, and Bigfoot.
In an interview for Scientific American in 2004, the discoverer of Homo floresiensis was asked,
Certainly by the time of LB1, people had well-developed language and oral traditions. Might encounters with humans like LB1 and other, unknown, island forms be the source of mythologies that are so widespread in the world today involving very tiny people and very large people?
You pick a country and there’s either large Bigfoot and Yetis, or small leprechauns and Yowies, depending on which part of the world you’re in. On Flores there is a mythical humanlike animal called Ebu Gogo, known for small body size, inarticulate speech and an unusual bipedal gait. Every country seems to have myths about these things. We’ve excavated a lot of sites around the world and we’ve never found them. But then last September we found LB1, so surprise, surprise. There’s got to be some overlap in time between [Homo floresiensis] and Homo sapiens. But in terms of oral histories and racial memories and those sorts of things, that’s still a very long time period. Whether people are thinking these things because at one time or other someone actually excavated or found the remains of something small and unexpected I don’t know. But the time periods seem too long–it’s not as if they’re represented in rock art or anything else. Which is not to say there’s not some basis. But I would be surprised. I just think humans have amazing imaginations and they see all sorts of things and create all sort of explanations for things which they half see or maybe see. And a fleeting glimpse seems to mean more than it really should.
It was in this spirit that the editor of Nature, Henry Gee, in an editorial entitled "Flores, God and Cryptozoology," wrote: "The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth….Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold."
The 3-feet-tall Homo floresiensis, living on Indonesia’s Flores Island, perhaps do exist today as the small, hairy ebu gogo, the Proto-Pygmies of Flores Island folklore. As noted in my and Patrick Huyghe’s new field guide, Homo floresiensis, while connected in the media in 2004, with Sumatra’s orang pendek, probably has a more direct link with the more fully hairy hominid examples, such as Sri Lanka’s nittaewo.
The front cover of The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates is illustrated with a drawing of Homo floresiensis by wildlife artist Richard Klyver, who studied for seven years among chimpanzees in Africa.