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Between about 700,000 years ago and 60,000 years ago, a diminutive early human walked the island of Flores, in what is now Indonesia. Homo floresiensis, nicknamed the “hobbit” because it stood only about 3 feet, 6 inches (106 centimeters) tall, was a small-brained, large-footed toolmaker, and no one knows where it evolved from.

Now, one anthropologist is arguing that no one really knows that H. floresiensis went extinct — and that it may survive into the modern day. In a new book, Gregory Forth, an anthropologist retired from the University of Alberta, argues that reports of an “ape-man” on Flores could be sightings of the ancient human ancestor, still kicking today.

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