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Flores: The Island of Hobbits and Dragons

Flores: The Island of Hobbits and Dragons

You might think that an island full of Hobbits and Dragons would be in Tolkiens' Middle Earth. But the story you are about to read is not fiction. It takes place on the Indonesia Island of Flores. 

Flores is part of the Lesser Sunda Island of Eastern Indonesia. The name comes from the 17th-century Portuguese name for the Island. They called it casa das Flores (cape of Flowers). In addition to its beautiful flora species, Flores is among the islands where the Komodo Dragons exist, and the island also was the home of a very unique species of ancient hominids, who have come to be called Hobbit. 


Komodo Dragons:

The Komodo dragon lives on the Island of Flores, as well as on the Islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Gili Motang. The Komodo Dragon is a monitor lizard that can be up to 10 ft long and up to 190 pounds. It is the largest lizard on Earth and in its environment, it's the apex predator. While local people always know of the existence it was not known in the West until 1910

The Komodo Dragon originated in Australia where ancient monitor lizards grow to enormous sizes. The largest could grow to over 4,000 pounds. By comparison, that is the size of an adult rigorous, and about twice as large as the largest modern crocodile. 

The Komodo Dragon is carnivorous. While it hunts, it mostly subsists on carrion. But as a hunter, it is very effective. It will hunt and consume everything from small rodents to horses, and it is known to hunt cooperatively in small groups. 

It is widely rumored that Komodo Dragons have a toxin in their saliva that slowly poisons their prey once bitten. It is said that they attack and bite their prey, and then wait for the toxin to take hold before moving in to finish them off. But this is not actually true. In fact, Komodo Dragons keep their mouths clear of debris which eliminates bacterial accumulation.

Humans and Komodo Dragons have co-existed since humans first populated the islands where they live. While attacks on humans do occur, some of which have become famous, generally humans are avoided whenever possible. 



In 2003 scientists digging in caves on Flores came upon the bones of an unknown hominid species. The bones were very small and it was initially believed to be the remains of a child. However, as more bones were unearthed it was apparent that these new species were very small. They soon began calling them Hobbits, but the scientific name given to them is Homo Floressicensis.

It is believed that the “Hobbits'' evolved out of Homo Erectus which populated Asia as long as 118 million years ago. Adults were about 3.5 feet tall and weighed between 65 and 85 pounds. In addition, Homo Floressicensis's brain capacity is only 400 cubic centimeters, which is about the size of an adult chimpanzee, and only 1 ⁄ 3 the size of a modern human.

The “Hobbits” populated Flores about 800,000 years ago and they existed until about 50,000 years ago. This is about the time modern humans arrived. However, some evidence suggests that they might have survived until 17,000 years ago. 

It is not known why the “Hobbits'' went extinct. But there is speculation that their interaction with modern humans (Homo Sapiens) might have been the cause. 


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