The tiny humans are thought to have survived until about 12,000
years ago, when a volcanic eruption devastated the region.
The discovery was hailed as one of the most significant fossil
finds for more than a century. However, a small minority of vocal scientists
They believe that rather than being a completely new species,
the Hobbit was merely a modern human that had microcephaly, a
congenital disorder that stunts brain growth.
All scientists have to go on are skeletal remains found among a
scattering of flint tools in Flores' Liang Bua cave.
Some have argued that the tools are too advanced to have been
made by a creature with such a small brain and must have been made
later in history by a more advanced human species.
Now, a joint team of Australian and Indonesian researchers has
compared the tools found in the Liang Bua cave with other, much
older, artefacts discovered on the island at several different
They say the tools from different time periods bear striking
similarities, suggesting they were made in the same way by a long
lineage of ancient humans.
"It's basically the same technology," said Dr Brumm.
"That suggests a continuing tradition of tool making on the
island over many hundreds of thousands of years."
The authors believe the Hobbit inherited tool-making skills from
ancestors who lived on the island from about 800,000 years ago.