A joint Australian-Indonesian team of archaeologists unearthed partial skeletons of nine small-bodied hominins on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. Among the specimens found were an 18,000-year-old almost complete skull (labeled LB1) and a partial skeleton, consisting of leg bones, parts of the pelvis, hands and feet, and some other fragments. The fossils have been attributed to a new human species, Homo floresiensis.

LB1 was an adult of about 30, probably female. She was only about 3.3 feet (1 m) in height with a very small brain size of 417 cc.

Since the discovery, researchers have clashed over whether LB1 really does represent a species of its own, a descendant of Homo erectus or a pathological form of Homo sapiens.

“The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious,” Dr Harvati and her colleagues wrote in a paper reporting the findings in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.