This tendency is called the 'island rule'. It stipulates that because food on a small island is limited, smaller species do relatively well and often get bigger over time compared to their mainland relatives. This is because they can manage well on little resources and out-compete bigger species.Link. I knew there was something special about that island.
Larger species, on the other hand, face fierce competition for a small amount of food and become smaller, because those members that eat less have an advantage.
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True enough, small primate species (ones weighing less than five kilograms) all pumped up compared to their mainland relatives. But they also found that all the larger primates became smaller - by as much as 50 to 80 per cent.
That fits in well with what we know of H.floresiensis, who was around 55 percent of the mass of a modern Indonesian and probably 52 percent of an H.erectus.
So the evidence backs the idea that the hobbits were an 'insular dwarf race' – humans who became smaller, possibly after the island separated from the mainland and left them marooned with diminished food resources. The authors refuse, though, to wade into the debate as to whether the hobbits were H. erectus or H. sapiens.
Indexed by tags science, nature, archaelogy, cryptozoology, ebu gogo, Homo floresiensis, Flores, Indonesia, island.