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‘Hobbit’ founder Aus archaeologist dies

The Australian archaeologist who rocked the science world with his discovery of a tiny new species of human known as the ‘ hobbit’ has died after a year-long battle with cancer, his university said on Wednesday.

New Zealand-born Mike Morwood, who earned his PhD from the Australian National University, was also an expert on Aboriginal rock art, having carried out extensive research in Queensland and Western Australia states earlier in his career.

But he is best known for leading the team of Australian and Indonesian researchers that uncovered the partial skeleton of a one metre tall (3.25 foot) woman at Liang Bua, a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. A further six partial skeletons of the tiny humans, who weighed just 30 kg and had the brain the size of a chimp’s, were later found, in addition to skeletons of megafaunal species including an extinct close relative of modern elephants and giant tortoise.
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