Homo floresiensis was an interesting discovery as a group of people who migrated from Africa long before our Homo sapiens ancestors. The fossil record reflects that the group was hobbit-like with an extremely small stature of about three feet in height and an appearance that was more ape-like than someone you would recognize in your neighborhood. Their facial features had a very chimp-like appearance and they had short legs and long, flat feet. It is amazing that this group left Africa over one million years ago and were capable of traveling thousands of miles across southern Asia. More amazing is their presence on the Isle of Flores which means they had to traverse the open sea or might have been carried off land by a tsunami or violent storm to land safely on the island where they would live relatively undisturbed for hundreds of thousands of years. Their use of stone tools indicates significant use of their mental capacity and their ability to utilize their environmental resources was amazing. These small people obviously maintain a stable culture to survive so long in isolation and with newly discovered resources. The fact that they apparently remained relatively unchanged physically over so many years can be attributed to their isolation on the small island without significant differences in evolutionary pressure that would select for genetic variance over time. They must have had the optimal physical structure for this environment to last so long before their demise. Since they disappeared about 17 thousand years ago, we have to suggest a massive catastrophe like a volcanic eruption that destroyed the environment that had been so stable. Alternatively, it is frightening to consider that our ancestors, early Homo sapiens, might have found their way onto Flores and violently eliminated these ancient ancestors due to competition for the resources that were available.
The findings of Homo floresiensis have indicated that human diversity takes many forms. Although these small hobbits are our relatives with a very strange appearance, their activities rival the major migrations of Homo sapiens hundreds of thousands of years later. Their perseverance to survive must have been stimulated by major pressure forcing them from their prior environment to find a more suitable and safe haven for survival. As Homo sapiens traversed the globe they must have met with obstacles like those encountered by Homo floresiensis and both groups were able to overcome their challenges. Although we may not show genetic material, the considerations of how our ancestors survived and lived their daily lives gives an indication of how we might have met similar challenges. Even though these small people had less mental capacity than modern man, they were capable of living cohesively and managing safety, food, and shelter. Without natural enemies or significant predators, they probably had found a far more suitable niche for their population. Homo floresiensis is an excellent example of how human evolution can have little impact on a population without environmental pressure. We should expect that a stable environment would result in relative stability over time with respect to mutation and associated natural selection. Scientists were fortunate to discover these ancient people in order to be able to examine their lives that existed in one place for over a million years.