Liang Bua Ancient Cave of Flores Hobbits Found:
Liang Bua is a natural cave where the archeologists excavate fossil later named as Homo Floresiensis – who believed to be a missing link – which sought by the scientist for long. There are stalactites and stalagmites in the cave. In olden days, the cave used to be a dwelling place to the local people as well as the school for the neighboring villages. The cave is located at Bere Village of Ruteng sub-district, 12 km northwest of Ruteng. It is easy to get there by motorbike and truck.
Excavations in Liang Bua cave near Ruteng have unearthed fossilized bones of a human species the adults of which reached a height of only 105 cm on average. The excavations took place in 2003 and subsequent years, the remains of at least 7 individuals have been discovered. The scientific name of the species is homo floresiensis, but the nickname “Flores hobbit” has become more popular.
The fossils were found under layers of about 6 m volcanic ash and mud, and were associated with stone tools and fossils of animals, a.o. komodo lizards and small-sized stegodon (kind of elephants). They were dated between 30,000 and 18,000 years ago.
The debate is still ongoing where to place these mini-humans on the evolutionary tree, but the prevalent explanation is that they are homo sapiens whose size had gradually diminished. This is known as dwarfism and not uncommon among animal species living on an island.
The wide cave is half open facing a river valley, and it is easy to see that it was an attractive dwelling place to prehistoric man. But to be honest, there is not much to see inside the cave, some marked holes and a locked crate with tools of the archaeologists who will return to continue their research.
Yet there is a surprise! If you are willing to spend another Rp 50,000 apart from the voluntary donation in the guest book, a ‘real’ hobbit man will present himself. It is affirmed that there is a village in the mountains with many more people like him, who supposedly are descendants of homo florienses or perhaps genetically mixed with homo sapiens. The village can’t be visited, because that necessitates elaborate ceremonies.
Well, only DNA comparison can prove or disprove the genetic link of these contemporary hobbits with the prehistoric ones, but we are inclined not to believe it. Look at the picture of Theo (who is 1,72 m) with the little man. His torso and arms are of normal homo sapiens size, only his legs are small and malformed. The skeleton of homo floresienses FB1, which was found almost complete, shows that he was proportioned like a normal homo sapiens, only smaller. So it seems to us that this modern little man and his co-villagers must suffer from an inherited deformation.
Despite its famous archaeological findings, no replica or information about these findings is located in Liang Bua. Visitors can only see the massive cave with stalagmite stones, imaginating that ancient elephants, komodo and short humans (Homo floresiensis) once lived here thousands of years ago. Near Liang Bua, there are other caves such as Gua Galang (with bathing stones) and Gua Tanah. You can walk to these caves.
You could come with a guide, but can also find the location on your own. From Jalan Komodo (the road to Labuan Bajo) follow the road north direction Reo for 2,5 km. There take the sealed road on your left, through Lalong village. After 14 km on this road you reach the entrance porch; the cave is 1 km beyond the porch.