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About the book
  • Published: 28 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742745985
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336
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The Discovery of the Hobbit


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A modern-day Raiders of the Lost Ark -- the story of the discovery of an entirely new species of human.

A modern-day Raiders of the Lost Ark -- the story of the discovery of an entirely new species of human.

When in October 2004 the prestigious science publication Nature published the discovery of a 3-foot (1-metre) tall hominid skeleton, the world's press went wild. Hailed as one of the most important scientific discoveries for years, the 'Hobbit', as the adult female came to be known, entered the history books. But until now none of the members of the original archaeological team have told their story in book form.

The Discovery of the Hobbit, written by the orchestrator of the dig, describes in vivid detail what the project was aiming to achieve, what it was like to stumble across such a find, what it means for our understanding of the history of the human race and how the whole enterprise nearly collapsed under the weight of Australia's fractious relationship with Indonesia.

Featuring a bizarre island where evolution ran amok in isolation from the rest of the world and an eerie myth that may well be grounded in truth -- not to mention the reasons why other 'hobbits' may well be alive and undiscovered elsewhere in Indonesia, this remarkable book is an adventure story and a fascinating investigation, a moving and personal narrative and a landmark celebration of scientific endeavour.

  • Pub date: 28 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781742745985
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the Authors

Mike Morwood

Mike Morwood first graduated in archaeology from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. After completing a doctorate at the Australian National University in 1980, he undertook archaeological projects of increasing size and complexity in the Queensland Highlands, Cape York Peninsula and the Kimberley, but more recently has focussed more on multi-disciplinary research in Indonesia with Indonesian, Australian, Dutch and American colleagues.

Mike has also taught and published extensively on aspects of Australian and Southeast Asian archaeology, and his previous books include Visions from the Past: the archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art.

Penny Van Oosterzee

Penny van Oosterzee is the author of a number of books, including the award-winning The Centre: the natural history of Australia's desert regions, and Where Worlds Collide: the Wallace Line, both of which won the Eureka Science Book Prize.

Based in Darwin in the Northern Territory, Penny has had a diverse career in science broadcasting, ecotourism and environmental consulting.


Praise for The Discovery of the Hobbit

“'The evolutionary jewel that, once and for all, sets human beings firmly in the animal kingdom, where scientifically they belong' - Desmond Morris”

“'The most astonishing discovery in any field of science for over a decade' - Jared Diamond”

“‘It will seep into our world view in the same way as when Copernicus announced that the Earth was going around the Sun. It's bound to change the way we think about ourselves, that is not just going to affect religion but ethics and our sense of human worth and human destiny' - Paul Davies”

“‘One of the very most astonishing discoveries that I've seen in my lifetime... just amazing' - Tim Flannery”


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