A team of archaeologists affiliated with the University College Dublin, have unearthed three skeletons from a previously unknown humanoid species of extremely small size in a wooded area of Eastern Ireland. The specimens measuring between 47 and 61 centimeters are presumably from an entirely new species of humanoid, distinct from modern humans, which would have survived until the 12th or 13th century AD.
The bones which were presumably partially unearthed by a recent rainfall, and were found by three local children who were playing in the area. The young boys immediately contacted the police, believing they had found the remains of murdered children. The medical examiner called on the site, rapidly understood that this was not a modern crime scene, but seemed instead to be an unusual archeological site. He contacted the University College Dublin to ask for help, and the institution sent Professor Edward James McInnes to analyze the discovery.
The bodies of two females and one male were discovered with a small number of artefacts in what appeared to have been a small settlement, near the banks of the river Boyne. The team of archaeologists led by Professor McInnes, has named the species Homo minusculus, which means either ‘Tiny Man’ or ‘Is small in comparison’.
Various small stone Tools and weapons were found near the bodies, including an axe, two knives, a spear point and even two miniature sewing needles. These items suggest that the Homo Minisculus had only reached a technological level comparable to human hunters-gatherers from the Paleolithic period, as no pottery or metal items have been found on the site. Many bones from various small animals including squirrels, hares, moles and hedgehogs were found near the settlement, many of which bore traces of cooking.
The various dating analyses realized on the bones and artefacts have shown that they dated from somewhere between 1145 and 1230 AD, which means that the species would have coexisted with modern humans for more than 45000 years. This amazing discovery suggests than many tales and stories from the Middle Ages which were considered as fantastic by historians, could indeed be based on real facts. Homo minusculus could have inspired stories of leprechauns, elves and brownies that are common in European folklore.
It remains unclear at the moment if Homo Minusculus evolved from Homo erectus, from Homo sapiens idaltu or even from Homo sapiens sapiens, but its morphological similarities with modern humans suggest that it evolved as a separate subspecies towards the end of human lineage.
The explanation for its small size also remains a mystery, but Professor McInnes believes it could be linked to the scarcity of resources during the most recent glacial period which extended the last years of the Pleistocene, from approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago.
After the discovery of the Homo Floresiensis (that would have stood about 1.1 m in height) in 2003, on the island of Flores in Indonesia, a human subspecies which is believed to have gone extinct about 30000 years ago, this new find proves that many other hominin subspecies did indeed coexist with modern humans for thousands of years.