These relatives of modern humans stood just over three feet tall. Several villages in the area, scientists noted, are inhabited by people whose average height is 4 feet 9 inches.
Was this the result of interbreeding long ago between taller modern humans and shorter Homo floresiensis? Fifteen years after the bones’ discovery, a study of the DNA of living people on Flores has delivered a verdict.
“It’s rare in science that you set about to answer a question and you get something of a definitive answer and it’s the end,” said Richard E. Green, a geneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a co-author of the study, published on Thursday in Science.
“The answer is a clear enough ‘no’ that I’m done with it.”