Post #29: Little People and A Lost World

Little People and A Lost World by Linda Goldenberg

Long time, no read! I took a bit of a break away from reading, sort of to regroup after having to do so much required reading last semester. Unfortunately, that break is over; my summer class starts next Wednesday. This book is the requirement for the first live session the week after next, but I decided to try to get a bit of a head start. Since the class is condensed into eight weeks, I have more to do in less time, so want to get started as soon as possible (sanity-wise, I mean). So post number twenty-nine is for Linda Goldenberg’s Little People and A Lost World, a required reading assignment for my Information Books and Resources for Youth.

I’m not going to do a spoiler space for this, because it’s nonfiction and therefore the content it covers is readily available online or in various print scientific journals. What the book basically covers is the archeological find of several small human remains, along with tools of varying technical know-how. The remains were found on an island in Indonesia called Flores Island, in a cave called Liang Bua. The remains were thought to be – and probably are – what is left of a civilization of “little people” (they call them “hobbits” in the book, which makes me smile) who were fairly smart but very petite. The species is a new humanoid species, although this has been debated to death by various people. The find actually caused a bit of a turf war, if you will, over Liang Bua, and to defuse a “difficult situation”, the cave has since been closed to further digs, so they can’t go in to see if there are more remains/tools/etc. there. The disagreement is between those who found the bones/tools and declared the people a new species, and one Indonesian scientist (who’s basically the king of his field in his country) who says the bones belong to pygmies or modern-day little people, and therefore aren’t a new species at all. It’s all kind of fascinating – sort of like what it must have been like when Darwin first made his Theory of Natural Selection public – but also ridiculous, because the two sides just absolutely cannot see eye-to-eye on anything. It doesn’t help that the Indonesian scientist took the bones and kept them for several months, and then returned them to the group who’d originally found them damaged, some irreparably. Cloak and dagger, what? :))

Anyway, it was a fairly quick read and actually pretty interesting, since I am not at all up on the archeological world. Definitely a good book for upper elementary/middle school students who what to know a bit more about the past and the field of archeology/palentology/a bunch of other -olgy fields.

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