A long time ago homo floresiensis split off into two main groups Goblins and Halflings. Now Halflings are an odd little bunch and I was wondering what evolutionary pressures would lead to them? some basic characteristics of Halflings are:

  • are 112.7cm (3.7ft) tall
  • have human-level intelligent
  • have an improved sense of sight
  • have finer motor controls

Note: Magic does not exist in my world

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ probably the same like homo floresiensis ? maybe they consider shorter as more attractive ? and so getting more shorter halfling ? iam not the one that downvote though, i dont downvoting any answer/question, unless its pure trolling and not funny. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Mar 17, 2020 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed that the question is answerable by researching the example, but there are some additional nuances about how to break them out of their island prison that make it less of a clear-cut case of 'what research have you done'. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2020 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T only the dwarfism part $\endgroup$
    – icewar1908
    Mar 17, 2020 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Pygmy peoples exist, so you don't need a special excuse for your hobbits to exist, all you might need is an excuse for their success in becoming widespread in a world with normal size people. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Mar 17, 2020 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


Insular Dwarfism, exactly what produced Homo floresiensis

Reduced resources on islands drives smaller sizes in the majority of large animals who end up on them. This is exactly the sort of pressure that influenced the ~3ft 7 height of Homo floresiensis, and modern peoples of short stature like the Sentinelese/Andamanese. Interestingly, this also occurs in other places with limited accessible resources such as jungles (but not typically in cold places as cold temperature selects for increased body size to conserve heat).

There's currently no solid evidence that these smaller statures significantly influence intelligence in modern populations, and the current thinking is that Homo floresiensis was not significantly different in this respect to other paleolithic hominids. Homo floresiensis was also known to make comparable stone tools to other similar hominids, so was clearly dextrous.

Add in and environment where they typically operate in low-light situations, like the jungle floor or around dawn and dusk, and you have your improved senses sorted (although you may have some tradeoffs like reduced colour vision in exchange for better night vision).

A Potential Issue

There's an issue however, that if a species gets stuck on an island long enough to evolve insular dwarfism it gets very difficult to get off that island. The adaptation for small size, comparatively low population, and often a lack of predation means that species are ill-adapted to a more competitive mainland environment. Plus, physically getting off your island is difficult.

A Potential Solution

Luckily for you, hominids are some of the most resourceful species. There's some evidence that Homo foresiensis made their way to their island home via boats or rafts (given the distance they would have had to travel across the sea). If they retained this technology, and eventually found their way onto a polynesian-like archipelago (after evolving insular dwarfism), then they could potentially break out of their isolation. Especially if there's an Australia-like continent they could expand onto that's devoid of other hominids.

This scenario would eventually pressure them away from insular dwarfism, but you now have a spectrum of time in which to site your story where you can have potentially widespread diminutive hominids that haven't yet grown tall again.


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