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Wire Story October 28th – Scientists announce a major find on the Indonesian island of Flores where they find the remains of six hobbit-like skeletons. They are seemingly a human ancestor, but as adults they stood only three feet tall with an even smaller skull. Stranger yet, the skeletons are only 18,000 years old making Flores Man contemporary with modern man on the island. Perhaps coincidently, there is a local Flores legend told by the natives about a miniature people called the Ebu Gogo that recently inhabited the island. Flores man or Homo Floresiensis, lived with modern humans up until the arrival of the Dutch explorers in the region. (The fossil find is a factual and receives a fair amount of press coverage as the “Flores Island Hobbits” including its own CBS 60 Minutes segment “In Search of the Hobbit”). The debate about the legitimacy of the find in Flores continues to this day with challenges from scientists such as the late Teuku Jacob. The Ebu Gogo legend lives on Flores!
Richard Staller reads the “Flores Man” announcement with great interest and concern. Richard is a handsome, young anthropologist with a robust sense of humor. Despite his intellectual talents his career has hit bottom as he loses his latest university position due to his combined lack of personal discipline, drinking and his constant womanizing. Richard has always been quick to make friends but he is even quicker to wear out his welcome with them. Richard’s field of expertise is in ancient hominid DNA and when Richard reads about the Flores find he recognizes that access to the DNA samples will give him the opportunity to prove his thesis about human origins. However, without an affiliation with an accredited university Richard has to find a back door way to gain access to the Homo Floresiensis DNA on Flores Island.
Then Richard recalls a chance meeting with a pretty brunette at a university conference. Their meeting began as a drunken flirtation but the small, intense woman tells him about a mysterious encounter she had on an island near Flores with an unknown entity. The brunette is not swayed by Richard’s charms or humor and immediately shoots down his brazen attempts to bed her. Richard recalls the episode, not just because of the bizarre conversation but when he goes to check on her credentials he astonished to discover that the pretty brunette is a well respected authority in her field of primatology. When Richard learns of the Flores discovery he quickly deduces that the eccentric brunette might know the location of the sole remaining Homo floresiensis or Ebu Gogo troop in the Indonesian area and he goes about contacting the strange Flores Girl.
In their unrelenting quest for knowledge, Sarah and Richard will unintentionally expose these innocents to the onslaught of the modern world. Moreover, while struggling with the ramifications of their Flores find, Sarah and Richard find themselves strongly attracted to each other but they have to reconcile their own, very different personalities. In the process of discovery and befriending these ancient Flores people, Sarah and Richard rediscover their own humanity and the opportunity to find true love.