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Finding the Past
The Taming of the Cat
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Early Maya Writing
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Healing Honey
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Road Bumps
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Seeds of the Future
Bright Blooms That Glow
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Space and Astronomy
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Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
A Smashing Display
Technology and Engineering
Shape Shifting
Reach for the Sky
Smart Windows
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
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Little People Cause Big Surprise

There are little people, and then there are little people. Between 38,000 and 18,000 years ago, there lived an especially tiny group of people-like beings. Two teams of researchers from Australia have discovered part of a skeleton in a cave on an island called Flores in eastern Indonesia. The bones appear to belong to a species of human relatives that have never been discovered before. The find included most of a skull, part of a pelvis, and two leg bones. The individual was only about 3 feet, 3 inches tall, weighed about 35 pounds, and was probably female. At first, the researchers thought the bones belonged to a child because they were so small. On closer inspection, though, the scientists had to conclude that the bones came from an adult. Grind marks on the teeth were the biggest clue. The teeth were too worn to belong to a child. To figure out when the woman lived, one of the teams analyzed thousands of stone tools and animal bones that came out of the cave. The new species has been named Homo floresiensis. It appears to be closely related to a larger species that lived at the time, called Homo erectus. Some researchers now think that H. erectus evolved into the smaller H. floresiensis on the island of Flores, where food was limited. But the little species eventually died out, while H. erectus continued to evolve into modern people, Homo sapiens. H. floresiensis wasn't the only miniature species on its island. There were also small elephants and Komodo dragons. In fact, the scientists found sharp sticks among dwarf elephant bones in the same cave where the humanlike bones turned up. So, our little evolutionary cousins may have dined on little elephants.E. Sohn

Little People Cause Big Surprise
Little People Cause Big Surprise

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