Every once in a while you hear or read something that just makes your jaw drop. The April 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine cover features a story that was reported late last year, about newly discovered fossil remnants of what may be a new branch on the human family tree. These “little people” were discovered on an Indonesian island – far off the African “beaten path” of hominin fossil discoveries – and (what originally got my attention) they were only about three feet tall.
Otherwise known as “elf size” – or less, even!
So this was interesting, because, well, y’know, Elfquest is about these creatures we call elves who are smaller than modern day humans and all. Also, it’s always way cool to learn that the history of this World of One Moon we inhabit is more varied and mysterious and wonderful than we often imagine.
Of more interest was the information in the National Geographic article that these wee folk lived only about 18,000 years ago – practically yesterday in geological terms. So they could have co-existed with humans who were on a par, evolutionally speaking, with the humans who greeted the High Ones when they first set foot on the World of Two Moons. What really notched up the “whoa!” factor, though, was the following: …Hobbit (the name given to the first fossil discovered) is our first glimpse of an entirely new human species … Her kind probably evolved from an earlier Homo Erectus population, likely the makers of the tools (an earlier archaeologist) found. Her ancestors may have stood several feet taller at first. But over hundreds of thousands of years of isolation … they dwindled in size. … It’s breathtaking to think that modern humans may still have a folk memory of sharing the planet with another species … like us, but unfathomably different.
We’ve always tried to keep a touch of scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) grounding in the fantasy that is Elfquest – but we had no idea that our educated guess about the High Ones diminshing in size would find provisional backing in archaeological discoveries made a quarter-century after we started telling the EQ tale! And as Wendy has often asked (of the World of Two Moons, but hey, you never know…), did the elves visit because humans believed in them? Or do humans believe in them because the elves visited?