The 46,000-year-old human teeth, consisting of an upper premolar and a lower molar, support Johanson's view. Roberts, archaeologist Thomas Sutikna and their team found the teeth while excavating the hobbit cave.
The researchers also found freshwater mollusk shells, which are commonly associated with early Homo sapiens sites in Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia. Stone tools made from a hard rock known as chert were additionally unearthed, as was evidence for fire hearths. All are typical of early human settlements.
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Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, was at the Madrid meeting and attended the presentation about the tooth finds.
"What we don't yet know is whether there was at least a short overlap in the populations, thus raising the question once again of the possible role of modern humans in the extinction of floresiensis," he said.
Stringer mentioned that if the two populations did overlap, they might have interbred, as humans did with Neanderthals. People of European and Asian heritage today retain Neanderthal DNA.
The researchers hope to learn more when they return to Liang Bua in April to excavate cave deposits between 46,000 and 50,000 years old.
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