Kiwi “The Hobbit” Scientist Died at the Age of 82 (Videos)

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By Athena Yenko | July 24, 2013 1:12 PM EST

Professor Mike Morwood, a New Zealand-born archaeologist who worked on the discovery of "hobbits" species or Homo Floresiensis (Flores Hobbits) together with other scientists, has died of cancer in his age of 82, The New Zealand Herald reports.

Mr Morwood and his colleagues were the ones who discovered the 18,000-year-old skeletal remains of little humans dubbed as the "hobbits" from a cave in the island of Flores, Indonesia.

Mr Morwood's discovery was considered as one of the greatest human fossil discoveries of all time.

Mr Morwood had completed his MA degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland in 1973 and later pursued a career in archaeology in Australia.

He had recently worked in the University of Wollongong in Australia.

He also studied Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley. His works sparked the interest to study the Asian origins of the first people who inhabited Australia.

A colleague from the University of Western Australia, Professor Alistair Paterson, said that Mr Morwood was an "exceptional archaeologist and researcher, a generous expert in rock art, human evolution, and Australian archaeology. In the areas he chose to focus he was inevitably a game changer, one of a rare group of Australian researchers who made an extraordinary contribution to their field. He will be missed at the University of Western Australia, where he made contributions to rock art and Kimberly archaeology in particular."

Another colleague, Professor Peter Veth of the Kimberly Foundation Ian Potter, chairman in rock art, said that her archaeological contributions were truly innovative and remarkable.

Mr Veth said, "Mike Morwood placed Australian rock art in archaeological and cultural contexts via new and theoretically inspired ways - as few others have. He was consummate scholar; a brilliant thinker."

In an interview with ABC News, Fiona Hook, managing editor of Archae-Aus, said that "Professor Mike Morwood was a tireless researcher with a huge breadth of research interests in the Asia-Pacific and the Australasia region."

Professor Bert Roberts, one of the scientists who had worked with Mr Morwood for a long time said, "It was the adventure of a lifetime for Mike. The fact that he actually could discover a brand new species of human, I mean, how many archaeologists and anthropologists can ever do that? It really is a very, very rare treat and Mike was just absolutely overjoyed to be able to go through that adventure, because it is never to be repeated. I never expect to be involved in something as exciting again in my life."

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