Almost thirty years later, an Indonesian-Dutch research team uncovered evidence at the Soa Basin which confirmed Verhoeven's original findings.
This team even went further by dating some of the stone tools and fossils using paleomagnetism (a method of determining the age of ancient sediments) and showed they were probably around 700,000 years old.
Thus, on Flores there were only a small number of mammal and reptile species during the entire During the 1950s and 60s, a Dutch priest named Father Theodor Verhoeven lived and worked on Flores at a Catholic Seminary.
Verhoeven had a keen interest in archeology and had studied it at university.
While living on Flores, he identified dozens of archeological sites and conducted excavations at many of these, including the now famous site of Liang Bua where the "hobbits" of human evolution were discovered ( from Java was likely behind making the stone tools found on Flores and may have reached the island around 750,000 years ago.
At the time, paleoanthropologists took little notice of Verhoeven's claims or if they did, they discounted them outright.
, nicknamed the “hobbit” for its small size, became extinct around 50,000 years ago – tens of thousands of years earlier than originally thought.
The new study dated layers of volcanic ash and calcite directly above and below the fossils. Flores is one of many Wallacean islands, which lie east of Wallace's Line and west of Lydekker's Line.
Wallacean islands are interesting because they have rarely, if ever, been connected via land bridges to either the Asian continent to the west or the Greater Australian continent to the east.
This longstanding separation from the surrounding continents has severely limited the ability of animal species to disperse either into or away from the Wallacean islands.
In 2001, an Indonesian-Australian research team began excavations at a large limestone cave located in west central Flores.
This cave, known as Liang Bua (which means "cool cave"), was first excavated by Father Verhoeven in 1965.
Professor Raden Soejono, the leading archeologist in Indonesia, heard about Liang Bua from Verhoeven and conducted six different excavations there from the late 1970s until 1989.