There were real hobbits and they lived on an island full of giants. Here's why.

Hobbits were real.

GIF from "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring."


No, not those hobbits.

I'm not talking about J.R.R. Tolkien's funny, pipe-smoking, jewelry-hating race of smaller people from "Lord of the Rings" fame.

Instead, "hobbit" is the nickname scientists have given to a real but diminutive human relative, known as Homo floresiensis, that lived about 60,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Flores.

Real-life hobbits were only about three feet tall. What made these them so small? Living on an island.

As it turns out, a lot of species change size once they start living on islands. Big gets small and small gets big. Why? It depends on each species and each island. Different amounts and types of food might be one reason (a tiny island can't support a gigantic elephant, for example). On the flip side, a lack of predators might enable small animals to grow big.

In honor of weird evolutionary changes, here are eight creatures that got really weird after moving to islands.

1. The famous hobbits, in all their glory.

A reconstruction of what a hobbit may have looked like. Image from Cicero Moraes et alii/Wikimedia Commons.

We weren't completely sure whether the hobbits really were a case of the island effect (or whether they were normal humans with an abnormality), but the recent discovery of the hobbit's ancestors suggests that they were. Their ancestors started big, but once they got to Flores, they quickly shrank to match the island's more restrictive ecosystem.

2. While humans shrank on Flores, lizards got big. Really big.

Photo from Mark Dumont/Flickr.

Hobbits would have shared the island with the gigantic Komodo dragons. These guys earn their draconic title — they can weigh as much as 300 pounds and can grow up to 10 feet long!

And these weren't the only giants on Flores. There are also giant rats and even gigantic storks.

3. Speaking of giant reptiles, the Galápagos took tortoises and said, You know what? These guys need to weigh as much as a polar bear.

Photo from Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

The largest Galápagos tortoise ever seen weighed over 800 pounds.

4. Birds got in on the gigantism game too — few as enthusiastically as New Zealand's 12-foot-tall moa.

Painting by Henrich Harder/Wikimedia Commons.

Up until the 15th century, New Zealand was home to nine different species of giant, flightless birds known as moa, which were preyed upon by the also-terrifyingly large Haast's eagle. (Not to be a slouch, Madagascar, that island off Africa, also had its version of gigantic fowl: the elephant bird).

5. The Mediterranean was home to a tiny elephant — that could just about fit under your sink!

Image from Ninjatacoshell/Wikimedia Commons.

These guys were known as "dwarf elephants" or "dwarf mammoths" and were found on Mediterranean islands like Sicily and Cyprus. Unfortunately, we're about 11,000 years too late to have our own personal three-feet-tall miniature elephants, which is just more proof that linear time is awful.

6. Tiny hippos too!

Photo from Chuckupd/Wikimedia Commons.

These guys pictured above are living pygmy hippos from West Africa, but their equally cute, equally tiny cousins once lived in the Mediterranean. Which just, gah, Cyprus — stop making all the places that don't have tiny animals like that look bad! Sadly, the tiny hippos died out about the same time as the tiny elephants.

7. At least California's Channel Islands kept their adorable tiny foxes.

Photo from National Park Service/Wikimedia Commons.

In a surprise to no one, the Channel Island fox lives on the ... wait for it ... Channel Islands, located off the coast of California. The foxes only grow to about 20 inches long, half as big as their grey fox cousins on the mainland.

8. Cuba can keep its giant solenodons though.

A Hispaniolan solenodon, the Cuban solenodon's smaller cousin. Yes, this is the cute one. Image from Seb az86556/Wikimedia Commons.

The Cuban solenodon looks a lot like a shrew ... if a shrew was about two feet long and venomous.

All these unusual species — including hobbits — were able to evolve because of their unique island homes. But, today, many of these island ecosystems are in danger.

More than half of Hawaii's unique birds have been wiped out by newly introduced diseases, invasive species, and habitat loss — a pattern seen elsewhere too. Meanwhile climate change is changing weather patterns, destroying coral reefs, and even flooding some low-lying islands.

But we can still fight back and help preserve unique island ecosystems (and incredible big and small creatures).

By being careful about invasive species, protecting native ones, and, perhaps most importantly, weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, we can ensure the health of our islands — and make sure places for tiny, giant, or otherwise unusual animals, can thrive!

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.




Others found this to be very relatable content.








And then things took a brief turn...


...when Carli revealed that her dad had been stood up by his date.



And people were NOT happy about it.





However, things did work out in the end. According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Carli told her dad about all of the attention the tweet was getting, and it gave him hope.

Carli's dad, Jeff, told Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn't even know what Twitter was before now, but that he has made an account and is receiving date offers from all over the world. “I'm being asked out a lot," said Jeff. “But I'm very private about that."



We stan Jeff, the viral Twitter dad. Go give him a follow!

This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.

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