I think this is my favorite member of the Homo genus (does having a favorite make me a huge loser?). This is a relative of ours that lived as recently as 12 thousand years ago. This blows my mind! I know that is still prehistory, but very very very close. It makes them the longest-lasting non-modern human. This species is named Homo floresiensis and was found in 2003 on the tropical island of Flores in Indonesia.
Do you remember the debate over this discovery and whether or not this constituted a new species? The bones support that this was a diminutive people. Some researchers argue this is because these people lived on an island and thus underwent insular dwarfism to cope with a limited food supply, but are otherwise like modern man. But there is only one skull, and the debate over whether this is the skull of a full grown woman of a unique species or the skull of a sub-species of homo sapien that was malformed because of a neurological disorder is still raging!
Images from The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans, published by Yale University Press. Photographs copyright c 2007 by Viktor Deak. Photographs reproduced with permission of Viktor Deak and Yale University Press.