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In breaking news all over local TV here, Australian scientists have announced that the ‘Hobbit’ species found on the Indonesian island of Flores may actually have been genetically mutated due to chronic use of nicotine. Head researcher at Newcastle University, April Dujour, said that excavations of the Flores lowlands had revealed that nicotine was the major crop on the island – but that no trace remained, suggesting that extreme use of the plant species, probably by smoking, meant that it had become extinct (much like the treeless Easter Island).

Working with a well-known genetic biologist, the Australian team has surmised that the endemic abuse of the nicotine crop led to stunted growth in the population. Dujour’s former lecturer was stunned by the idea of nicotine in Indonesia: “This is a world first for April,” he said. “It’s a big day for her career.” A peer-reviewed article is said to be imminent, in which the astounding claims are accompanied by another – that the bread baked by the primitive people lacked a crust, and as such caused the ‘Hobbit’ hair to be completely straight and free of curls.

Update: This story is of course our regular April Fools Day joke. We all know the real story about Flores – that they are the archaic super-race from which jockeys are descended. If you really want some interesting news, how about the fact that Dan Brown is now saying that Kashmir belongs to the U.S., or the apocalyptic revelation that Maynard James Keenan has left TOOL as he has recently found Jesus. Fascinating news stories over the weekend, that’s for sure.