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The Negrito (/nɪˈɡrt/) are several diverse ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Maritime Southeast Asia.[1] Their current populations include the Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, the Semang and Batek peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, the Maniq people of Southern Thailand, and the Aeta people, Ati people, and 30 other official recognized ethnic groups in the Philippines.

Negrito
Negrito group.png
Regions with significant populations
 India
(Andaman and Nicobar Islands)
 Malaysia
(Peninsular Malaysia)
 Philippines
(Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros, and Mindanao)
 Thailand
(Southern Thailand)
Languages
Andamanese languages, Aslian languages, Nicobarese languages, Philippine Negrito languages
Religion
Animism, folk religions
Negrito group photo (Malaya, 1905)

Based on their physical similarities, Negritos were once considered a single population of related people. Recent research, however, suggests that they comprise separate groups, as well as demonstrating that they are not closely related to the Pygmies of Africa.

Contents

EtymologyEdit

The word Negrito is the Spanish diminutive of negro, used to mean "little black person". This usage was coined by 16th-century Spanish missionaries operating in the Philippines, and was borrowed by other European travellers and colonialists across Austronesia to label various peoples perceived as sharing relatively small physical stature and dark skin.[2] Contemporary usage of an alternative Spanish epithet, Negrillos, also tended to bundle these peoples with the pygmy peoples of Central Africa, based on perceived similarities in stature and complexion.[2] (Historically, the label Negrito has also been used to refer to African pygmies.)[3] The appropriateness of using the label "Negrito" to bundle peoples of different ethnicities based on similarities in stature and complexion has been challenged.[2]

 
Negritos in a fishing boat (Philippines, 1899)

Many online dictionaries give the plural in English as either "Negritos" or "Negritoes", without preference. The plural in Spanish is "Negritos".[4][5]

CultureEdit

Most Negrito groups lived as hunter-gatherers, while some also used agriculture. Today most Negrito tribes live assimilated to the majority population of their homeland. Discrimination and poverty are often problems.[6]

OriginsEdit

GeneticsEdit

Paternal haplogroups found in the diverse Negrito populations are Y-chromosome Haplogroup C-M130, as seen, for example, in the Semang of Malaysia, Haplogroup D*, a branch of D-M174 among Andaman Islanders[7], as well as Haplogroup O-P31 which is also common among the now Austroasiatic-speaking Negrito peoples, such as the Maniq and the Semang in Malaysia. These three haplogroups may have arrived with non-Negrito male migrations and a following genetic drift.[8]

 
A Negrito man with a hunting bow (c. 1900) from Negros Island, Philippines

Aeta men are of great interest to genetic, anthropological and historical researchers because at least 83% of them belong to haplogroup K2b, in the form of its rare primary clades K2b1* and P* (a.k.a. K2b2* or P-P295*). Most Aeta males (60%) carry K-P397 (K2b1), which is otherwise uncommon in the Philippines and is strongly associated with the indigenous peoples of Melanesia and Micronesia. Basal P* is rare outside the Aeta and some other groups within Maritime Southeast Asia.[9]

 
A young Onge mother with her baby (Andaman Islands, India, 1905)

This has often been interpreted to the effect that they are remnants of the original expansion from Africa some 70,000 years ago. Studies in osteology, cranial shape and dental morphology have connected the Semang to Australoid populations, while connecting the Andamanese to Africans in craniometry and to South Asians in dental morphology, and Philippine Negritos to Southeast Asians. A possible conclusion of this is that the dispersal of mitochondrial haplogroup B4a1a is connected to the distinction between Philippine and other Negritos.[10] However, another study suggests that the Onge (indigenous to Little Andaman) are "more closely related to Southeast Asians than they are to present-day South Asians", and that the Great Andamanese "appear to have received a degree of relatively recent admixture from adjacent regional populations but also share a significant degree of genetic ancestry with Malaysian negrito groups".[11]

 
Principal Component analysis of Australo-Melanesians with world populations (Aghakhanian et al. 2015)

A study of human blood group systems and proteins in the 1950s suggested that the Andamanese peoples were more closely related to Oceanic peoples than African pygmy peoples. Genetic studies on Philippine Negritos, based on polymorphic blood enzymes and antigens, showed that they were similar to their surrounding populations.[12]

Negrito peoples may descend from Australoid-Melanesian settlers of Austronesia. Despite being isolated, the different peoples do share genetic similarities with their neighboring populations.[12][13] They also show relevant phenotypic (anatomic) variations which require explanation.[13]

In contrast, a recent genetic study found that unlike other early groups in Malesia, Andamanese Negritos lack Denisovan hominin admixture in their DNA. Denisovan ancestry is found among indigenous Melanesian and Aboriginal Australian populations between 4–6%.[14][15]

Some studies have suggested that each group should be considered separately, as the genetic evidence refutes the notion of a specific shared ancestry between the "Negrito" groups of the Andaman Islands, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines.[16] Indeed, this sentiment is echoed in a more recent work from 2013 which concludes that "at the current level of genetic resolution ... there is no evidence of a single ancestral population for the different groups traditionally defined as 'negritos'."[11]

AnthropologyEdit

 
An Ati woman of Kalibo, Philippines in 2006

A number of features would seem to suggest a common origin for the Negrito and Pygmy peoples, including short stature, dark skin, scant body hair, and occasional steatopygia (large, curvaceous buttocks and thighs). The claim that the Andamanese more closely resemble African pygmies than other Austronesian populations in their cranial morphology in a study of 1973 added some weight to this theory, before genetic studies pointed to a closer relationship with their neighbours.[12]

Multiple studies also show that Negritos share a closer cranial affinity with Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians.[17][18]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Negritos". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Snow, Philip. The Star Raft: China's Encounter With Africa. Cornell Univ. Press, 1989 (ISBN 0801495830)
  2. ^ a b c Manickham, Sandra Khor (2009). "Africans in Asia: The Discourse of 'Negritos' in Early Nineteenth-century Southeast Asia". In Hägerdal, Hans (ed.). Responding to the West: Essays on Colonial Domination and Asian Agency. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 69–79. ISBN 978-90-8964-093-2.
  3. ^ See, for example: Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, 1910–1911: "Second are the large Negrito family, represented in Africa by the dwarf-races of the equatorial forests, the Akkas, Batwas, Wochuas and others..." (p. 851)
  4. ^ "Merriam Webster".
  5. ^ "The Free Dictionary".
  6. ^ "The succesful revival of Negrito culture in the Philippines". Rutu Foundation. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  7. ^ 走向遠東的兩個現代人種 Archived 7 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Craniodental Affinities of Southeast Asia's "Negritos" and the Concordance with Their Genetic Affinities by David Bulbeck 2013
  9. ^ ISOGG, 2016, Y-DNA Haplogroup P and its Subclades – 2016 (20 June 2016).
  10. ^ Bulbeck, David (November 2013). "Craniodental Affinities of Southeast Asia's "Negritos" and the Concordance with Their Genetic Affinities". Human Biology. 85 (1): 95–134. doi:10.3378/027.085.0305. PMID 24297222. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  11. ^ a b Chaubey, Gyaneshwer; Endicott, Phillip (1 February 2013). "The Andaman Islanders in a regional genetic context: reexamining the evidence for an early peopling of the archipelago from South Asia". Human Biology. 85 (1–3): 153–172. doi:10.3378/027.085.0307. ISSN 1534-6617. PMID 24297224.
  12. ^ a b c Thangaraj, Kumarasamy; et al. (21 January 2003), "Genetic Affinities of the Andaman Islanders, a Vanishing Human Population" (PDF), Current Biology, 13 (2): 86–93, doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(02)01336-2, PMID 12546781, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2008
  13. ^ a b Stock, JT (2013). "The skeletal phenotype of "negritos" from the Andaman Islands and Philippines relative to global variation among hunter-gatherers". Human Biology. 85 (1–3): 67–94. doi:10.3378/027.085.0304. PMID 24297221.
  14. ^ Reich; et al. (2011). "Denisova Admixture and the First Modern Human Dispersals into Southeast Asia and Oceania". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 89 (4): 516–528. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.09.005. PMC 3188841. PMID 21944045.
  15. ^ "Oldest human DNA found in Spain – Elizabeth Landau's interview of Svante Paabo". CNN. 9 December 2013. About 3% to 5% of the DNA of people from Melanesia (islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean), Australia and New Guinea as well as aboriginal people from the Philippines comes from the Denisovans.
  16. ^ Catherine Hill; Pedro Soares; Maru Mormina; Vincent Macaulay; William Meehan; James Blackburn; Douglas Clarke; Joseph Maripa Raja; Patimah Ismail; David Bulbeck; Stephen Oppenheimer; Martin Richards (2006), "Phylogeography and Ethnogenesis of Aboriginal Southeast Asians" (PDF), Molecular Biology and Evolution, 23 (12): 2480–91, doi:10.1093/molbev/msl124, PMID 16982817, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2008
  17. ^ William Howells (1993). Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution. Compass Press.
  18. ^ David Bulbeck; Pathmanathan Raghavan; Daniel Rayner (2006), "Races of Homo sapiens: if not in the southwest Pacific, then nowhere", World Archaeology, 38 (1): 109–132, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.534.3176, doi:10.1080/00438240600564987, ISSN 0043-8243, JSTOR 40023598

Further readingEdit

  • Evans, Ivor Hugh Norman. The Negritos of Malaya. Cambridge [Eng.]: University Press, 1937.
  • Benjamin, Geoffrey. 2013. ‘Why have the Peninsular “Negritos” remained distinct?’ Human Biology 85: 445–484. [ISSN 0018-7143 (print), 1534-6617 (online)]
  • Garvan, John M., and Hermann Hochegger. The Negritos of the Philippines. Wiener Beitrage zur Kulturgeschichte und Linguistik, Bd. 14. Horn: F. Berger, 1964.
  • Hurst Gallery. Art of the Negritos. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Hurst Gallery, 1987.
  • Khadizan bin Abdullah, and Abdul Razak Yaacob. Pasir Lenggi, a Bateq Negrito Resettlement Area in Ulu Kelantan. Pulau Pinang: Social Anthropology Section, School of Comparative Social Sciences, Universití Sains Malaysia, 1974.
  • Mirante, Edith (2014). The Wind in the Bamboo: Journeys in Search of Asia's 'Negrito' Indigenous Peoples. Bangkok, Orchid Press.
  • Schebesta, P., & Schütze, F. (1970). The Negritos of Asia. Human relations area files, 1-2. New Haven, Conn: Human Relations Area Files.
  • Armando Marques Guedes (1996). Egalitarian Rituals. Rites of the Atta hunter-gatherers of Kalinga-Apayao, Philippines, Social and Human Sciences Faculty, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
  • Zell, Reg. About the Negritos: A Bibliography. edition blurb, 2011.
  • Zell, Reg. Negritos of the Philippines. The People of the Bamboo - Age - A Socio-Ecological Model. edition blurb, 2011.
  • Zell, Reg, John M. Garvan. An Investigation: On the Negritos of Tayabas. edition blurb, 2011.

External linksEdit