Make your own free website on
A look at Andaman islanders, who are a very ancient isolated population.

Further analyses: 2006: Some mainland communities like West Bengal Rajbanshis have shown the same dna as andaman islanders.

May 2005 : Andaman Islanders who show "negrito" physical features show unique MtDNA newly classified as M31 and M32

CCMB, India did detailed study of the MtDNA by sequencing the entire MtDNA genome of five Onge and five Great Andamanese tribal people. Results based upon the modified out of africa view, indicate that their mtDNA seems to be derived from african travellers who set out somewhere between 55,000 to 80,000 years ago. (modern humans arose around 150,000 years ago in east africa and took a while before exploring the rest of the world. ) Asked why they did move out from congenial Africa anyway, Dr. Lalji Singh reasoned they may have been weaker tribes being pushed out by stronger ones.

The detailed sequencing of the MtDNA shows they are derived from very early out of africa travellers. They branched off from other Asian M mtDNA-bearing peoples about 60,000 years ago and then evolved in isolation. Y chromosome analysis however shows admixture with other ancient asians. Soon the scientists will publish detailed studies of the Indian mainland, mtDNA as well as Y chromosome based. Sure to be very interesting---and surprising.

nov 2002: Genetic affiliations of the Andaman Islanders

A study titled "Genetic Affinities of the Andaman Islanders,a Vanishing Human Population" was done by scientists Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Lalji Singh, Alla G. Reddy(all CCMB India), V. Raghavendra Rao, Subhash C. Sehgal, Peter A. Underhill (Stanford), Melanie Pierson, Ian G. Frame, and Erika Hagelberg (Oslo). (Curr. Biol. online November 26, 2002.)

The results tend to show that Andaman Islanders i.e. the tribes who were classified as "negrito" or "pygmoid" share some links to certain communities in mainland India. Curiously, according to the scientists from CCMB I spoke to, the Andamanese are not so closely related to Tamil people, except the Kadar, but show close connections to Dongria Bhil (hill-bhil) community of Gujarat and Kuruman of Kerala. These people may be still older, and from africa a very long time ago, the first outwave. It is considered that very early humans moved from africa and kept to the sea coast, all the way to south east asia and even australia.

The andaman islanders display the old marker 174 in Y chromosome, showing they are related to Japanese, Tibetans and Hmong. MtDNA shows they are of lineage M --basically asians, not african. But they LOOK like pygmy folks from Africa? May be they reflect an early wave from Africa, and everyone in Asia looked like this in those times. According to Dr Underhill quoted in NYTimes, it could also be a similar separate adaptation to tropical environment .

(ed:--new research mentioned above clarifies the position).

Curiously they dont show marker RPS4Y common in Australian Aborigines. This is said to show there was more than one wave of ancient migration. Or the genes have been lost as Dr Spencer Wells feels.

(Indians who have travelled in interior TAMILNADU / Andhra / ORISSA / BENGAL / Northeastern states / MAHARASHTRA / GUJARAT / RAJASTHAN / jharkhand/ chattisgad / karnataka / KERALA know these "negrito" andamanese have unmistakable links to many of the the local people anyway, not just tribals). Besides there was pretty regular shipping from the east coast to burma-south east asia china....may be via andamans,, from a very long time all down the centuries.

There are two main groups living in the islands : the Nicobarese are connected to south east asia, while the 'negrito' Andamanese are made up of different tribes like the Jarava, the Onge, Sentinelese etc. They seem to be related to primitive tribal people in mainland south east asia as well. The Onges appear to be familiar with trading with ships coming in to pick up fresh water. The others don't like outsiders much. However the oldest radiocarbon dates found in andamans dont go beyond 2000 BC. So they may only be a refuge population washed to the islands around that period. Refugees from where? Possibly volcanic eruptions in SE Asia.

Check out website by a swiss based organisation for some good insights. And if you are Indian, look at your cousins and relatives ..... really long ago, in the krta yuga when people put their complete trust in nature, lived on fabulous fruits and tubers, and were happy and content....

back to index of cultural stuff, other communities too

© v ramchandra rao || email:vramrao@yahoo