You are on page 1of 5

Negrito

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the ethnic group. For the shrub, see Citharexylum berlandieri. For the
municipality, see El Negrito.

Negrito
Regions with significant populations

India
(Andaman and Nicobar Islands)

Malaysia
(Peninsular Malaysia)

Philippines
(Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros, and Mindanao)

Thailand
(Southern Thailand)

Religion
Animism, traditional

Negrito group photo (Malaysia, 1905).

Negritos in a fishing boat (Philippines, 1899).

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

The Negrito (/nrito /) are several ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia.
[1]
Their current populations include Andamanese peoples of the Andaman
Islands, Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta or Agta, Ati, and 30
other peoples of the Philippines.
The Negrito peoples show strong physical similarities with Negrillos (African Pygmies), but are
genetically closer to other Southeast Asian populations. They may be descended from
ancient Australoid-Melanesiansettlers of Southeast Asia, or represent an early split from the
southern coast migrants from Africa.
Contents
[hide]

1Etymology

2Origins
o

2.1Genetics

2.2Anthropology

3Historical distribution
o

3.1Andamese Negrito people

3.2Other populations

4See also

5Notes

6Further reading

7External links

Etymology[edit]
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 southeast Asia 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 occasionally been used also to refer to African Pygmies.) [3]
Many on-line dictionaries give the plural in English as either 'negritos' or 'negritoes', without
preference. The plural in Spanish is 'negritos'.[4][5]
The appropriateness of using the label 'Negrito' to bundle together peoples of
different ethnicity based on similarities in stature and complexion has been challenged. [2]

Origins[edit]

Great Andamanese couple (1876).

Genetics[edit]
Haplogroup C-M130, Haplogroup O-2 seen in dark-skinned Negritos like the Semang of Malaysia
and Philippine Negritos, and haplogroup D-M174 are believed to represent Y-DNA in the
migration.[6] The use of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) shows the genomes of
Andamanese people to be closest to those of South Asians. This suggests a relation between
Andaman islanders and South Asians.[7]
Bulbeck (2013) likewise noted that the Andamanese's nuclear DNA clusters with that of other
Andamanese Islanders, as they carry Haplogroup D and maternal M (mtDNA) unique to their

own.[7] However, this is a subclade of the D haplogroup which has not been seen outside of the
Andamans, a fact that underscores the insularity of these tribes.[8] Analysis of mtDNA, which is
inherited exclusively by maternal descent, confirms the above results. All Onge belong to M32
mtDNA, subgroup of M which is unique to Onge people.[9] Their parental Y-DNA is
exclusively Haplogroup D, which is also only found in Asia.[10]
A 2010 study by the Anthropological Survey of India and the Texas-based Southwest Foundation
for Biomedical Research identified seven genomes from 26 isolated "relic tribes" (sic) from the
Indian mainland, such as the Baiga, which share "two synonymous polymorphisms with the M42
haplogroup, which is specific to Australian Aborigines." These were specific mtDNA mutations
that are shared exclusively by Australian aborigines and these Indian tribes, and no other known
human groupings.[11]
A study of blood groups and proteins in the 1950s suggested that the Andamanese were more
closely related to Oceanic peoples than African Pygmies. Genetic studies on Philippine Negritos,
based on polymorphic blood enzymes and antigens, showed they were similar to surrounding
Asian populations.[12]
Negrito peoples may descend from Australoid Melanesian settlers of Southeast Asia. Despite
being isolated, the different peoples do share genetic similarities with their neighboring
populations.[13][14]They also show relevant phenotypic (anatomic) variations which require
explanation.[14]
In contrast, a recent genetic study found that unlike other early groups in Malesia, Andamanese
Negritos lack the Denisovan hominin admixture in their DNA. Denisovan ancestry is found
among indigenous Melanesian and Australian populations between 46%.[15][16]
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.[17]

Anthropology[edit]
A number of features would seem to suggest a common origin for the Negritos
and Negrillos(African Pygmies). No other living human population has experienced such longlasting isolation from contact with other groups.[clarification needed][12]
Features of the Negrito include short stature, dark skin, woolly hair, scant body hair, and
occasionalsteatopygia. The claim that the Andamanese more closely resemble African Pygmies
than other Asian 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 neighbors. [12]
Multiple studies also show that Negritos from Southeast Asia to New Guinea share a closer
cranial affinity with Australo-Melanesians.[18][19]

Historical distribution[edit]
Andamese Negrito people[edit]
See also: Australoid, Sentinelese language, Sentinelese people, and Andaman Islands
According to both Wells and Mason, the Australoid Negritos, similar to
the Andamanese adivasis of today, were the first identifiable human population to colonize India,
likely 30-65 thousand years before present (kybp). [20][21] This first colonization of the Indian
mainland and the Andaman Islands by humans is theorized to be part of a great coastal
migration of humans from Africa along the coastal regions of the Indian mainland and
towards Southeast Asia, Japan and Oceania.[20]
The Negrito peoples may be descended from ancient Australoid-Melanesian settlers of
Southeast Asia, or represent an early split-off from the earliest Africans who dispersed out of
Africa through the southern coastal road. The appropriateness of using the label 'Negrito' to
bundle together peoples of different ethnicity based on similarities in stature and complexion has
been challenged.[22]

Other populations[edit]
Negritos may have also lived in Taiwan.[23] The Negrito population shrank to the point that, up to
100 years ago, only one small group lived near the Saisiyat tribe.[23] Evidence of their former
habitation is a Saisiyat festival celebrating the black people in a festival called Pas-ta'ai.[23]
Vietnamese people have many racial and ethnic sources, including AustroAsian, Thai, Chinese and Negrito.[24] Semang Negritos are believed to be descended
from Hoabinhian people.[25] Ancient Mongoloid, Negrito, Indonesian, Melanesian, and Australoid
remains have been found in Vietnam.[26]

Related Interests