Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ancient Tribe, the Bo, Goes Extinct as Last Member Dies

From what I understand, the Bo belonged to the same group as the people who eventually populated Europe (and lost some skin pigment in the process). Boa Sr has dark skin, but she is among the people on earth most DISTANTLY related to today's black Africans. (The Australian aborigines are the most distantly related to black Africans.) Boa Sr is more closely related to white Europeans. Boa Sr looks like Europeans would look if they had gone south instead of north when they left Africa. Skin color has little to do with our distant origins, clearly, and everything to do with WHERE our ancestors lived in the more recent past. I understand that the human Y-chromosome evolved in southern Africa, probably among individuals with lighter skin. The human mitochondrial DNA, on the other hand, which is passed from mothers to each human being on earth, evolved in equatorial Africa. It would seem that Eve was probably very dark skinned. When southern and northern populations of human ancestors got together, a hybrid that was stronger than either parent group was produced: us. Among the eventual offspring were blacks, whites and Asians. I'm guessing that Asians left Africa with a trait they are famous for today: very little body hair. Quite possibly the extra fold in the eyelids of today's Asians evolved in the far north during the ice age.

Ancient Tribe Goes Extinct as Last Member Dies
David Knowles
Feb. 5, 2010

Marking the end of a language and an entire people, the last member of the Bo, an ancient tribe that lived in the Andaman Islands, has died.

When Boa Sr, as she was known, died last week, she was believed to be about 85 years old. Her husband had died years beforehand, and Boa, whose name means "land" or "earth" in the Bo language, had no children...

"She was the only person who spoke Bo," Anvita Abbi, a professor of linguistics at India's Jawaharlal National University, told The Times of London...

The Bo are believed to have first come to the Andaman Islands – located roughly 850 miles off India's east coast in the Bay of Bengal – 65,000 years ago. Bo was one of at least 10 pre-colonial languages spoken on the islands.

According to Survival International, an advocacy group for native peoples throughout the world, the Bo were one of the oldest surviving human cultures on earth.

Of the thousands of Great Andamanese who once inhabited the islands, only 52 people are still alive today...

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