A Look at the Andaman Islands.
Around the year 1290, Marco Polo sailed by the Andaman Islands and described the natives as "a most brutish and savage race, having heads, eyes, and teeth like those of dogs. They are very cruel, and kill and eat every foreigner whom they can lay their hands upon." However, in actuality two of their distinguishable physical characteristics are their small stature and extremely black skin. Andamanese tribesmen are also some of the smallest humans in the world along with the African Pygmies. (Andaman Association).
A territory of India, the Andaman Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal, south of Burma, and are the home to some of the world's most primitive tribes. Originally there were twelve tribes on Andaman, however, because of the diseases brought by the foreigners, only four tribes remain to this day with two of them resisting to open themselves to the outside world. One of the tribes is the Jarawa tribe whose way of life is constantly under threat. How are the Jarawas under threat? What makes them primitive? There are several factors that cause the Jarawa tribe to be in danger. Obviously, some factors that make them primitive and endangered are the islands" geographical isolation, disease and the colonization and forced assimilation by the Indian government.
Looking Back at the Paleolithic Period.
Scientists believe that the Jarawas are the descendants of the first Asians who lived in Southeast Asia over 40,000 years, during the early Paleolithic period (Cooke). Because of the Jarawa's geographical isolation, they had no major contact with the outside world until 1857 when the British first set up a colony on the islands. Among the Jarawas" characteristics are that they are hunters and gatherers and they do not know how to make fire, instead they have to "discover" it after lightning strikes. Afterwards, they carefully isolate a small fire in a hollowed out tree.