Gone

In the Andaman Islands are several small and long-isolated human populations, including one that is, as far as I know, the most isolated human group of them all: the few hundred people living on North Sentinel Island.

One of these populations, as of last week, no longer exists. The last of the Bo-speaking subtribes of the Great Andamanese culture, a woman named Boa Sr (don’t ask me how to pronounce it), has died at the age of 85 or so. The language, which represented a chain of cultural transmission that may have been as much as 70,000 years old, has died with her.

Read this poignant story here. Don’t miss the audio clip.

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2 Comments

  1. bob koepp says

    70,000 years? I suppose this reflects current ideas about a group migrating out of Africa, trekking eastward along the rim of the Indian Ocean, about 70,000 years ago. But that’s a pretty slender straw on which to hang ideas about the antiquity of a language.

    Posted February 8, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Right, Bob, that’s the Southern Dispersal notion.

    Slender? Maybe. Anyway, even if it’s not 70,000 years, we are talking about the end of a long run.

    Posted February 8, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink