Document Type

Open Access Article


Genetic research into Southeast Asia's "negritos" has revealed their deep-rooted ancestry, with time depth comparable to that of Southwest Pacific populations. This finding is often interpreted as evidence that negritos, in contrast to other Southeast Asians, can trace much of their ancestry directly back to the early dispersal of Homo sapiens in the order of 70 kya from Africa to Pleistocene New Guinea and Australia. One view on negritos is to lump them and Southwest Pacific peoples into an "Australoid" race whose geographic distribution had included Southeast Asia prior to the Neolithic incursion of "Mongoloid" farmers. Studies into Semang osteology have revealed some hints of Southwest Pacific affinities in cranial shape, dental morphology, and dental metrical "shape." On the other hand, the Andamanese have been shown to resemble Africans in their craniometrics and South Asians in their dental morphology, while Philippine negritos resemble Mongoloid Southeast Asians in these respects and also in their dental metrics. This study expands the scope of negrito cranial comparisons by including Melayu Malays and additional coverage of South Asians. It highlights the distinction between the Mongoloid-like Philippine negritos and the Andamanese and Semang (and Senoi of Malaya) with their non-Mongoloid associations. It proposes that the early/mid-Holocene dispersal of the B4a1a mitochondrial DNA clade across Borneo, the Philippines, and Taiwan may be important for understanding the distinction between Philippine and other negritos.