The indigenous inhabitants of the Andaman Islands were considered by many early anthropologists to be pristine examples of a “negrito” substrate of humanity that existed throughout Southeast Asia. Despite over 150 years of research and study, questions over the extent of shared ancestry between Andaman Islanders and other small-bodied, gracile, dark-skinned populations throughout the region are still unresolved. This shared phenotype could be a product of shared history, evolutionary convergence, or a mixture of both. Recent population genetic studies have tended to emphasize long-term physical isolation of the Andaman Islanders and an affinity to ancestral populations of South Asia. We reexamine the genetic evidence from genome-wide autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data for a shared history between the tribes of Little Andaman (Onge) and Great Andaman, and between these two groups and the rest of South and Southeast Asia (both negrito and non-negrito groups).
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Vol. 85 • No. 1/3