The Andamanese occupy mid-ocean islands between India and the greater Asia. This group has remained largely isolated from the outside world due to their remote location and hostility to outsiders. Current estimates place their numbers in the hundreds. The downward spiral of their population started in 1789 after British occupation of the islands. So far, genetic and linguistic examination of the Andamanese has not yielded any definitive explanation on their origins. Whereas some genetic information shows close resemblance to the pigmies of Africa, other genetic markers show links to some groups in Asia. One plausible theory suggests that the group migrated to its present location from Africa by following the coastline through the Arabian Peninsula, India, and Asia. However, experts are in agreement that the Andamanese represent the oldest human society on earth, possibly going back to tens of thousands of years. Sadly, the group is losing more of its habitat to mainland Indians. Their existence is further threatened by the growing trend of using this group as a tourist attraction. Having remained isolated for thousands of years, the group is susceptible to common human diseases. Although much effort has been made to protect them, pressure on their habitat will certainly lead to their extinction in a few decades from now.
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