Friday, May 30, 2008

The Anthropologist in me is tickled pink!

(For those of you who don't know, I majored in Anthro in university, so there actually is an anthropologist lurking around in me somewhere...)

A tribe of people in South America have been photographed who have NEVER had contact with the outside world! We don't even know what they call themselves! They've never even seen a plane before! (Ergo, the red warpaint they're wearing, upon seeing the plane fly low overhead for the second time in a few hours). Can you imagine what would be going through their minds right now? Pretty much, "What the heck is that thing in the air???", and "Let's defend ourselves!".

Apparently their habitat is going to be endangered by encroaching logging in the Amazon rainforest, and these photos were released to give yet another reason to put the kibosh on deforestation in that region.

Part of me wants to run right in there and study the heck out of these people, and learn more about how indigenous people adapt to their environment (teaching us how we likely lived ourselves thousands of years ago). But the other part of me wants to leave them pristine, and unaware of the outside world - because once contact is made, it's made. There's no going back. They would be forever changed by the experience - if they survived it.

The BBC has tons of info on this fascinating discovery. Here's the main article, here's the amazing group of photos of the tribe from the air, and here's a great little article on what we can deduce about their way of life from the photos taken.

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