Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Pygmy

Member of a population characterized by being markedly below the average height of other human populations. Pygmoid populations average under 1.5 m in stature, and are usually highly melanized and have woolly hair. Synonymous with Negrillo and Negrito. Among the pygmoid populations of the world are included the Bushmen of South Africa, the Efe and other groups in the Congo Basin, the Andamanese of India, the Semang on the Malay Peninsula, the Aeta in the Philippines, and the Tapiro and Aiome in New Guinea. Small body size is thought to be a very efficient adaptation to hot and humid tropical environments.

See the Negrito hypothesis and nanism.

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