There are Still Isolated Humans on Earth

You’ve probably seen these extraordinary photos, but if you haven’t, go check out this Daily Mail article:

Skin painted bright red, heads partially shaved, arrows drawn back in the longbows and aimed square at the aircraft buzzing overhead. The gesture is unmistakable: Stay Away.

Behind the two men stands another figure, possibly a woman, her stance also seemingly defiant. Her skin painted dark, nearly black.

The apparent aggression shown by these people is quite understandable. For they are members of one of Earth’s last uncontacted tribes, who live in the Envira region in the thick rain forest along the Brazilian-Peruvian frontier.

It wrecks my head to think that there are still Stone Age peoples living undisturbed on Earth. I think we’ve got an obligation to future science to put a big fence around these remote spaces and create a preserve for such tribes. Obviously we’ll let them out if they want out, but we shouldn’t let any other humans in.

I’m reminded of the fascinating story of another remote, indigenous tribe–the Sentinelese.


  1. As an anthropologist, I should have been thrilled. But in fact I was sickened by the fact that these people were photographed. I have not and will not click on any links to the photos. I say the world should leave them alone and let them be unplugged.

  2. Leeanthro: I get what you’re saying, but as a marketer, I know that awareness is essential to action. If we leave these people alone, illegal loggers will probably kill them or drive them off their land. Unfortunately, we probably need to touch them lightly to save them from being decimated.

  3. Darren, I totally agree. It felt super strange looking at those photos. It evoked something, I am not sure what, but I was deadly sure I was trespassing by even looking at them.

  4. When I was in the Amazon in November my Tikuna guide mentioned that the Brazilian government had a program to help protect indigenous groups who had chosen to be on the “Do Not Disturb List”.

    Curious, I asked the guide if the isolationist groups still had contact with other neighbouring natives.. the answer was “Usually yes”. Then I asked him then if he thought that there were still many groups who were unknown.. he shrugged and said “yes, some.. but their neighbours know they are there.. so I guess it depends who they are unknown to”.

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