Hunter-gatherer groups classified as pygmies live in various regions, including Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Andaman Islands, which lie southeast of Burma. Stock and Migliano analyzed data from 11 British government and anthropological studies of Andaman Islanders conducted between 1871 and 1986.
Genetic studies have found evidence for the African Pygmies being descended from the Middle Stone Age peopling of Central Africa, with a separation time from West and East Africans of the order 130,000 years.
The Pygmy people have traditionally survived in the rainforests of countries such as the Central African Republic, the Congo and Equatorial Guinea by gathering wild foods like honey, yams, fruits and fish. Hunting is also a very important part of their culture.
There are at least a dozen pygmy groups, sometimes unrelated to each other. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 600,000 Pygmies living in the Congo rainforest. However, although Pygmies are thought of as forest people, the groups called Twa may live in open swamp or desert.
Cannibalism has re-emerged throughout eastern Congo as the last vestiges of colonial influence have been eroded during the war. Much of the vast forested area is controlled by the Mayi-Mayi, a loose grouping of tribal militias united by their magical beliefs and taste for human flesh.
The name Pygmy describes rainforest hunter-gatherer populations around the globe that share heights of less than around five feet tall.
Baka (also called Be-bayaga, Be- bayaka, and Bibaya de L’est) is a dialect cluster of Ubangian languages spoken by the Baka Pygmies of Cameroon and Gabon.
They live largely by fishing and trapping. North of the Congo, in the forest west of the Ubangi River, are the Babinga. This is also an acculturated group of pygmoids, but perhaps because of similarity of habitat they share more cultural characteristics with the Pygmies of the Ituri Forest than do the Twa and Tswa.
Pygmy goats are a small breed of domestic goat. Originally native to Southwest Asia, goats were domesticated 8,500 years ago for meat, milk and fiber and are now found all over the planet. Pygmy goats are native to West Africa and were brought to the United States in the 1950s for use in zoos and research.
Traditional explanations attribute pygmies ‘ small stature to minimizing caloric requirements and walking in dense forests. For example, many human populations live in dense forests and experience regular food shortages, and yet these populations have larger body sizes.
The government has also set laws preventing the Pygmy tribe from living in forests (their traditional and natural habitats). Instead, safari companies, mining companies, companies cutting own the forests and poachers have access to it, ultimately pushing the Baka out of the forests.
The founding group of pygmy ancestors was fairly cohesive, with tribes interbreeding until 2800 years ago. Once the pygmy groups split, they stopped interbreeding. As a result, each group evolved separately. Even today, they seldom know of each other’s existence, says Verdu.
Bambuti, also called Mbuti, a group of Pygmies of the Ituri Forest of eastern Congo (Kinshasa). They are the shortest group of Pygmies in Africa, averaging under 4 feet 6 inches (137 cm) in height, and are perhaps the most famous.
 Abantu (or ‘ Bantu ‘ as it was used by colonists) is the Zulu word for people. It is the plural of the word ‘umuntu’, meaning ‘person’, and is based on the stem ‘–ntu’ plus the plural prefix ‘aba’. This original meaning changed through the history of South Africa.