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We want you to pay the lowest possible rate for your room. If you have reserved a hotel room through Agoda, and then show us that you could book the same room, for the same dates, at a lower rate, that is viewable and bookable on another website, agoda will either match that rate or beat it.

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The Uncertain Fate of Myanmar's Little People 22 Mar 2013 Explore | 2 comments

When you think of endangered species, you might think of saving the whales. What probably doesn't come to mind is finding a mate for the sole male member of a nearly-extinct tribe of little people.

The Taron (or T’rung) of Myanmar (Burma), a diminutive tribe with origins near the river in Tibet from which their name is derived, have an average height of less than 4 feet 3 inches. Their stature is not due to dwarfism or any genetic abnormality, but is simply the result of the intermarriage of small but perfectly-proportioned people over thousands of years.

Not a Myth

The Taron live an isolated existence in the rugged and Himalayan foothills, and their homeland is completely inaccessible for half of the year because of heavy snows. Although rumors of a “pygmy” tribe in Asia had circulated for a long time, many thought that the Taron were only a myth.


image source from: Steve Winter

The Taron are real, but their numbers have steadily decreased to the point that only half a handful of pureblooded Taron people remain in Myanmar. Over the years, the little people living in the region had often been killed or enslaved by their larger neighbors. The little people of the borderlands have also suffered during the conflicts of the last half century.

Intermarriage

Because tribal ties can be extremely powerful, some Taron refused to intermarry with their slightly taller neighbors, the Htalu. As a result, marriages among the Taron were made often made with close relatives. This led to a large number of Taron babies being born with birth defects, mental retardation, and other genetic diseases.

Because of this, Taron tribal elders decided that they would voluntarily allow their people to become extinct rather than risk any further heartbreak. Disobeying the non-procreation rule would result in banishment from the tribe.

It all sounded like a very noble thing to do for the cause of mankind, unless you were a frustrated Taron man named Dawi, who was still young enough to start a family. As a result, Dawi remained dateless.


image source from: canyonsworldwide.com

Another Tribe!

The situation seemed hopeless until just recently when a tribe of extremely short people were discovered in the tri-border area that straddles Myanmar, Tibet, and China by ethnographic photographer Richard D. Fisher. The diminutive people, who call themselves the Dulong, number around 5,000 and live in a number of villages scattered throughout the Dulongjuian Canyon in the eastern Himalayas.

Best of all, the Dulong were proven to share recent genetic ancestry with the Taron. It turns out that the Taron of Myanmar are all descended from three Dulong people who migrated to Myanmar (Burma) from Tibet in the 1880s. Even the Taron name is a Burmese translation of Dulong.

Their existence was unknown to most of the world because the border region where they live is very rugged and inaccessible, and was closed to outsiders until recently.


image source from: canyonsworldwide.com

Good for Dawi

This is good news for Dawi.

Upon learning that there were ladies-in-waiting somewhere across the mountains, he decided that he wanted to visit the Dulong to either look for a wife, or settle permanently. Everyone hopes that he will find happiness.


If you're interested in People & Tribes attractions - check out: Tai Khamti

What do the travelers say?

transientbeauty, Canada
April 04, 2013
aww they are so cute, i want to find some and bring them home!
JenTheHornist, United States
May 20, 2013
None of us who have ever been lonely can even begin to image what it feels to be this guy!

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