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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Apr 13;101(15):5692-5. Epub 2004 Mar 31.

Kusunda: an Indo-Pacific language in Nepal.

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  • 1Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA.


The Kusunda people of central Nepal have long been regarded as a relic tribe of South Asia. They are, or were until recently, seminomadic hunter-gatherers, living in jungles and forests, with a language that shows no similarities to surrounding languages. They are often described as shorter and darker than neighboring tribes. Our research indicates that the Kusunda language is a member of the Indo-Pacific family. This is a surprising finding inasmuch as the Indo-Pacific family is located on New Guinea and surrounding islands. The possibility that Kusunda is a remnant of the migration that led to the initial peopling of New Guinea and Australia warrants additional investigation from both a linguistic and genetic perspective.

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