Pygmies (singular: Pygmy) refers to various Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo speaking peoples of central Africa whose adults have an average height of 150 centimeters (4 feet 11 inches) or shorter. The Nilo-Saharan languages are a hypothetical group of African languages spoken mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers (hence the term The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the world's major language families, and Africa 's largest in terms of geographical area number of speakers and number Central Africa is a core Region of the African Continent often considered to include Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad  The term is also sometimes applied to the so-called Negrito peoples living in isolated parts of Southeast Asia, and occasionally indiscriminately to individuals of unusually short stature. The term Negrito refers to several ethnic groups in isolated parts of Southeast Asia. Human height varies according to both "nature" and "nurture". 
The term "Pygmy" is often considered belittling. However, there is no single term to replace it that covers all African Pygmies.  Many so called pygmies prefer instead to be referred to by the name of their various ethnic groups, or names for various interrelated groups such as the Aka (Mbenga), Baka, Mbuti, and Twa. The Baka, also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, Bibaya, or Babinga, are an Ethnic group inhabiting the southeastern Rain forests The Mbuti people or Bambuti as they are collectively called are one of several indigenous Hunter-gatherer groups in the Congo region of The Twa, also known as Batwa, are a Pygmy people who were the oldest recorded inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa  The term Bayaka, the plural form of the Aka/Yaka, is sometimes used in the Central African Republic to refer to all local Pygmies. Likewise, the Kongo word Bambenga is used in Congo. Kikongo or Kongo is the Bantu language spoken by the Bakongo and Bandundu people living in the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic
The term pygmy, as used to refer to diminutive people, derives from Greek Pygmaioi via Latin Pygmaei (sing. The Pygmies were a tribe of diminutive humans in Greek mythology. Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. Pygmaeus), a measure of length corresponding to the distance between the elbow and knuckles. (See also Greek pechua (πεχυα)). For the multi-touch interface see CUBIT (multi-touch. For the unit of information see Qubit. In Greek mythology the word describes a tribe of dwarfs, first described by Homer, and reputed to live in Ethiopia. Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their gods and Heroes the nature of the world and the origins and significance DWARF is a widely used standardized Debugging data format. DWARF was originally designed along with ELF, although it is independent of Object file Homer ( Ancient Greek:, Homēros) is a legendary ancient Greek epic Poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems the NOTE This intro is the result of careful NPOV work Please do not make potentially controversial edits to it without first discussing on the talk page 
A commonly held view is that the Pygmies are the direct descendents of the Late Stone Age hunter-gatherer peoples of the central African rainforest, who were partially absorbed or displaced by later immigration of agricultural peoples, and adopted their Central Sudanic, Adamawa-Ubangian, and Bantu languages. The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe Africa A hunter-gatherer society is one whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild Foraging and Hunting Central Sudanic is a grouping of about thirty languages of the Nilo-Saharan language family The Adamawa-Ubangi languages are spoken in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic, by a total The Bantu languages (technically Narrow Bantu languages) constitute a grouping belonging to the Niger-Congo family This view has no archaeological support, and ambiguous support from genetics and linguistics.    Some 30% of the Aka language is not Bantu, and a similar percentage of the Baka language is not Ubangian. The Baka, also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, Bibaya, or Babinga, are an Ethnic group inhabiting the southeastern Rain forests Much of this vocabulary is botanical, deals with honey collecting, or is otherwise specialized for the forest and is shared between the two western Pygmy groups. It has been proposed that this is the remnant of an independent western Pygmy (Mbenga or "Baaka") language. 
Genetically, the eastern Mbuti pygmies are extremely divergent from other human populations, as well as being the shortest of the Pygmy populations, suggesting they have an ancient indigenous lineage. The Mbuti people or Bambuti as they are collectively called are one of several indigenous Hunter-gatherer groups in the Congo region of Their closest relatives appear to be the Hadzabe, who live in the savannas east of the forest and were quite short in stature before heavy recent intermarriage with their taller neighbors. The Hadza people, or Hadzabe'e are an ethnic group in central Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Other Pygmy groups which have been genetically tested are not very distinct from their non-Pygmy neighbors, suggesting either that their indigenous ancestry has been diluted through interbreeding with neighboring agricultural populations, or that they have a different ancestry from the Mbuti. Indeed, the genetic mutations responsible for the short stature of the eastern and western Pygmies are different and unrelated, suggesting that they represent independent adaptations to the forest.
There are a number of "Twa" populations along the southern border of Angola and neighboring countries, living in swamps and deserts far from the forest. The Twa, also known as Batwa, are a Pygmy people who were the oldest recorded inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (República de Angola Pronounced ʁɛˈpublikɐ dɨ ɐ̃ˈgɔlɐ Repubilika ya Ngola is a country in south-central They are little studied, and it is not known if they are indigenous to the area or more recent migrants from the forest.
Various theories have been proposed to explain the short stature of pygmies: lack of food in the rainforest environment, low calcium levels in the soil, the need to move through dense jungle, as an adaptation to heat and humidity, and most recently, as an association with rapid reproductive maturation under conditions of early mortality. 
Ultraviolet light levels are very low in rainforests.  This might mean that relatively little vitamin D can be made in human skin, thereby limiting calcium uptake from the diet for bone growth and maintenance. This could lead to the evolution of small skeletal size, that is to a "pygmy". 
Pygmies live in several ethnic groups in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (born January 25, 1922) is an Italian population geneticist born in Genoa, who has been a professor at The Republic of Rwanda (ruːˈændə or /rəˈwɑːndə/ in English ɾwanda or in Kinyarwanda is a small Landlocked country in the Burundi (buˈɾundi officially the Republic of Burundi, is a small country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda The Republic of Uganda is a Landlocked country in East Africa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (République démocratique du Congo often referred to as DR Congo, DRC or RDC, and formerly known or referred to Central Africa|Central African FederationThe Central African Republic ( CAR) République Centrafricaine ʀepyblik sɑ̃tʀafʀikɛn or Centrafrique) is a Landlocked The Republic of Cameroon is a unitary republic of central and western Africa. The Republic of Equatorial Guinea ( República de Guinea Ecuatorial,) is a country in Central Africa. Gabon (gəˈbɒn or /gaˈbõ/ in French) is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic The Republic of the Congo (République du Congo Kongo: Repubilika ya Kongo; Lingala: Republiki ya Kongó) also known as Congo-Brazzaville Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (República de Angola Pronounced ʁɛˈpublikɐ dɨ ɐ̃ˈgɔlɐ Repubilika ya Ngola is a country in south-central The Republic of Botswana (Lefatshe la Botswana is a Landlocked nation in Southern Africa. Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia, is a country in Southern Africa on the Atlantic coast The Republic of Zambia (ˈzæmbɪə is a Landlocked country in Southern Africa.  Most pygmy communities are hunter-gatherers, living partially but not exclusively on the wild products of their environment. A hunter-gatherer society is one whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild Foraging and Hunting They trade with neighbouring farmers to acquire cultivated foods and other material items. 
There are several Pygmy groups, the best known being the Mbenga (Aka and Baka) of the western Congo basin, the Mbuti (Efe etc. The Congo River (for a time known as the Zaire River) is the largest River in Western Central Africa. ) of the Ituri Rainforest, and the Twa of the Great Lakes. The Ituri Rainforest is located in the Ituri region of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly called Zaire The Great Lakes of Africa are a series of Lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African
In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, told the UN's Indigenous People's Forum that during the Congo Civil War, his people were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. The Baka, also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, Bibaya, or Babinga, are an Ethnic group inhabiting the southeastern Rain forests For the Caribbean drink see Mauby. The Makaa-Njem languages are a group of related Bantu languages spoken in Cameroon, The Mbuti people or Bambuti as they are collectively called are one of several indigenous Hunter-gatherer groups in the Congo region of The Efé are a group of Hunter-gatherer people living in the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Central Sudanic is a grouping of about thirty languages of the Nilo-Saharan language family Central Sudanic is a grouping of about thirty languages of the Nilo-Saharan language family The Mangbetu are a people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, living in Orientale Province. The Bantu languages (technically Narrow Bantu languages) constitute a grouping belonging to the Niger-Congo family The Twa, also known as Batwa, are a Pygmy people who were the oldest recorded inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa Kirundi (also written Rundi) is a Bantu language (D62 in Guthrie 's classification spoken by some 6 million people in Burundi and adjacent Kinyarwanda (also known simply as Rwanda) is a Bantu language spoken primarily in Rwanda, where it is one of the Official languages of the The Second Congo War, also known as Africa's World War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Both sides of the war regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical powers. Makelo asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide. Cannibalism (from Spanish es ''caníbal'' in connection with cannibalism among the Antillean Caribs, also called anthropophagy (from Greek ἄνθρωπος 
Negritos in Southeast Asia (including the Batak and Aeta of the Philippines, the Andamanese of the Andaman Islands, and the Semang of the Malay Peninsula), and occasionally Papuans and Melanesians in adjacent Oceania, are sometimes called pygmies (especially in older literature). The term Negrito refers to several ethnic groups in isolated parts of Southeast Asia. The Batak are one of about 70 Indigenous peoples of the Philippines. The Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta” Agta or Ayta are an Indigenous people who live in scattered isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, The Philippines ( Filipino: Pilipinas, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (fil ''Republika ng Pilipinas'' RP The Andamanese is a collective term to describe the peoples who are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal The Andaman Islands are a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal, and are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India. The Semang are a Negrito ethnic group of the Malay Peninsula. The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula (Semenanjung Tanah Melayu (คาบสมุทรมลายู is a major Peninsula located in Southeast Melanesia (from Greek: μέλας black, νῆσος island) means "islands of the black-skinned people" Negritos share some common physical features with African pygmy populations, including short stature and dark skin; however, their origin and the route of their migration to Asia is still a matter of great speculation. They are genetically distant from Africans, and shown to have separated early from Asians, suggesting that they are either surviving descendants of settlers from an early out-of-Africa migration, or that they are descendants of one of the founder populations of modern humans. In Paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans is one of two hypotheses of the origin of anatomically modern humans Homo sapiens sapiens  Their resemblance to some Africans, it is generally believed, is due to adaptation to a similar environment, rather than shared origins. 
The name "Negrito", from Spanish meaning "little black", was given by early explorers. They assumed the Andamanese they encountered were from Africa. This belief was however discarded by anthropologists who noted that apart from dark skin and curly hair, the Andamanese had little in common with any African population, including the African pygmies. 
Short statured aboriginal tribes inhabited the rainforests of North Queensland, Australia, of which the best known group is probably the Tjapukai of the Cairns area. Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern corner of the mainland continent For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics.  These rainforest people, collectively referred to as Barrineans, were once considered to be a relict of the earliest wave of migration to the Australian continent, but this theory no longer finds much favour.  The Rainforest People tended to live in the first variety of Jykabita, a wood and mud structure renowned for incubation of plants. 
Frank Kingdon-Ward in the early 20th century, Alan Rabinowitz in the 1990s, P. Christiaan Klieger in 2003, and others have reported a tribe of pygmy Tibeto-Burman speakers known as the T'rung inhabiting the remote region of Mt. Hkakabo Razi in Southeast Asia on the border of China (Yunnan and Tibet), Burma, and India. A Burmese survey done in the 1960s reported a mean height of an adult male T'rung at 1. 43 m (4'6") and that of females at 1. 40 m (4'5"). These are the only "pygmies" noted of clearly East Asian origin. The cause of their diminutive size is unknown, but diet and endogamous marriage practices have been cited. The population of T'rung pygmies has been steadily shrinking, and is now down to only a few individuals.