January 06, 2005

Tsunami Survivor 2

The Associated Press reports another case of alleged "sixth sense" tsunami survival, this time of five indigenous tribes on the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar islands.

"Government officials and anthropologists believe that ancient knowledge of the movement of wind, sea and birds may have saved the five indigenous tribes on the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar islands from the tsunami that hit the Asian coastline Dec. 26. [...]

It appears that many tribesman fled the shores well before the waves hit the coast, where they would typically be fishing at this time of year. [...]

After the tsunami, local officials spotted 41 Great Andamanese, out of 43 in a 2001 Indian census, who had fled the submerged portion of their Strait Island. They also reported seeing 73 Onges, out of 98 in the census, who fled to highland forests in Dugong Creek on the Little Andaman island, or Hut Bay, a government anthropologist said.

This news coverage may be jumping the gun a bit, it seems, since only 1 3/4 tribes are accounted for.

That said, assuming the explanandum is correct, what's with all the faux-exoticism "sixth sense" talk?

""They can smell the wind. They can gauge the depth of the sea with the sound of their oars. They have a sixth sense which we don't possess," said Ashish Roy, a local environmentalist and lawyer who has called on the courts to protect the tribes by preventing their contact with the outside world."

Ah yes, the mysterious sixth sense of "smell and touch". The feat may be impressive, yes, but it's not some sort of mystic otherworldly power. Come on!

Posted by anatole at January 6, 2005 08:52 PM

Let us not forget the original sixth sense, "spidey sense"

Posted by: Lana at January 7, 2005 12:39 PM