The Dog-Faced Tribe of Old


Early explorers met many races of humanity around the globe.  More often than not the indigenous people greeted them with curiosity and hospitality. 

Most bad encounters were dependent on the explorers' attitude on approaching foreign people they could not communicate with. 

In the case of Marco Polo, some of his encounters were exceptional and the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal near India was perhaps the single most unusual report of locals. 

Marco Polo reported about his travels - 

Angamanain is a very large Island. The people are without a king and are Idolaters, and no better than wild beasts. And I assure you all the men of this Island of Angamanain have heads like dogs, and teeth and eyes likewise; in fact, in the face they are all just like big mastiff dogs! They have a quantity of spices; but they are a most cruel generation, and eat everybody that they can catch, if not of their own race. They live on flesh and rice and milk, and have fruits different from any of ours.

Now that I have told you about this race of people, as indeed it was highly proper to do in this our book, I will go on to tell you about an Island called Seilan, as you shall hear.

As exaggerated as that sounded, there might have still been some very strong characteristics from an archaic human that was part of the gene pool in the Andaman Islands that showed in an isolated population.

LINK:  The research produces a new branch on the tree of human evolution, starting with an Unknown Ancestor some 600,000 years ago. Homo sapiens and Neanderthals split off from that Ancestor, and Denisovans later split off from the Neanderthal branch.

Thing is, it now seems that a third species, the newly discovered one, also split off from that Unknown Ancestor.

Later in the course of history, Homo sapiens who left Africa mated with Neanderthals. Members of that human-Neanderthal mix continued on to Asia, where they split into a host of peoples. And at least some of those people, the ancestors of the Andaman islanders checked in this study, mated with the third ancestral species.

Flash forward to now: The only population not to contain any Neanderthal or Denisovan genes (insofar as has been tested so far) are Africans. In other words, the interspecies sex with both happened after the split between the early Homo sapiens who left Africa and those who remained.

Now we have evidence of a third human species interbreeding with man – with a very specific group of men. Or at least that's all that has survived. "This ancestry is absent from Europeans and East Asians," writes the team in their paper.

The beautiful people of this island hardly represent anything that Marco Polo described, except the possibility that in the 1200s when Marco Polo was exploring, an isolated tribe that had not seen outsiders might have existed and that tribe could have held a higher percentage of that missing man's genes. 

It is also possible that consanguinity created facial deformities or even things like dental hyperplasia might have created a forward-thrust face. 

This woman (Julia Pastrano) had hypertrichosis and resulting dental hyperplasia that often occurs in tandem. For anyone who had not seen such a defect, she would indeed be considered dog-faced.

It's interesting to note unusual ancient people that appear as if deposited around the globe on islands and left there. Aborigines of Australia, Gaunches of the Canary Islands, and these people of the Andaman Islands, for example. The islanders of the Pacific have  traces of an unknown man in their DNA, as well. In fact, the blond hair that is in 10% of the natives on the Solomon Islands is not from European blond hair lines, but an unknown source. The Guanches of the Canary Islands had blonds among them. 

Was there an early race that took to the seas much earlier than any of us imagined, settling around the globe and leaving their people in isolation to evolve into the unique indigenous people we see today? 

This mystery man might hold some very interesting secrets. Any archaeological finds in the Andaman Islands might also shed some light on a potential sea-faring man that left unusual traits in a population. A Chinese explorer also described such a tribe of dog-faced people at Lake Baikal in Siberia. Could this be the launching point of this ancient man down to the South Pacific and beyond? 

Sometimes exceptional legends have some truth behind them. Is it a coincidence unusual people were reported on an island that has DNA traces of an unknown man? One we have no idea what he looked like or acted like? 

We can just hope that anthropologists continue to open their minds about our origins and how varied it was from China to Africa to the South Pacific and beyond. 

The picture above is of a tribe member of the Sentinelese. They protect their island. In this photo, following the tsunami, a tribe member throws a spear at a helicopter. They have been known to kill anyone who approaches their land.

This tribe might be super protective of others coming in and perhaps were at one time victims of the vicious tribe Marco Polo reported.

The tribe is listed as the most isolated tribe in the world. They truly want to be left alone. We know from ancient explorers' experiences, that a shoreline to an explorer is irresistable.

Who was the dog-faced tribe? We don't really know, but Marco Polo was not the only one to report encounters.

In the 1200s, an army of Ogedei Khan supposedly encountered a dog-faced tribe at Lake Baikal in Russia.

LINK: Around 400 B.C. the Greek physician Ctesias wrote the following passages (translated to English from Greek), describing the tribes of Cynocephalus.

"They speak no language, but bark like dogs, and in this manner make themselves understood by each other. Their teeth are larger than those of dogs, their nails like those of these animals, but longer and rounder. They inhabit the mountains as far as the river Indus. Their complexion is swarthy. They are extremely just, like the rest of the Indians with whom they associate. They understand the Indian language but are unable to converse, only barking or making signs with their hands and fingers by way of reply... They live on raw meat. They number about 120,000.

"The Cynocephali living on the mountains do not practice any trade but live by hunting. When they have killed an animal they roast it in the sun. They also rear numbers of sheep, goats, and asses, drinking the milk of the sheep and whey made from it. They eat the fruit of the Siptakhora, whence amber is procured, since it is sweet. They also dry it and keep it in baskets, as the Greeks keep their dried grapes. They make rafts which they load with this fruit together with well-cleaned purple flowers and 260 talents of amber, with the same quantity of the purple dye, and thousand additional talents of amber, which they send annually to the king of India. "They exchange the rest for bread, flour, and cotton stuffs with the Indians, from whom they also buy swords for hunting wild beasts, bows, and arrows, being very skillful in drawing the bow and hurling the spear. They cannot be defeated in war, since they inhabit lofty and inaccessible mountains. Every five years the king sends them a present of 300,000 bows, as many spears, 120,000 shields, and 50,000 swords.

"They do not live in houses, but in caves. They set out for the chase with bows and spears, and as they are very swift of foot, they pursue and soon overtake their quarry. The women have a bath once a month, the men do not have a bath at all, but only wash their hands. They anoint themselves three times a month with oil made from milk and wipe themselves with skins. The clothes of men and women alike are not skins with the hair on, but skins tanned and very fine. The richest wear linen clothes, but they are few in number. They have no beds, but sleep on leaves or grass. He who possesses the greatest number of sheep is considered the richest, and so in regard to their other possessions. All, both men and women, have tails above their hips, like dogs, but longer and more hairy.

"They are just, and live longer than any other men, 170, sometimes 200 years."

St. Christopher, interestingly, was portrayed as a 7-1/2-foot (giant?) man from dog-headed tribe. His image is often shown with a dog head. He was said to have devoted his life to Christ by helping travelers across a river. Later, he was appointed as the patron saint of travelers. 

There are enough dog-faced tribe themes around the world to begin to wonder. Here in America, we have in our forests, a tall being with a dog faced often referred to as the Dogman. 

If St. Christopher was in anyway dog-faced, his reported size also seems to go with the concept of a tall powerful tribe. If someone had not encountered a giant people before, might they assume they are dog-faced because their face is pushed forward from a dominant trait or possibly hairy?

This zoomed in shot (above) of Patty from the famous Patterson Film shows someone that could be mistaken for a mastiff-looking human-beast by an unknowing explorer.


There are lots of aspects to consider in the search for the dog-faced people, but we can agree that many explorers appeared to encounter some highly unusual-looking people while traveling the globe.