The inhabitants are of the Negrito type, with curly or crisp and bushy hair; those of the west coast have come more into communication with the traders of other islands and are fairly civilized.
These last three have Negrito characteristics, and probably represent a race far older even than the ancient Ka.
Whether the two families have a common ancestor in the negritos of Malaysia and the Indian archipelago, or whether Papuan and Negrito are alike branches of an aboriginal African race, is a problem yet to be solved.
No race of true Negrito type has been found.
The Kubus, a savage forest people of the highlands, were believed by some to be Negrito owing to the frizzled character of their hair, but it appears certain that they are Malayan.
More than three-fourths of the wild population is included in the Moro, Igorot and Negrito tribes.
There is, however, in Travancore, on the mainland, a low-caste "Veda" tribe, nearly black, with wavy or frizzly hair, and now speaking a Malayalim (Dravidian) dialect (Jagor), who probably approach nearer than the insular Veddahs to the aboriginal pre-Dravidian "negrito" element of southern India and Malaysia.
But Papuans of mixed blood are found throughout the island (unless the Karons be of Negrito stock), and from Flores in the west to Fiji in the east.