Tasaday Debate Continues

With more contact after 1986, questions arise about Tasaday authenticity. Several new videos try to answer the question about their history.

1992 - Twilight of Tribal Peoples: The Tasaday Experience

This video presents the voices of the Tasaday answering the hoax charges by ABC 20/20.

Major Segments


1993 - The Lost Tribe - questions

The Lost Tribe was a NOVA production based largely on a BBC video Trial in the Jungle.

Major segments


The American Anthropological Association tries to resolve the controversy

Thomas Headland edited The Tasaday Controversy: Assessing the Evidence which was supposed to resolve the debate. Many of those who originally studied the Tasaday were not included in the volume due to death, concern over how the story had been handled, or purposefully excluded. Headland concluded

". . . there can be little doubt that the Tasaday exist . . . In spite of whatever questions we may have concerning their "primitiveness" or original degree of isolation until 1971, they are an indigeneous minority people whose rights and lands should be protected . . . (Thomas Headland 1992:222).

Eight Facts about the Tasaday, according to Thomas N. Headland. The Gentle Tasaday contains detailed background about the context behind these situations. Reading it one can learn more about the actual situation at the time.

  1. When first encountered the Tasaday were wearing clothing made from manufactured cloth.
  2. The Tasaday had trade goods before discovered.
  3. The Tasaday traded smoked and dried meat with nearby communities.
  4. The Tasaday diet lacked sufficient wild foods to sustain them.
  5. Elizalde's crew fed the Tasaday domesticated rice and other foods that confounded anthropological study of their diet.
  6. The bamboo utensils came from cultivated bamboo.
  7. The photographed stone tools were fakes.
  8. The Tasaday speak a dialect of Cotabato Manobo.

Source: p. 75 in Traditional Peoples of Southeast Asia, Volume 5 of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Humankind and class interview 10/10/96.


The Tasaday population in 1994

In the ensuing two decades, Tasaday population changed significantly. When discovered there were 12 Tasaday male and 2 female children. As time passed they married and new spouses and their children became part of the Tasaday community.

Tasaday Population 1971 19891994
Full Tasaday2626
Part Tasaday 23
Non-Tasaday 21
Total2670 100

Tasaday Man Wives Children
Bilangan 2 6
Kuletow 1 3
Udelen 1 9
Lefonok 2 4
Mahayag 2 2
Belayem 2 2
Lobo 3 3
Lolo 1 4
Adug 2 0


What can we learn from the Tasaday story?

To Tasaday Topics
Updated:Tuesday, 19-Feb-2013 20:51:05 PST
Court Smith, Oregon State University