First mentioned by the ancient natural philosopher, Pliny the Elder, the Nittaewo are described as a small, hairy tribe of people living in the country of Ceylon, which is now known as Sri Lanka. The Nittaewo males where said to be about three to four feet tall, with the females of the species being slightly smaller. They reportedly walked upright with a bipedal gait, had short but powerful arms, no tail, and were often covered in a think reddish fur. They reportedly built and lived in platforms constructed high in trees, covered with a thatch of leaves as a means of camouflage. According to Veddhas legend, the Nittaewo processed very sharp claws and often attacked any intruding Veddhas who may have wondered into their territory to collect fruit or honey combs.
The Veddhas are a tribe numbering around 2,000 which now live a farming life style on the island of Sri Lanka and, according to there own legends, are responsible for wiping out the Nittaewo roughly 250 years ago. According to these tales the Nittaewo and the Veddhas where constantly fighting, at the time the Veddhas lived a nomadic life style and often ran into Nittaewo during there travels, upon these meetings the Veddhas where almost always attacked by the Nittaewo for trespassing on their land.
Eventually the Nittaewo began to kidnap the children of the Vaddhas tribe, it was then that the elders of the Vaddhas decided that something had to be done. They set out to destroy the Nittaewo and eventually trapped all of their remaining population in a cave, the Vaddhas then blocked the front of the cave with brush and wood and set it a blaze for 3 straight days, killing all that remained of the Nittaewo men, women and children.
In 1887, British explorer Hugh Nevill documented recent tales of the warfare occurring between the short, primitive Veddhas and the even smaller Nittaewo. Sadly the Nittaewo appeared to be extinct by the time Nevill heard of these tales. He was retold the tale of the deep hatred between the Vaddhas and the Nittaewo, and how their ancestors had driven them into a cave and burned them. Nevill documented that this event apparently happened late in the eighteenth century, which would suggest that an unknown small human like hominid not only existed, but existed up until very recently in history. The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2004 has given support to the existence of a hominid like the Nittaewo.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s British primatologist W.C. Osman Hill and Bernard Heuvelmans published reports about the Nittaewo and where convinced that it was real. Hill later led an expedition into the region on a fact finding mission in 1945. He found widespread belief in the Nittaewo’s habitation of the island in modern times. He concluded that Dubois’s Pithecanthropus erectus of Java, also known as the Java Ape Man, which has since been renamed, Homo erectus, matched the traditions and descriptions of the Nittaewo.
On October 27, 2004, nature magazine announced the discovery of an entirely new species of the genus Homo, Homo floresiensis, from the Indonesian island of Flores,. This new species of man may have lived along side modern humans, Homo sapiens. The team of scientists involved in the discovery and analyses of Homo floresiensis thought they were at first dealing with the remains of children, but soon realized that this was a group of fully grown 3 feet tall humanoids, a new species, who lived as recently as 13,000 years ago. The natives of the Flores island, were the small remains where found have legends, which took place no less than 100 years ago, of small hairy people, the Ebu Gogo, causing some to think that a remnant population of these small hairy hominids could still be alive today, including hidden populations of similar creatures from different parts of the world including Sri Lanka’s Nittaewo as well as Sumatra’s Orang Pendek.
There is no physical evidence to date that would support the existence of these little hominids on the island of Sri Lanka. Some exploration into caves located on Sri Lanka have reviled some evidence of human inhabitants but no evidence to suggest that these inhabitants where small hair covered hominids. The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2004 gives solid proof that a human like being the size of the Nittaewo did in fact exist at one time, though not on the island of Sri Lanka.
There have been no documented sightings of a Nittaewo in relatively resent times, Vaddhas legends are the only documented sightings of this creature that we have.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Hominid
• Size: 3 to 5 Feet Tall
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Local Plant Life, Small Mammals, Fish and Turtles
• Location: Sri Lanka
• Movement: Bipedal Walking
• Environment: The almost inaccessible Leanama Mountains.