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Sri Lanka's indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas or Wanniya-laeto ('forest-dwellers') as they call themselves preserve a direct line of descent from the island's original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC and probably far earlier according to current scientific opinion. Even today, the surviving Wanniya-laeto community retains much of its own distinctive cyclic world view, prehistoric cultural memory, and time-tested knowledge of their semi-evergreen dry monsoon forest habitat that has enabled their ancestor-revering culture to meet the diverse challenges to their collective identity and survival.
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