Sri Lanka, a tropical island off the south Indian coast about the size of Scotland and with a population of 22 million, has been occupied by humans — and pre-humans — for a very long time. Homo erectus lived there as much as half a million years ago, and modern humans making advanced stone tools, keeping domestic dogs and possibly herding livestock were in evidence 30,000 years ago. These Balangoda people, who were hunter-gatherers, were probably the ancestors of the Vedda tribes still to be found in small numbers in the centre and north-east of the island.
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