Manuel Elizalde Jr., a wealthy Filipino official who caused a sensation in 1971 when he announced that he had discovered a tiny tribe of people who had lived for thousands of years in blissful Stone Age isolation, died on Saturday at his home in Makati, a Manila suburb. He was 60, and some scientists say he was one of the world’s master hoaxers.
To the wave of researchers and others who descended on Mindanao in the early 1970s, the 24 people Elizalde said he had found there seemed too good to be true.
Calling themselves Tasadays, they were hunter-gatherers who never ventured far from their caves, had no word for “war,” went around naked or in leaves, lived in perfect harmony and said they had assumed they were the only people in the world.
The question is far from settled as the debate over the tribe’s origins still rages.