The People

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Papua New Guinea contains one of the most diverse populations on Earth.  Over 850 languages are spoken in a country that contains approximately five million people.  Each culture has its own unique stories, beliefs, ceremonies and costumes. People typically live in villages, or dispersed hamlets and rely on farming such crops as yams and taro.

The northern region of Papua New Guinea, the area where Dr. George Morren conducted his research, consists of winding rivers, tropical forests and rugged terrain.  It is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.  This is also home to the Sepik River (one of the most unpopulated rivers in the world and the longest river on the island of New Guinea).

Life in the Sepik region revolves around the River.  Men paddle narrow dugout canoes full of goods for trade, and woman fish and make sago.  People of this ecologically diverse region speak more than 250 languages and are intertwined in systems of trade and cultural interaction. The crocodile is highly regarded in the Sepik River area and worshipped as the water spirit.