Part of the difﬁculty we have in addressing this question lies in the sheer multiplicity of possible answers. Here I suggest just four. Ancestors can be ordinary humans who lived in the past, or spirit inhabitants of the landscape, or mythic other-than-human characters, or original creator beings. As an illustration of the ﬁrst possibility, consider the following passage in which Signe Howell describes the myriad signs that the Chewong of Malaysia discern as they move around in their jungle environment. ‘These may be paths made by animals, a fruit tree planted by an ancestor, stones which are inhabited by potentially harmful beings, fallen tree-trunks, the place where an event in a particular myth took place, etc.’ (1996: 132). The ancestor mentioned in this passage was an ordinary human predecessor whose activity, in this case of planting a tree, left an enduring token in the landscape. But his contribution to successors was not to hand anything down by way of substance or memory (thereby converting ‘successors’ into ‘descendants’); it was rather to play a small part, along with the innumerable other beings – human, animal, spiritual – that have inhabited the forest at one time or another, in creating the environment in which people now live, and from which they draw their sense of being. Passing by the fruit tree, contemporary Chewong may be reminded of the ancestor’s erstwhile presence and deeds, but it is in such acts of remembrance, not in any transmitted endowment carried in their bodies and minds, that he lives on.