The Mursi are one of the better-known tribes of the Omo Valley, with a population of around 8,000. They are described as being a traditionally migratory community, although in reality they only move from the banks of the Omo in the dry season to the grasslands during the rainy season. The Mursi place considerable importance on cattle, the exchange of which marks most relationships, such as marriage, and their diets are also based around cattle.
They speak a Surmic language, which comes from the Nilo-Saharan language family. Their history is kept alive through a rich oral tradition of storytelling.
The most distinctive and recognisable feature of the Mursi women is wearing ornamental clay disks (debhinya) in their bottom lips as symbols of beauty and adulthood. When a girl is in her early teenage years, her bottom lip is cut and kept open with the clay disk until it heals.