Life as a Hunter

a young caveman is hunting with a spear
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Many people wonder just what life was like for the ancient hunters and new research is helping to unravel the mysteries all around the world.

When we think about ancient hunter gatherers, most of us imagine that their existence was not much fun. Without the modern conveniences that people enjoy today, life must have been hard.

But many researchers are finding that it might not have been as difficult as previously thought.

In Australia, for example, 2,000-year-old footprints of ancient Aborigines are helping researchers to discover what life for hunters might have been like.

They’ve found that children might have often been underfoot for the adults, much like today. These footprints also show little details such as when a hunter’s foot slipped in the mud while chasing after prey.

In the United States, there are peat bogs that hold the remains of ancient hunter gatherers who lived almost 8,000 years ago.

These bodies are in such good condition that much of the brain matter is still present, which has allowed for testing of everything from DNA of these ancient people to what their last meals consisted of.

Since the 1970s the traditional anthropological definition has been brought to question by the discovery of many hunter gatherer societies that were much more complex in their way of life.

For one thing, they didn’t travel as much as previously believed. This is because they learned how to preserve and store much of their food.

For these people, life had much to do with big hunts rather than daily outings. Following such major undertakings, much of the meat was preserved for the winter.

During other parts of the year, hunting would take place as a form of practice or recreation as well as to enjoy fresh meat when possible. While many hunted to live, others (just like sportsmen of today) lived to hunt.

Complex hunter gatherer civilizations could also obtain supplies of protein through relationships with other groups that allowed trade or access to other needed resources.

Since complex hunter gatherer people lived in villages, it was likely that a typical day would involve preserving fish and meat, as well as collecting plants and berries for medicinal purposes.

Tools and nets would have to be made and repaired between hunting and fishing expeditions. This was a great opportunity for the children of the village to learn the skills necessary to become successful hunters.

Nomadic hunter gatherers were not the only type of hunter gatherer societies . In areas where water was present, hunting was complemented by fishing.

Having a nearby body of water as a constant source of food allowed people to settle into villages and develop more complex hunting, fishing and gathering techniques, as well as tools.

While these people’s lives were devoted primarily to basic survival needs, research shows that many hunter gatherer societies were able not only to survive but to thrive for thousands of years.

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Rudi Cavemen

RUDI is the storyteller of the tribe. He knows a great many tales about the animal gods. To him, nature is a friend that should be cared for.

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