Far from being the buffoonish louts so often shown on television and in comics, our ancient ancestors were were more like our friends, family and coworkers.
The more we learn about our Stone Age forebears, the more we realize that they were far more sophisticated and intelligent than previously believed. In fact, they were not very different from us at all.
In terms of mental capacity and physical capabilities, they had as much potential as any modern human. Although we may now be more advanced technologically, with access to better education, our bodies and brains have not really evolved very much in the past 100,000 years.
Just consider the following ten modern findings about cavemen and discover how far off the mark many of our preconceptions really are.
- Our ancient ancestors were not slouches, hunched over to drag their knuckles on the ground. They stood and walked upright, just as we do now.
- They rarely brought prey back to camp. Studies show that early men were more akin to herbivores and rarely ate meat at all.
- Early men did not carry big clubs with them everywhere. They may have carried tools and weapons, but only when necessary.
- Loin cloths and animal skins were not their only clothing. They were more fashionable than that. Sewing was a skill developed early and they wore clothes woven from cloth.
- Cavemen are often portrayed as having the IQ of a dumbbell. In truth, they were as smart as modern men are. Stone carvings, tools and weapons made out of stone and wood are lasting examples of their ingenuity. They had primitive engineering and even produced sophisticated works of art.
- Stone Age people did not speak in grunts like monkeys do. Early on, they developed language skills and were very communicative amongst themselves.
- They did not compete fiercely for scarce resources. Their world was an abundant place, with plenty for everyone.
- Neither were they unreasonable and violent. Nomadic tribes had more to gain by working together, interbreeding and exchanging knowledge and skills than in fighting. The existence of symbols, tools and art imply levels of interaction beyond brutish strength.
- Cavemen looked less like hairy apes than modern humans in need of a makeover. If Stone Age persons were dressed and groomed as we are nowadays, they would go unnoticed in a crowd.
- “Cavemen” did not actually dwell in caves. Although it’s true that humans took shelter in caves at certain times, they were quite capable of making huts or even houses 100,000 years ago.
This makes you think … maybe we should stop calling them cavemen and call them ancient humans instead. After all they were just like us, living under very different circumstances.
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