Category Archives: Hunter-gatherer

When humans were prey for hyenas

Human ancestors had rudimentary control of fire some 1.5 – 2 million years ago, and that was the single event that led to the inevitable journey to becoming the dominant species. But though fire made dominance inevitable, it was a slow process. A new paper shows that tooth marks on the bones of a 500,000 year old hominin were caused by a large carnivore and indicating that the hominin had been consumed. Continue reading

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For Nenderthals as well as for hunter-gatherers it was absorption and not extinction

Two new studies suggest that it was interbreeding and absorption into larger populations and not some dead-end extinctions that caused Neanderthals and later hunter-gatherers to disappear. Continue reading

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Polynesian ancestors 3,000 years ago were hunter-gatherers rather than farmers

Early Lapita settlers from 3,000 years ago ate reef fish, marine turtles, fruit bats, free-range pigs and chickens, rather than primarily relying on growing crops for human food and animal fodder. Continue reading

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Beringia was inhabited for 500 generations

The now submerged land bridge (Beringia) between Asia and North America was not just a little strip of land across which the ancestors of native Americans quickly moved across. It was not just a rest stop for the journey to America. The “bridge” was a vast area of land and itself served as a fairly permanent habitat and refuge for ancient humans for around 10,000 years (500 generations) from 25,000 to 15,000 years ago. Continue reading

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Why the hunters moved down from the hills

But this was a period of great change – environmental and social. The northern hemisphere was coming out of a glacial age, nomadic hunter-gatherers were “settling down” and the age of agriculture was approaching. I can imagine that dwellings at lower altitude would have been more suitable for continuous occupation whereas the caves and grottos at high altitude were probably only occupied seasonally. Continue reading

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SE Asia rainforests shaped by humans for 11,000 years

A new study comes to the brave conclusion – based on ancient pollen samples which contain charcoal and and therefore suggest that land was cleared and planted – that the rain forests of SE Asia have been “managed” by humans since about 11,000 years ago! Continue reading

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Light skin genes in Europe less than 7,000 years old

The first European genome sequence that predates the appearance of agriculture from skeletons in La Brana show that these hunter gatherers had dark skin and blue eyes. The dark skin is a very interesting finding, as light skin is nearly universal across Europe today. These results suggest that the light skin seen across Europe today is a development of the last at least 7,000 years. Continue reading

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