A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.
Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.
In West Eurasia, agriculture led to widespread genetic changes when older hunter-gatherer populations were largely replaced by Middle Eastern farmers during the Neolithic who in turn were overrun by Indo-Europeans during the Bronze Age.
During the 1970s, Lewis Binford suggested that early humans were obtaining food via scavenging, not hunting. Early humans in the Lower Paleolithic lived in forests and woodlands, which allowed them to collect seafood, eggs, nuts, and fruits besides scavenging. Rather than killing large animals for meat, according to this view, they used carcasses of such animals that had either been killed by predators or that had died of natural causes. Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover.
According to the endurance running hypothesis, long-distance running as in persistence hunting, a method still practiced by some hunter-gatherer groups in modern times, was likely the driving evolutionary force leading to the evolution of certain human characteristics. This hypothesis does not necessarily contradict the scavenging hypothesis: both subsistence strategies could have been in use – sequentially, alternating or even simultaneously.
Hunting and gathering was presumably the subsistence strategy employed by human societies beginning some 1.8 million years ago, by Homo erectus, and from its appearance some 0.2 million years ago by Homo sapiens. Prehistoric hunter-gatherers lived in groups that consisted of several families resulting in a size of a few dozen people. It remained the only mode of subsistence until the end of the Mesolithic period some 10,000 years ago, and after this was replaced only gradually with the spread of the Neolithic Revolution.
Starting at the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic period, some 80,000 to 70,000 years ago, some hunter-gatherers bands began to specialize, concentrating on hunting a smaller selection of (often larger) game and gathering a smaller selection of food. This specialization of work also involved creating specialized tools such as fishing nets, hooks, and bone harpoons. The transition into the subsequent Neolithic period is chiefly defined by the unprecedented development of nascent agricultural practices. Agriculture originated as early as 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, and also independently originated in many other areas including Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, Mesoamerica, and the Andes.
Forest gardening was also being used as a food production system in various parts of the world over this period. Forest gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified, protected and improved, whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Eventually superior introduced species were selected and incorporated into the gardens.
Many groups continued their hunter-gatherer ways of life, although their numbers have continually declined, partly as a result of pressure from growing agricultural and pastoral communities. Many of them reside in the developing world, either in arid regions or tropical forests. Areas that were formerly available to hunter-gatherers were—and continue to be—encroached upon by the settlements of agriculturalists. In the resulting competition for land use, hunter-gatherer societies either adopted these practices or moved to other areas. In addition, Jared Diamond has blamed a decline in the availability of wild foods, particularly animal resources. In North and South America, for example, most large mammal species had gone extinct by the end of the Pleistocene—according to Diamond, because of overexploitation by humans, one of several explanations offered for the Quaternary extinction event there.
As the number and size of agricultural societies increased, they expanded into lands traditionally used by hunter-gatherers. This process of agriculture-driven expansion led to the development of the first forms of government in agricultural centers, such as the Fertile Crescent, Ancient India, Ancient China, Olmec, Sub-Saharan Africa and Norte Chico.
As a result of the now near-universal human reliance upon agriculture, the few contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures usually live in areas unsuitable for agricultural use.
Archaeologists can use evidence such as stone tool use to track hunter-gatherer activities, including mobility.
Most hunter-gatherers are nomadic or semi-nomadic and live in temporary settlements. Mobile communities typically construct shelters using impermanent building materials, or they may use natural rock shelters, where they are available.
Some hunter-gatherer cultures, such as the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and the Yakuts, lived in particularly rich environments that allowed them to be sedentary or semi-sedentary.
Hunter-gatherers tend to have an egalitarian social ethos, although settled hunter-gatherers (for example, those inhabiting the Northwest Coast of North America) are an exception to this rule. Nearly all African hunter-gatherers are egalitarian, with women roughly as influential and powerful as men. Karl Marx defined this socio-economic system as primitive communism.
The egalitarianism typical of human hunters and gatherers is never total, but is striking when viewed in an evolutionary context. One of humanity's two closest primate relatives, chimpanzees, are anything but egalitarian, forming themselves into hierarchies that are often dominated by an alpha male. So great is the contrast with human hunter-gatherers that it is widely argued by palaeoanthropologists that resistance to being dominated was a key factor driving the evolutionary emergence of human consciousness, language, kinship and social organization.
Anthropologists maintain that hunter/gatherers don't have permanent leaders; instead, the person taking the initiative at any one time depends on the task being performed. In addition to social and economic equality in hunter-gatherer societies, there is often, though not always, sexual parity as well. Hunter-gatherers are often grouped together based on kinship and band (or tribe) membership. Postmarital residence among hunter-gatherers tends to be matrilocal, at least initially. Young mothers can enjoy childcare support from their own mothers, who continue living nearby in the same camp. The systems of kinship and descent among human hunter-gatherers were relatively flexible, although there is evidence that early human kinship in general tended to be matrilineal.
One common arrangement is the sexual division of labour, with women doing most of the gathering, while men concentrate on big game hunting. In all hunter-gatherer societies, women appreciate the meat brought back to camp by men. An illustrative account is Megan Biesele's study of the southern African Ju/'hoan, 'Women Like Meat'. Recent archaeological research suggests that the sexual division of labor was the fundamental organisational innovation that gave Homo sapiens the edge over the Neanderthals, allowing our ancestors to migrate from Africa and spread across the globe.
A 1986 study found most hunter-gatherers have a symbolically structured sexual division of labour. However, it is true that in a small minority of cases, women hunt the same kind of quarry as men, sometimes doing so alongside men. Among the Ju'/hoansi people of Namibia, women help men track down quarry. Women in the Australian Martu also primarily hunt small animals like lizards to feed their children and maintain relations with other women.
At the 1966 "Man the Hunter" conference, anthropologists Richard Borshay Lee and Irven DeVore suggested that egalitarianism was one of several central characteristics of nomadic hunting and gathering societies because mobility requires minimization of material possessions throughout a population. Therefore, no surplus of resources can be accumulated by any single member. Other characteristics Lee and DeVore proposed were flux in territorial boundaries as well as in demographic composition.
At the same conference, Marshall Sahlins presented a paper entitled, "Notes on the Original Affluent Society", in which he challenged the popular view of hunter-gatherers lives as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", as Thomas Hobbes had put it in 1651. According to Sahlins, ethnographic data indicated that hunter-gatherers worked far fewer hours and enjoyed more leisure than typical members of industrial society, and they still ate well. Their "affluence" came from the idea that they were satisfied with very little in the material sense. Later, in 1996, Ross Sackett performed two distinct meta-analyses to empirically test Sahlin's view. The first of these studies looked at 102 time-allocation studies, and the second one analyzed 207 energy-expenditure studies. Sackett found that adults in foraging and horticultural societies work, on average, about 6.5 hours a day, whereas people in agricultural and industrial societies work on average 8.8 hours a day.
Researchers Gurven and Kaplan have estimated that around 57% of hunter-gatherers reach the age of 15. Of those that reach 15 years of age, 64% continue to live to or past the age of 45. This places the life expectancy between 21 and 37 years. They further estimate that 70% of deaths are due to diseases of some kind, 20% of deaths come from violence or accidents and 10% are due to degenerative diseases.
Mutual exchange and sharing of resources (i.e., meat gained from hunting) are important in the economic systems of hunter-gatherer societies. Therefore, these societies can be described as based on a "gift economy."
Hunter-gatherer societies manifest significant variability, depending on climate zone/life zone, available technology, and societal structure. Archaeologists examine hunter-gatherer tool kits to measure variability across different groups. Collard et al. (2005) found temperature to be the only statistically significant factor to impact hunter-gatherer tool kits. Using temperature as a proxy for risk, Collard et al.'s results suggest that environments with extreme temperatures pose a threat to hunter-gatherer systems significant enough to warrant increased variability of tools. These results support Torrence's (1989) theory that risk of failure is indeed the most important factor in determining the structure of hunter-gatherer toolkits.
One way to divide hunter-gatherer groups is by their return systems. James Woodburn uses the categories "immediate return" hunter-gatherers for egalitarian and "delayed return" for nonegalitarian. Immediate return foragers consume their food within a day or two after they procure it. Delayed return foragers store the surplus food (Kelly, 31).
Hunting-gathering was the common human mode of subsistence throughout the Paleolithic, but the observation of current-day hunters and gatherers does not necessarily reflect Paleolithic societies; the hunter-gatherer cultures examined today have had much contact with modern civilization and do not represent "pristine" conditions found in uncontacted peoples.
The transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture is not necessarily a one way process. It has been argued that hunting and gathering represents an adaptive strategy, which may still be exploited, if necessary, when environmental change causes extreme food stress for agriculturalists. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to draw a clear line between agricultural and hunter-gatherer societies, especially since the widespread adoption of agriculture and resulting cultural diffusion that has occurred in the last 10,000 years. This anthropological view has remained unchanged since the 1960s.
Nowadays, some scholars speak about the existence within cultural evolution of the so-called mixed-economies or dual economies which imply a combination of food procurement (gathering and hunting) and food production or when foragers have trade relations with farmers.
In the early 1980s, a small but vocal segment of anthropologists and archaeologists attempted to demonstrate that contemporary groups usually identified as hunter-gatherers do not, in most cases, have a continuous history of hunting and gathering, and that in many cases their ancestors were agriculturalists or pastoralists who were pushed into marginal areas as a result of migrations, economic exploitation, or violent conflict (see, for example, the Kalahari Debate). The result of their effort has been the general acknowledgement that there has been complex interaction between hunter-gatherers and non-hunter-gatherers for millennia.
Some of the theorists who advocate this "revisionist" critique imply that, because the "pure hunter-gatherer" disappeared not long after colonial (or even agricultural) contact began, nothing meaningful can be learned about prehistoric hunter-gatherers from studies of modern ones (Kelly, 24-29; see Wilmsen)
Lee and Guenther have rejected most of the arguments put forward by Wilmsen. Doron Shultziner and others have argued that we can learn a lot about the life-styles of prehistoric hunter-gatherers from studies of contemporary hunter-gatherers—especially their impressive levels of egalitarianism.
Many hunter-gatherers consciously manipulate the landscape through cutting or burning undesirable plants while encouraging desirable ones, some even going to the extent of slash-and-burn to create habitat for game animals. These activities are on an entirely different scale to those associated with agriculture, but they are nevertheless domestication on some level. Today, almost all hunter-gatherers depend to some extent upon domesticated food sources either produced part-time or traded for products acquired in the wild.
Some agriculturalists also regularly hunt and gather (e.g., farming during the frost-free season and hunting during the winter). Still others in developed countries go hunting, primarily for leisure. In the Brazilian rainforest, those groups that recently did, or even continue to, rely on hunting and gathering techniques seem to have adopted this lifestyle, abandoning most agriculture, as a way to escape colonial control and as a result of the introduction of European diseases reducing their populations to levels where agriculture became difficult.
There are nevertheless a number of contemporary hunter-gatherer peoples who, after contact with other societies, continue their ways of life with very little external influence or with modifications that perpetuate the viability of hunting and gathering in the 21st century. One such group is the Pila Nguru (Spinifex people) of Western Australia, whose habitat in the Great Victoria Desert has proved unsuitable for European agriculture (and even pastoralism). Another are the Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, who live on North Sentinel Island and to date have maintained their independent existence, repelling attempts to engage with and contact them. The Savanna Pumé of Venezuela also live in an area that is inhospitable to large scale economic exploitation and maintain their subsistence based on hunting and gathering, as well as incorporating a small amount of manioc horticulture that supplements, but is not replacing, reliance on foraged foods.
Evidence suggests big-game hunter-gatherers crossed the Bering Strait from Asia (Eurasia) into North America over a land bridge (Beringia), that existed between 47,000–14,000 years ago. Around 18,500–15,500 years ago, these hunter-gatherers are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct Pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America.
Hunter-gatherers would eventually flourish all over the Americas, primarily based in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, with offshoots as far east as the Gaspé Peninsula on the Atlantic coast, and as far south as Chile, Monte Verde. American hunter-gatherers were spread over a wide geographical area, thus there were regional variations in lifestyles. However, all the individual groups shared a common style of stone tool production, making knapping styles and progress identifiable. This early Paleo-Indian period lithic reduction tool adaptations have been found across the Americas, utilized by highly mobile bands consisting of approximately 25 to 50 members of an extended family.
The Archaic period in the Americas saw a changing environment featuring a warmer more arid climate and the disappearance of the last megafauna. The majority of population groups at this time were still highly mobile hunter-gatherers. Individual groups started to focus on resources available to them locally, however, and thus archaeologists have identified a pattern of increasing regional generalization, as seen with the Southwest, Arctic, Poverty Point, Dalton and Plano traditions. These regional adaptations would become the norm, with reliance less on hunting and gathering, with a more mixed economy of small game, fish, seasonally wild vegetables and harvested plant foods.
Our results suggest that the mortality due to violence was low and spatio-temporally highly restricted in the Jomon period, which implies that violence including warfare in prehistoric Japan was not common.
Most cross-cultural research aims to understand shared traits among hunter-gatherers and how and why they vary. Here we look at the conclusions of cross-cultural studies that ask: What are recent hunter-gatherers generally like? How do they differ from food producers? How and why do hunter-gatherers vary?
Media related to Hunter-gatherers at Wikimedia Commons
The Akie (sometimes called Mosiro, which is an Akie clan name) are a Tanzanian ethnic and linguistic people living in western Arusha Region. In 2000 the Akie population was counted to number 5,268 . The Akie, like other hunter-gatherer peoples in Kenya and Tanzania, are sometimes called by the derogatory and misleading term Dorobo or Wandorobo. The Akie were featured by Bruce Parry in the BBC series "Tribe" (10th episode, 2007).Ancient North Eurasian
In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) is the name given to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal'ta–Buret' culture or a population closely related to them.
The genetic component ANE descends from Ancient South Eurasian.The ANE lineage is defined by association with MA-1, or "Mal'ta boy", the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago, discovered in the 1920s.
Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native Americans, Central Asians, South Asians, Europeans and East Asians, in order of significance.
Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note "a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia." Flegontov et al. (2015) found that the global maximum of ANE ancestry occurs in modern-day Kets, Mansi, Native Americans, Nganasans and Yukaghirs.
Additionally it has been reported in ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures. 42 percent of South American Native American ancestry originates from ANE peoples , while between 14 and 38 percent of North American Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal'ta Buret people. This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5000 years ago. The other gene flow in Native Americans appears to have an Eastern Eurasian origin. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal'ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum. Genomic studies also indicate that ANE was introduced to Europe by way of the Yamna/Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. The ANE genetic component is visible in tests of the Yamnaya people, and seems to make up 50% of their ancestry indirectly. It is also reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25% ANE admixture), but not of Europeans predating the Bronze Age.
Eastern European Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya.
After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the WHG and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. An Afontova Gora 3 female individual dated to c. 14.7 kya, is the earliest known individual with the derived allele of KITLG responsible for blond hair in modern Europeans, and is recorded in Mesolithic Eastern Europe as associated with the EHG lineage.Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by Satsurblia dated ~13 kya, and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. while the rest of their ancestry is derived from Dzudzuana dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~ 8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn't have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.Aweer language
Aweer (Aweera), also known as Boni (Bon, Bonta), is a Cushitic language of Eastern Kenya. The Aweer people, known by the arguably derogatory exonym "Boni," are historically a hunter gatherer people, traditionally subsisting on hunting, gathering, and collecting honey. Their ancestral lands range along the Kenyan coast from the Lamu and Ijara Districts into Southern Somalia's Badaade District.According to Ethnologue, there are around 8,000 speakers of Aweer. Aweer has similarities with the Garre language, however, its speakers are ethnically distinct from Garre speakers.Evidence suggests that the Aweer are remnants of the early hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Eastern Africa. According to linguistic, anthropological and other data, these groups later came under the influence of Eastern and Southern Cushitic peoples and adopted Afro-Asiatic languages.European early modern humans
European early modern humans (EEMH) in the context of the Upper Paleolithic in Europe refers to the early presence of anatomically modern humans in Europe. The term "early modern" is usually taken to include fossils of the Ahmarian, Bohunician, Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian, extending throughout the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), covering the period of roughly 48,000 to 15,000 years ago, usually referred to as the Cro-Magnon. The earliest sites in Europe dated 48,000 years ago are Riparo Mochi (Italy), Geissenklösterle (Germany), and Isturitz (France). The upper limit of 15,000 marks the transition to the European Mesolithic, depending on the region also given in the range of 12,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Use of "Cro-Magnon" is mostly to times after the beginning of the Aurignacian proper, c. 37 to 35 ka. Genetically, EEMH form an isolated population between 37 and 14 ka, with significant Mesolithic admixture from the Near East and Caucasus beginning around 14 ka. The description as "modern" is used as contrasting with the "archaic" Neanderthals who lived within Europe from 400,000 to 37,000 years ago.
The term EEMH is equivalent to Cro-Magnon Man, or Cro-Magnons, a term derived from the Cro-Magnon rock shelter in southwestern France, where the first EEMH were found in 1868. Louis Lartet (1869) proposed Homo sapiens fossilis as the systematic name for "Cro-Magnon Man". W.K. Gregory (1921) proposed the subspecies name Homo sapiens cro-magnonensis. In literature published since the late 1990s, the term EEMH is generally preferred over the common name Cro-Magnon, which has no formal taxonomic status, as it refers neither to a species or subspecies nor to an archaeological phase or culture.Another known remains of EEMH can be dated to before 40,000 years ago (40 ka) with some certainty: those from Grotta del Cavallo in Italy, and from Kents Cavern in England, have been radiocarbon dated to 45–41 ka. A number of other early fossils are dated close to or just after 40ka, including fossils found in Romania (Peștera cu Oase, 42–37 ka) and Russia (Kostenki-14, 40–35 ka). The Siberian Ust'-Ishim man, dated to 45 ka, was not geographically found in Europe, and indeed is not part of the "Western Eurasian" genetic lineage, but intermediate between the Western Eurasian and East Asian lineages.The EEMH lineage in the European Mesolithic is also known as "West European Hunter-Gatherer" (WHG). These mesolithic hunter-gatherers emerge after the end of the LGM ca. 15 ka and are described as more gracile than the Upper Paleolithic Cro-Magnons. The WHG lineage survives in contemporary Europeans, albeit only as a minor contribution overwhelmed by the later Neolithic and Bronze Age migrations.Evolutionary medicine
Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. Modern medical research and practice have focused on the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying health and disease, while evolutionary medicine focuses on the question of why evolution has shaped these mechanisms in ways that may leave us susceptible to disease. The evolutionary approach has driven important advances in our understanding of cancer, autoimmune disease, and anatomy. Medical schools have been slower to integrate evolutionary approaches because of limitations on what can be added to existing medical curricula.Frightful Cave
Frightful Cave (Spanish: Cueva Espantosa) is a pre-Columbian archaeological site located in the state of Coahuila in northern Mexico. It was occupied on several occasions during the Archaic period by what seem to be nomadic hunter-gatherer groups and is an important source of archaeological evidence concerning the ancient desert tradition of the Central Mexican highlands.Grotte du Bichon
Grotte du Bichon is a karstic cave in the Swiss Jura, overlooking the Doubs river at an altitude of 846 m, some 5 km north of La Chaux-de-Fonds. It is the site of the discovery of the skeleton a hunter-gatherer of the Azilian (late Upper Paleolithic to early Mesolithic), dubbed "Bichon man" (homme de Bichon), a young male about 20 to 23 years old, carbon dated to 13,770–13,560 years ago (95% CI). The skeleton was discovered in 1956, about 15 m from the cave entrance, intermingled with the bones of a female brown bear, nine flint arrowheads and traces of charcoal. In 1991, flint chips were found embedded in the bear's third vertebra, without indication of healing, suggesting the interpretation that the bear was wounded by arrows, retreated into the cave, and was pursued by the hunter, who made a fire to fumigate the bear from the cave, but was killed by the dying animal.A genetic analysis of the man showed membership in the "West European Hunter-Gatherer" lineage known from younger fossils of the European Mesolithic. He was a bearer of Y-DNA haplogroup I2a and of mt-DNA haplogroup U5b1h. Y-DNA haplogroup I2a probably arose in Europe prior to the Last Glacial Maximum. Morphologically, his skull was described as relatively long, with a low face and subrectangular eye-sockets. He would have weighed just above 60 kg (130 lb) at a height of 1.64 m (5 ft 5 in). He was relatively slender, but muscular (based on muscle attachments visible on the skeleton), with a pronounced lateral asymmetry suggesting right-handedness. Study of carbon and nitrogen fractionations suggests a largely meat-based diet.Koningo
The Koningo are an extinct Tanzanian ethnic and Linguistic group that lived on the slopes of Mount Meru in Arusha Region. They were described as a Hunter-gatherer society that preexisted the Wameru people in the 17th century.Mesolithic
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic (Greek: μέσος, mesos "middle"; λίθος, lithos "stone") is the period between
the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus.
The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia.
It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000 BP; in Southwest Asia (the Epipalaeolithic Near East) roughly 20,000 to 8,000 BP.
The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.
The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, and the development of more sophisticated and typically smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but generally indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic. The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as very complex, and burials are fairly simple; grandiose burial mounds are another mark of the Neolithic.Omotik language
Omotik (Sawas) is a moribund Nilotic language of Kenya. It is spoken by the hunter-gatherer Omotik people of the Great Rift Valley among the Maasai; most of the Omotik population has shifted to the Maasai language.Original affluent society
The "original affluent society" is a theory postulating that hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society. This theory was first articulated by Marshall Sahlins at a symposium entitled "Man the Hunter" in 1966. The significance of the theory stems from its role in shifting anthropological thought away from seeing hunter-gatherer societies as primitive, to seeing them as practitioners of a refined mode of subsistence.
At the time of the symposium new research by anthropologists, such as Richard B. Lee's work on the !Kung of southern Africa, was challenging popular notions that hunter-gatherer societies were always near the brink of starvation and continuously engaged in a struggle for survival. Sahlins gathered the data from these studies and used it to support a comprehensive argument that states that hunter-gatherers did not suffer from deprivation, but instead lived in a society in which "all the people's wants are easily satisfied."Paleolithic diet
The Paleolithic diet, Paleo diet, caveman diet, or stone-age diet is a modern fad diet requiring the sole or predominant eating of foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era.The digestive abilities of anatomically modern humans, however, are different from those of Paleolithic humans, which undermines the diet's core premise. During the 2.6 million year-long Paleolithic era, the highly variable climate and worldwide spread of human populations meant that humans were, by necessity, nutritionally adaptable. Supporters of the diet mistakenly presuppose that human digestion has remained essentially unchanged over time.While there is wide variability in the way the paleo diet is interpreted, the diet typically includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat and typically excludes foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol, or coffee. The diet is based on avoiding not just processed foods, but rather the foods that humans began eating after the Neolithic Revolution when humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to settled agriculture. The ideas behind the diet can be traced to Walter L. Voegtlin during the 1970s. In the 21st century, the paleo diet was popularized in the best-selling books of Loren Cordain.The paleo diet is promoted as a way of improving health. There is some evidence that following this diet may lead to improvements in terms of body composition and metabolic effects compared with the typical Western diet or compared with diets recommended by national nutritional guidelines. There is no good evidence that the diet helps with weight loss, other than through the normal mechanisms of calorie restriction. Following the paleo diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as an inadequate calcium intake, and side effects can include weakness, diarrhea, and headaches.Panhe
Panhe, was one of the largest Acjachemen villages, that is over 8,000 years old and a current sacred, ceremonial, cultural, and burial site for the Acjachemen people. The site of Panhe, is now within San Onofre State Beach, San Diego County, California, located at the confluence of San Mateo Creek and Cristianitos Canyon, approximately 3.7 miles (6.0 km) upstream from the Pacific Ocean. The Acjachemen's fished in San Mateo Creek's extensive freshwater marshes, and practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The village of Panhe is estimated to have had a population of 300 or so before the first Spanish explorers came to the area, and is still a sacred site for the Native Americans.Panhe is the site of the first baptism in California, and in 1769 saw the first close contact between Spanish explorers, Catholic missionaries, and the Acjachemen people.
The United Coalition to Protect Panhe and The City Project advocate for the preservation of the site.Pit–Comb Ware culture
The Pit–Comb Ware culture or Comb Ceramic culture was a northeast European characterised by its Pit–Comb Ware.
It existed from around 4200 BCE to around 2000 BCE.
The bearers of the Comb Ceramic culture are thought to have still mostly followed the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with traces of early agriculture.Plano cultures
The Plano cultures is a name given by archaeologists to a group of disparate hunter-gatherer communities that occupied the Great Plains area of North America during the Paleo-Indian period in the United States and the Paleo-Indian or Archaic period in Canada.Prehistoric Caucasus
The Caucasus region, on the gateway between Southwest Asia, Europe and Central Asia, plays a pivotal role in the peopling of Eurasia,
possibly as early as during the Homo erectus expansion to Eurasia,
in the Upper Paleolithic peopling of Europe,
and again in the re-peopling Mesolithic Europe following the Last Glacial Maximum, and in the expansion associated with the Neolithic Revolution.Sabaragamuwa Province
The Sabaragamuwa Province, (Sinhala: සබරගමුව පළාත Sabaragamuwa Palata, Tamil: சபரகமுவ மாகாணம் Sabaragamuwa Maakaanam) is one of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka, the first level administrative division of the country. The provinces have existed since the 19th century but did not have any legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka established provincial councils. The Sabaragamuwa Province contains two districts: Ratnapura and Kegalle. It is named after its former indigenous inhabitants, namely the Sabara, an indic term for hunter-gatherer tribes, a term seldom used in ancient Sri Lanka. Sabaragamuwa University is in Belihuloya.Sexual division of labour
The sexual division of labour (SDL) is the delegation of different tasks between males and females. Among human foragers, males and females target different types of foods and share them with each other for a mutual or familial benefit. In some species, males and females eat slightly different foods, while in other species, males and females will routinely share food; but only in humans are these two attributes combined. The few remaining hunter-gatherer populations in the world serve as evolutionary models that can help explain the origin of the sexual division of labor. Many studies on the sexual division of labor have been conducted on hunter-gatherer populations, such as the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer population of Tanzania.Wameru
The Meru (waMeru), also known as the Rwa, are a Meru-speaking Tanzanian ethnic and linguistic group native to the slopes of Mount Meru in Arusha Region. The Meru people share the same name with the Meru people of Kenya, but they are completely different ethnic groups each with their own unique history and identity.
The waMeru people are said to have arrived to the slopes of the great mountain around 800 years ago coming from the Usambara Mountains in Tanga Region. Upon arriving at the southeastern slopes of Mount Meru they were met by the hunter-gatherer group called the Koningo whom they absorbed into Meru society. The waMeru are known for their intensive agricultural practises.Today many descendants of Meru people still live in their homeland and Mount Meru and Arumeru District are named in their honor.