Hunter-Gatherer Societies

In the old stone age, people were nomads. People who live a nomadic lifestyle don’t settle down in one place. They move around, taking their whole life with them! Some people live like this today, but in the old stone age nomads were highly mobile.

Why would a group of people move around so much? It seems like the easier option would be to stay put. However, in the old stone age, there were no consistent sources of food. There were no supermarkets, modes of transportation, etc. Life was entirely different. People actually had to follow their food in order to survive!

Hunter-gatherers foraged for food. That is, they searched for it. They followed animals to hunt and looked for fresh sources of plant-based nutrition. So, because these peoples food supply depended on hunting animals and gathering plant foods, they were called hunter-gatherers.

Men and women had different responsibilities when it came to securing food. Men were in charge of hunting large mammals, seafood, and birds. Women were in charge of gathering grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, roots, eggs, grubs, small animals, and insects. By dividing the work, this way, hunter-gatherers were able to have a nutritious diet with variety.

Hunter-gatherers developed tools and methods for getting their food. Prehistoric hunters of this society made special spears which made it possible for them to successfully hunt and kill animals from greater distances. Gatherers had digging sticks which helped them to pick root vegetables. Root vegetables and tubers can be very difficult to harvest because the roots run deep and can be very strong. These tools made it possible to pry the plants away from the soil at the base of the roots.

There were many different materials used for tools. Early humans also had tools made of stone, bone, and wood. There were over 100 different kinds of tools in hunter-gatherer society! A hunter’s kit could have included fishing hooks, harpoons, and various knives.

Have you heard of the paleo diet? It is actually connected to what we know about hunter-gatherers! Consider the foods they ate: meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, and berries. It’s a simple diet free from processed foods, high in protein and healthy fats, and low in simple carbohydrates. It’s made a comeback today because it can help people to maintain a healthy lifestyle if they live with obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. A paleo diet is helpful because it allows people to get lots of energy from healthy sources. It is also easy to maintain in today’s fast-paced world because it is quick and easy to prepare!

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