Benefits of Hunter-gathering


‘So fifteen thousand years ago, humans were foragers and hunters. Foraging meant gathering fruits, nuts, also wild grains and grasses; hunting allowed for a more protein-rich diet, so long as you could find something with meat to kill.

By far the best hunting gig in the pre-historic world, incidentally, was fishing, which is one of the reasons that if you look at history of people populating the planet, we tended to run for the shore and then stay there. Marine life was A) abundant, and B) relatively unlikely to eat you.

While we tend to think that the life of foragers were nasty, brutish and short, fossil evidence suggests that they actually had it pretty good: their bones and teeth are healthier than those of agriculturalists. And anthropologists who’ve studied the remaining forager peoples have noted that they actually spend a lot fewer hours working than the rest of us, and they spend more time on art, music, and storytelling. Also, if you believe the classic of anthropology, Nisa, they also have a lot more time for [sex].[1][2] […]

It’s worth noting that cultivation of crops seems to have risen independently over the course of millennia in a number of places – from Africa to China to the Americas – using crops that naturally grew nearby: rice in Southeast Asia, maize in in Mexico, potatoes in the Andes, wheat in the Fertile Crescent, yams in West Africa.

People around the world began to abandon their foraging for agriculture. And since so many communities made this choice independently, it must have been a good choice, right? Even though it meant less music and [sex].’

– Green. J. (2012, January 26) The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History #1


[1] Shostak. M. (2002) “Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman”.

[2] John Green refers to sexual intercourse here as ‘skoodilypooping’, further stating “What? I call it skoodilypooping. I’m not gonna apologize.” The authors unanimously oppose the use of this icky euphemism and have therefore removed the term; in doing so, the authors have replaced it with the common epithet ‘sex’.

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One thought on “Benefits of Hunter-gathering

  1. From what I’ve read, there was a point in time, a couple of hundred thousand years ago, when early humanity nearly went extinct – it was reduced to a population of roughly 2000 individuals, divided between living on the southern coast of Africa, and on that continent’s eastern coast – in both instances, coastal environments. It was either Robert Ardrey (“African Genesis“) or Desmond Morris (“The Naked Ape“) who believed that we lost the majority of our head-to-toe body hair due to time spent foraging for food in the ocean during our centuries by the sea.

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