When The Third Primate Separated From Biology
Of course as we all know Homo Sapiens can not leave their genus but they can leave biological habits, and adopt artificial habits, as we have done. From the moment our ancestors commenced life on earth they were foragers, even today primates, our cousins, are still foraging for their food. We were tree foragers and then when we left the trees and started to walk on the African savanna as Homo Erectus (Upright Man) we still foraged and this went on for nearly two million years. About 6 million years a chimpanzee gave birth to twins, one was a normal chimp and the other became our grandmother, long before history started there were human (homo) ancestors, and they all foraged for food.About 200,000 years ago the cognitive age commenced, homo sapiens (Wise Man) emerged and somehow got rid of his more muscular, more robust rival with the same sized brain homo Neanderthalensis, from the Neander Valley, commonly referred to as Neanderthals. One on one they could not beat a Neanderthal but scientist think working in groups they were able to drive them to starvation, no mass killings have been found. Homo Sapiens kept on foraging.
Foraging Was Normal
Foraging for food like this went on up until about 12,000 years ago from the earliest ancestors to 12,000 years ago when we entered the agricultural age. In a couple of hours humans could get all the food they needed and working in groups they learned to turn the tables on large predators and scare them off. Recent research has shown that these foragers were healthier than the Sapiens who adopted agriculture. Before agriculture, 10,000 years BC, there were only 5-8 million people on the planet, foragers kept their populations down by having offspring about 3 to 4 years apart. They breast fed the babies for an extended period, estimated to be in the vicinity of 2 to 3 years, this helped develop a very robust immune system. There was no infectious diseases during this period. By 100 AD there were only about 1.5 million foragers left on the planet with the majority here in Australia. Recent research,found in Harari’s book has shown how much healthier foragers were when compared to farmers, which is the opposite of what was believed earlier. Farmers rapidly increased the population, infectious diseases crossed over from animals to humans and the farmers became slaves to their farms. Increasing family numbers, seasonal problems, weeding, tilling and having to exist on a limited number of products that they could farm depleted their health.
Australian Foragers And Early Farmers
Bill Gammage in his excellent book ‘The Biggest Estate On Earth – How Aboriginals Made Australia’ produces a lot of diary entries from surveyors and high ranking British personnel, showing how aboriginals lived in Australia. One of the entries described an average day in the lives of the aboriginals under surveillance. The aboriginals remained near their huts playing, laughing and lying in the sun until about 3.00pm when they suddenly picked up their spears and hunting weapons and left the camp. They reappeared about two hours later, men with speared animals and women with grass, berries and tubers. All they needed to survive could be collected in two hours of work, and they were healthy, no visible signs of stress, only happiness and full of laughter. Changing to farming introduced us to greed and accumulation of assets but we need to slave to acquire it in an ever growing population of competitive consumers. Was Agriculture our biggest mistake?
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