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Hunter-gatherer

1. Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle and Characteristics: – Hunter-gatherers obtain food through foraging and hunting. – They lived in groups of several families. – Most hunter-gatherers are […]

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1. Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle and Characteristics:
– Hunter-gatherers obtain food through foraging and hunting.
– They lived in groups of several families.
– Most hunter-gatherers are nomadic or semi-nomadic.
– Some cultures like the Chumash were sedentary due to rich environments.
– Hunter-gatherer societies tend to have egalitarian social structures.
– Economic structure is based on foraging and hunting.
– Division of labor exists, with men and women both engaging in hunting.
– Transition to agriculture marked the Neolithic period.
– Pressure from agricultural communities led to a decline in hunter-gatherer populations.

2. Social Structure and Gender Roles in Hunter-Gatherer Societies:
– Hunter-gatherers do not have permanent leaders.
– Leadership depends on the task being performed.
– Connected by kinship and band membership.
– Egalitarianism is a central characteristic.
– Women’s roles in hunting challenged traditional assumptions.
– Postmarital residence tends to be matrilocal.
– Systems of kinship and descent are flexible.
– Evidence of female hunters in various societies.
– Women in some societies hunted alongside men.

3. Health and Life Expectancy in Hunter-Gatherer Societies:
– Life expectancy between 21 and 37 years.
– Causes of death include diseases, violence, and degenerative diseases.
– High infant mortality, frequent disease, and warfare.
– Estimated survival rates to age 45.
– 70% of deaths due to diseases.

4. Economy, Inequality, and Resource Utilization:
– Hunter-gatherer societies operate on a gift economy.
– Mutual exchange and sharing of resources are crucial.
– Inequality exists, with a Gini coefficient of 0.25.
– Wealthy individuals more likely to have wealthy children.
– Stored food is crucial in cold environments.
– Fat is vital for assessing game quality.
– Trade and adaptation strategies among hunter-gatherers.

5. Archaeological Evidence, Studies, and Modern Perspectives:
– Archaeologists use evidence like stone tools to track hunter-gatherer activities.
– Ethnobotany studies document food plants of various hunter-gatherer groups.
– Evidence shows early humans engaged in scavenging and hunting.
– Some contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures live in areas unsuitable for agriculture.
– Theorists debate the significance of studying modern hunter-gatherers to understand prehistoric ones.
– Examples of modern hunter-gatherer groups maintaining traditional practices.
– Studies on Earth’s early transformation and human ancestors’ behavior.

Hunter-gatherer (Wikipedia)

A hunter-gatherer or forager is a human living in a community, or according to an ancestrally derived lifestyle, in which most or all food is obtained by foraging, that is, by gathering food from local naturally occurring sources, especially edible wild plants but also insects, fungi, honey, bird eggs, or anything safe to eat, and/or by hunting game (pursuing and/or trapping and killing wild animals, including catching fish). This is a common practice among most vertebrates that are omnivores. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to the more sedentary agricultural societies, which rely mainly on cultivating crops and raising domesticated animals for food production, although the boundaries between the two ways of living are not completely distinct.

Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin in August 2014

Hunting and gathering was humanity's original and most enduring successful competitive adaptation in the natural world, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change were displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.

In addition to men, women engage in hunting in 79% of modern hunter-gatherer societies. Only a few contemporary societies of uncontacted people are still classified as hunter-gatherers, and many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism.

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