The history of mankind is relatively well known over the past 3-4 thousand years. We find written sources, the remains of architectural structures. But what happened for dozens and even hundreds of thousands of years before that was shrouded in a much greater mystery. Scientists on the basis of fragments of household items, bones try to restore the first steps of man as a rational being.
It seems to us that these were clumsy people, wrapped in skins, something mooing, and sometimes beating their own fellow tribesmen for the sake of prey. But this image is simplistic.
Our ideas about the life of prehistoric people are based in many ways on the myths inspired by cinema. Our distant ancestors did not lead such a primitive life as it is commonly believed. And the blame for this common misconceptions about prehistoric people.
Hunter-gatherers lived badly and were constantly starving.
It is in our reality that agriculture feeds people. As soon as we want a snack, we just go to the fridge and choose a favorite dish. In those days, people did not dream of sandwiches and refrigerators. The man had only a spear, and his “lunch” ran through the woods and it still had to be caught. In those days it was not easy to get food for oneself. What there to speak about rational healthy nutrition. It seems that only those tribes that started to grow their own food could flourish. And this useful practice was gradually adopted by other groups of people. In fact, in the transition to agriculture, people’s lives have become more difficult. On the one hand, people began to lead a sedentary lifestyle, which we still have. But did hunter-gatherers live so badly? The diet of meat and vegetables was quite healthy and varied. Yes, and the food was not so difficult. Today, tribes living on a similar principle spend on hunting and gathering only 14 hours a week. Growing plants and livestock takes much more energy. There is an opinion that agriculture in general appeared in despair. The abundance of food has led to explosive growth of the human population. And then the game ceases to be enough for everyone. The first farmers discovered that their labor allows them to provide food, but the work is much more exhausting than the hunters. If they were strong and powerful people who used nutritious meat, the first peasants were low and bony. Strongly influenced the structure of the body and hard work, and the quality of the first products grown. And the diseases of animals that lived next to the man, began to be passed on to him. Sweet grain led to dental diseases. There was also social inequality. If hunters were forced to work together for a paddock, then farmers with a surplus harvest could hire their less fortunate fellows to work. The tendency was aggravated, dividing social gaps more and more.
The cave people had a small brain, which determined their low intelligence.
Life of prehistoric people seems like a stupid coexistence with constant fights and dragging each other by the hair. If such a person were to be moved at the present time, he was hardly more reasonable than a monkey. But is it? Today it became clear that the caveman was developed enough to study at school as well as the modern individual who grew up in the same environment. Researchers believe that already 100 thousand years ago a homo sapiens had a modern brain. About 40 thousand years ago there was a certain leap in development, the human revolution. During this period, modern human features were formed. But people did not suddenly become more intelligent, interested in science and culture. Science revealed that a person was anatomically able to make such a breakthrough thousands of years before. His brain was prepared by nature to complex thinking, creativity. If there was an opportunity to give the cave man a modern education, he could quite well occupy a worthy place in our society.There is even a theory that such a thing as “modern man” does not exist in principle. In terms of thinking capabilities, we are no different from a caveman. He just had to adapt to the conditions of his life and hunt animals, whereas today we spend time on social networks and the Internet. People develop those skills that are in demand in their habitat. If we were in a prehistoric world, we would quickly die of a lack of food. A caveman would have gone mad with the abundance of information in the modern world. But it would not be because of a tiny brain, but because of the original education.
Neanderthals were large primitive animals.
Neanderthal seems to us a hairy creature that looks like a monkey externally and intellectually. This evolutionary impasse and affairs had no special features, except to drag around everywhere with a cudgel. But the culture of Neanderthals is quite interesting. She proves that they were thinking beings. They ate about the same way as an intelligent person. Neanderthals could create, expressing themselves in rock art. A reasonable person has not yet come to this. It is known that Neanderthals even had cancer, as we do. These creatures cared about the disabled members of their community, which even today we do not always do. According to recent studies, Neanderthals had a gene that allowed a person to create complex languages and learn to talk. In fact, these are the only living beings who had the same opportunities for self-expression, like people. Unfortunately for them, competitors in the person of a reasonable person turned out to be biologically stronger, driving out Neanderthals from the evolutionary path or simply destroying them.
A prehistoric man appeared in America, migrating there from Siberia.
There is a theory that about 12 thousand years ago a group of people named “Clovis” living in Siberia, in search of a better life left their lands and went to conquer the new world. The Bering Strait at that time was a bridge that connected the two continents. The journey ended successfully and the people settled the new continent. And in a few millennia Europeans reached America on the other side. But the story of the brave settlers turned out to be a touching tale. In fact, such migrations are rarely carried out by one group of people walking in the same direction. Different tribes traveled in different directions for a long time. Today, more and more archaeological evidence is untenable about the theory of immigrants from Siberia. For example, in the south of Chile is the territory of Monte Verde with traces of a man of the Stone Age. He lived here another 15 thousand bodies back, a thousand years before the bridge across the Bering Strait was formed. And in the caves of Paisley, scientists have discovered the tools that the Clovis used hundreds of years before. The construction of these things is completely different than that of the peoples of Siberia. The myth itself is based on the distinctive piercing tools found in the state of New Mexico. Archaeologists named them in honor of the people, “clovis.” But as a result, there was no connection between the tools of the ancient Siberians and the people “clovis”. Yes, and these items were found on the east coast of the continent, and not on the western, which seemed logical for immigrants from Siberia. It is interesting that later the similarity of these tools was revealed with those of the European tribe Solutra, who lived in Spain and in the south of France. There is a version that exactly this people 22 thousand years ago could reach America on the ice cover of the Atlantic Ocean. And this is how the settling of America began. This theory is interesting by turning the plot of history: the Spaniards conquered the Inca in the person of their own people.
The missing link of evolution has not been found.
It is often said that human evolution to the end and is not clear – there is one most important element of the chain, a hybrid of the monkey and man. It was this failure that gave birth to many theories of our origin that refute the generally accepted evolution.In 1863, the Scottish physician John Crowfurd used the term “missing link” to refer to some species transitional from primates to modern humans. In fact, scientists have already found many remains that could be ranked among the missing links. Evolution was gradual, man did not become himself overnight a miraculous transformation from a monkey. This we want to see dramatic changes in the generations, but nature has made the process very slow and gradual. For millions of years, a person has traveled from a microorganism to a higher being. Transformations from a monkey into a human did not differ in essence from other stages of the evolutionary process. Today, the role of that “missing link” can be claimed by a hybrid between the ape-like Australopithecus and the already humanoid homo habilis. In 2010, fragments of this creature were found. And in 2013, scientists discovered hybrid ear bones. These discoveries have been called transitional fossils, they are beginning to be found increasingly. In the history of our evolution there were many transitional stages, which can be linked to the “missing link”. But we just need to understand the mechanism of evolution and then the myth will be debunked.
The food of prehistoric people was fresh and tasteless.
Researchers from the University of York analyzed pottery shards found on the shores of the Baltic Sea. This ceramics people used more than 6 thousand years ago. On the dishes there were traces of fat belonging to fish, shellfish and deer. Remains of more than 120 plant species were also found. It became clear that prehistoric people used them to aromatize their food. In particular, we are talking about garlic and tiny seeds of mustard, which made the food acute. They had no real nutritional value, so they got into the pot with food only as spices. In other parts of Europe, pots with traces of such characteristic additives as turmeric, capers and coriander have been found.
Prehistoric people did not have an industry.
Archaeologists have discovered something that can be considered the workshops of prehistoric people. Primitive industry existed already 60 thousand years ago. And in the cave Blombos in South Africa, there were even more ancient evidence of this. Researchers called their findings a prehistoric paint factory. The cave had everything that was required to create sets of colors for subsequent rock paintings. In this place were found containers made from shells, spatulas from bones to grind and mix components to create red and yellow paints. In 2008, we managed to disclose the pigments of 70-year-old ocher. Scientists have suggested that the cave has been used for thousands of years as a paint production. Traces of colored paint found not only in rock art, but also on leather goods, ceramics. They applied ocher and on the body. In general, we managed to find red paint, created by a man even 160 thousand years ago. But the finds in the cave Blombos showed that the prehistoric man already then possessed a high level of knowledge in chemistry, the ability to organize mass production and store the final product.
Prehistoric people adhered to paleodietts.
The idea of paleodiett appeared for the first time in the 1960s. Even today, a certain percentage of the population tries to adhere to it. In its modern form, it provides dishes based on meat without processed cereals, legumes and sugar. Supporters of such food consider it natural, because since the days of hunter-gatherers, people have not changed much. Therefore, one should eat the same way. They say that a civilization with modern food has rewarded a person with new diseases, the same diabetes. However, it is completely wrong to consider us to be the same as prehistoric ancestors. And there is no need to talk about a single paleodiet. The Inuit-inhabiting the north of America ate mainly meat and fish, while the inhabitants of South America preferred nuts and seeds.
Agriculture has become an impetus for the development of cities.
For a long time it was believed that the transition from a prehistoric society to its modern form became possible, thanks to the transition to agriculture. With the advent of farms, the need to migrate from place to place behind the herds of wild animals has disappeared. People began to build permanent dwellings, forming villages. The man began to think about writing and culture. However, the findings in the Turkish Göbekli-Tepe showed that everything was completely different. At the heart of the complex are carved stone megaliths, which are already 11 thousand years old. These stones were put back in those days when a person was engaged in hunting and collecting plants. Only 500 years later there will be a village with domesticated cattle. They will find the oldest strains of wheat. The need to build such a massive complex and cut out sacred images in stone, create a kind of sociological center and made people develop agriculture and cattle breeding. They allowed to feed builders and masons. Agriculture allowed to provide food to our ancestors engaged in the embodiment of their fantasies.
Prehistoric people did not honor their dead brethren.
Several major discoveries confirmed that even the Neanderthals did not just bury their fellows, but also conducted complex rituals of mourning for the dead. The funeral was accompanied by gifts to dead people for their afterlife. A study of the remains of elderly deceased showed that people were looking after the aging people, but not abandoning them. In the burials, archaeologists found body treatments similar to those used today. In some remains, there are traces of knives that removed the bone marrow, soft tissues, joints. Maybe it’s about cannibalism, but it could be part of a spiritual ritual. And in Irkutsk, a prehistoric cemetery was discovered, in which the bodies of more than a hundred people rest. These hunter-gatherers lived 7-8 thousand years ago. And not the fact that such a cemetery is the only one on Earth.
Neanderthals had a low life expectancy.
The last Neanderthal man died about 40 thousand years ago. Science is still trying to figure out why the form of homo sapiens survived. According to one theory, a reasonable person had simply a longer life than a Neanderthal man. But fossil finds refute this theory. And the first people, and their less successful competitors had about the same life expectancy. Both species co-existed for about 150 thousand years. Each fourth representative of both species survived to 40 years. Approximately the same percentage crossed the 20-year mark.
All the primitive art was in primitive rock art in the caves.
In 2012, scientists analyzed art images of moving quadruped animals, from prehistoric times to the modern era. It turned out that the ancient people more accurately depicted the movement. Analysis of modern 1000 works showed that in 58 percent of cases, artists make mistakes. For prehistoric work, this figure is only 46 percent. This makes our ancestors much more accurate in their work than modern masters. Prehistoric people created not only on the walls of caves. It was found a huge number of mummified remains with extensive tattoos. And on the Solomon Islands found an artifact of 3 thousand years old, who told a lot about this practice. Tools made of volcanic glass have become an excellent way of drawing tattoos in prehistoric times.
Prehistoric people did not know how to relax.
As it turns out, primitive people were not deprived of the desire to join escapism. At the sites of ancient people in the caves of the Andes in the north of Peru, traces of a hallucinogenic cactus were found. Even more evidence of use to change the consciousness of fungi. It is known to use opium and chewing coca leaves by people 8 thousand years ago. This happened on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, from where the tradition spread to the rest of Europe.A popular alcohol today was used at least 9 thousand years ago. On the shards in Henan province, traces of liquid from fermented rice, honey and fruits were found.