5 Interesting Facts about Prehistoric Human Life
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Politics and Activism

5 Interesting Facts about Prehistoric Human Life

5 Interesting Facts about Prehistoric Human Life
T. Michael Keesey

1. Many prehistoric humans lived just as long and healthy of lives as modern day humans.

There is a general belief that before modern medicine and other modern luxuries humans rarely lived beyond the age of 30 or 40. This is not the case. The estimated life expectancy for prehistoric humans is only 35 years, however this number is misleading. When factoring in the higher amount of humans who died in childbirth or early life it can be seen that this number indicates that for every pre-historic human who died young there was one who reached the age of 70. This is corroborated by the discovery of the remains of numerous elderly prehistoric humans. One example of this is the remains of a pre-historic human found in France 1908. Known as “The Old Man of La Chapelle”, this pre-historic human most likely lived to an elderly age as evidenced by his lack of teeth and significant signs of arthritis.

2. Prehistoric humans lived alongside other species in the genus Homo.

We tend to think of the evolution of humans as a linear one. With a number of similar animals evolving into homo sapiens. The truth however is more complex. In reality a number of animals arose in the genus homo, a number of them at the same time as humans. Homo floresiensis for instance, a smaller cousin of Homo sapiens, may have even lived on Earth as recently as 15,000 years ago.

3. Prehistoric humans domesticated dogs approximately 15,000 years ago.

The first dogs to be domesticated by humans seem to be the Eurasian gray wolves. There are many theories about how this happened. One popular theory suggests that human proliferation reduced the amount of available prey for wolves, turning them into scavengers who relied on human beings for scraps. Other theories state that it was simply a mutually beneficial relationship. The wolves would be provided food by the humans without the hassle of hunting down prey, and the humans would be provided with an alarm system for whenever more dangerous predators were nearby.

4. Prehistoric humans were the first and only animals able to talk about imaginary or abstract things.

There are millions of species other than homo sapiens that can effectively communicate with each other. However, these communications usually deal with simple, concrete concepts. An example of this would be monkeys having a particular cry that tells its companions that there is a lion nearby. Humans however can speak about abstract concepts, such as religions, morals and other things that cannot be observed with the five senses. This ability allowed Homo sapiens to form stronger bonds and larger groups with each other than other members of the Homo family.

5. Prehistoric humans were more of scavengers than hunters.

Due in part to the influence of movies, when we think of prehistoric humans we think of bands of hunter gatherers working together to take down mammoths or other large prey. However, this was not a common event in the lives of prehistoric humans. Especially in the earlier days of Homo sapien development. Trying to take on prey the size of a mammoth head on would be logistically difficult and far too dangerous to attempt. Instead, in many cases humans would wait for other predators to kill prey, and then come in afterwards to scavenge what they could. A particularly notable discovery during this was that of marrow. Bone marrow was typically left behind by predators after a kill and provided an important source of protein for prehistoric humans.

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