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The history of mankind is relatively known over the past 3-4 thousand years. We find written sources, the remains of architectural structures. But what happened tens and even hundreds of thousands of years before is shrouded in much greater mystery. Scientists on the basis of fragments of everyday objects, bones are trying to restore the first steps of man as a rational being.
It seems to us that these were clumsy people, wrapped in skins, bellowing something, 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 largely on the myths inspired by cinema. And the common misconceptions about prehistoric people are to blame for this.
Hunter-gatherers lived poorly and were constantly starving. It is in our reality that agriculture feeds people. As soon as we want to have a snack, we just go to the refrigerator and choose our favorite dish. In those days, people did not even dream of sandwiches and a refrigerator. The man had only a spear, and his "lunch" was running through the forest and he still had to be caught. In those days, it was not easy to get food for yourself. What can we say about a rational healthy diet. It seems that only those tribes that began to grow food themselves could prosper. And this useful practice was gradually adopted by other groups of people. In fact, with the transition to agriculture, people's lives became more difficult. On the one hand, man began to lead a sedentary lifestyle, which we have now. But were hunter-gatherers really so bad? The diet of meat and vegetables was quite healthy and varied. And getting food was not that difficult. Today, tribes living on a similar basis spend only 14 hours a week hunting and gathering. Growing plants and livestock takes much more effort. It is believed that agriculture in general emerged from despair. The abundance of food has led to an explosive growth in the human population. And then there was no longer enough game for everyone. The early farmers found that their labor was sufficient to provide themselves with food, but that the work was much more exhausting than that of hunters. If they were strong and powerful people who ate nutritious meat, then the first peasants were short and bony. Both the hard work and the quality of the first grown products strongly influenced the structure of the body. And the diseases of animals living next to a person began to be transmitted to him. The sweet grain has led to dental diseases. Social inequality has also appeared. If hunters were forced to work together to feed their prey, farmers with surplus harvests could hire their less successful brethren to work. The trend has worsened, dividing social gaps more and more.
The cavemen had small brains, which determined their low intelligence. The life of prehistoric people is presented as a stupid coexistence with constant fights and pulling each other by the hair. If such a person were to be transferred to the present, then he would hardly be more intelligent than a monkey. But is it? Today it became clear that the caveman was developed enough to study in school as well as a modern individual who grew up in the same environment. Researchers believe that as early as 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens developed a modern brain. About 40 thousand years ago, there was a breakthrough in development, a human revolution. During this period, modern human traits were formed. But people did not become smarter overnight by becoming interested in science and culture. Science has revealed that humans were already anatomically capable of such a leap thousands of years before. His brain was prepared by nature for complex thinking and creativity. If there was an opportunity to give the caveman a modern education, then he could well take a worthy place in our society. There is even a theory that there is no such thing as "modern man" in principle. In terms of the possibilities of thinking, we are no different from the 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 the skills that are in demand in their environment. If we got into the prehistoric world, we would quickly die from lack of food. And a caveman would go crazy with the abundance of information in the modern world. But this would not have happened because of the tiny brain, but because of the original upbringing.
Neanderthals were large, primitive animals. The Neanderthal appears to us as a hairy creature that looks like a monkey in appearance and intelligence. This evolutionary impasse had nothing special to do, except to lug around with a club. But the culture of the Neanderthals is quite interesting. She proves that they were thinking beings. They ate about the same as a reasonable person. Neanderthals were able to create by expressing themselves in rock art. Homo sapiens have not yet reached this point. It is known that Neanderthals even suffered from cancer, like us. These creatures took care of disabled members of their community, which even today we do not always do. According to recent studies, Neanderthals had a gene that allowed humans to create complex languages and learn to speak. In fact, these are the only living creatures that had the same opportunities to express themselves as people. Unfortunately for them, the competitors in the person of Homo sapiens turned out to be biologically stronger, displacing the Neanderthals from the evolutionary path or simply destroying them.
Prehistoric man appeared in America, having migrated there from Siberia. There is a theory that about 12 thousand years ago, a group of people under the general name "Clovis", living in Siberia, in search of a better life left their lands and went to conquer a new world. The Bering Strait at that time was a bridge connecting two continents. The journey ended well and the people settled on a new continent. And after several millennia, the Europeans reached America from 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 a crowd in the same direction. Different tribes traveled in different directions for a long time. Today, more and more archaeological evidence is inconsistent with the theory of migrants from Siberia. For example, in the south of Chile there is the territory of Monte Verde with traces of a Stone Age man. He lived here 15 thousand more bodies ago, a thousand years before the bridge over the Bering Strait was formed. And in the Paisley Caves, scientists discovered tools that were used hundreds of years before the Clovis people. The design of these things is completely different from that of the peoples of Siberia. This myth itself is based on the distinctive piercing instruments found in the state of New Mexico. Archaeologists named them after the people themselves, "Clovis". But as a result, no connection was found between the instruments of the ancient Siberians and the Clovis people. And these objects themselves were found on the east coast of the continent, and not on the west, which seemed logical for people from Siberia. Interestingly, later it was found that these instruments were similar to those of the European Solutre tribe, who lived in Spain and southern France. There is a version that it was this people who, 22 thousand years ago, were able to reach America across the ice sheet of the Atlantic Ocean. And that's how the settlement of America began. This theory is interesting because of the twist in the plot of history: the Spaniards conquered their own people in the person of the Incas.
The missing link in evolution has never been found. It is often said that human evolution is not completely clear - one most important element of the chain is missing, a hybrid of ape and humans. It was this failure that gave rise to many theories of our origin, refuting generally accepted evolution. In 1863, Scottish physician John Crawfurd used the term "missing link" to refer to a species transitioning from primates to modern humans. In fact, scientists have already found many remains that could be ranked as missing links. Evolution was gradual; man did not become himself overnight by a miraculous transformation from a monkey. We want to see dramatic changes in generations, but nature has made the process very slow and gradual. Over millions of years, man has gone from a microorganism to a higher being. Transformations from ape to a man did not differ in any way from other stages of the evolutionary process. Today, a hybrid between the still ape-like Australopithecus and the already human-like Homo habilis can claim the role of that “missing link”. In 2010, fragments of this creature were found. And in 2013, scientists discovered hybrid ear bones. These discoveries are called transitional fossils, and they are beginning to be found more and more often. There have been many transitional stages in the history of our evolution, which can be associated with the “missing link”. But you just need to understand the mechanism of evolution and then the myth will be debunked.
The food of prehistoric people was bland and tasteless. Researchers from the University of York analyzed shards of pottery found on the shores of the Baltic Sea. People used this ceramics more than 6 thousand years ago. Traces of fat from fish, shellfish and deer were found on the dishes. The remains of more than 120 plant species were also found. It became clear that prehistoric people used them to flavor their food. Specifically, we were talking about garlic and tiny mustard seeds that made the food spicy. These plants had no real nutritional value, so they ended up in a pot of food only as a spice. Elsewhere in Europe, pots have been found with traces of characteristic additives such as turmeric, capers and coriander.
Prehistoric humans had no industry. Archaeologists have managed to find something that can be considered the workshops of prehistoric people. The primitive industry existed already 60 thousand years ago. And in Blombos Cave in South Africa, there is even more ancient evidence of this. The researchers dubbed their find a prehistoric paint factory. The cave contained everything that was required to create paint sets for subsequent cave paintings. In this place were containers made from shells, bone spatulas for grinding and mixing components to create red and yellow dyes. In 2008, the pigments of 70 thousand years old ocher were discovered. Scientists have suggested that the cave has been used as a paint production for thousands of years. Traces of colored paint were found not only on rock paintings, but also on leather goods and ceramics. Ocher was also applied to the body. In general, it was possible to find red paint, created by man 160 thousand years ago. But the finds in Blombos Cave showed that prehistoric man already had a high level of knowledge in chemistry, the ability to establish mass production and store the final product.
Prehistoric people followed the Paleo diet. The idea of a paleo diet first appeared in the 1960s. Even today, a certain percentage of the population tries to adhere to it. In its modern form, it provides meat-based meals without processed grains, legumes and sugar. Supporters of this diet consider it natural, because people have not changed much since the days of hunter-gatherers. Therefore, you should also eat in the same way. They say that a civilization with modern nutrition has awarded people with new diseases, the same diabetes. However, it is completely wrong to consider us the same as prehistoric ancestors. And there is no need to talk about a single paleo diet. The North American Inuit ate mainly meat and fish, while the South American preferred nuts and seeds.
Agriculture was the impetus for urban development. 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 herds of wild animals disappeared. People began to build permanent dwellings, forming villages. Man began to think about writing and culture. However, the finds in Turkish Göbekli Tepe showed that everything was completely different. The complex is based on carved stone megaliths, which are already 11 thousand years old. These stones were put back in the days when people were engaged in hunting and collecting plants. Only after 500 years a village with domesticated cattle will appear nearby. The oldest wheat strains will be found there. The need to build such a massive complex and to carve sacred images in stone, to create a kind of sociological center and forced people to develop agriculture and cattle breeding. They made it possible to feed the builders and masons. Agriculture made it possible to provide food for our ancestors, who were engaged in the embodiment of their fantasies.
Prehistoric people did not honor their dead brothers. Several major discoveries have confirmed that even Neanderthals not only buried their fellows, but also performed complex rituals of mourning the dead. The funeral was accompanied by gifts to the dead for their afterlife. A study of the remains of the elderly showed that the aging people were looked after rather than abandoned. In the burials, archaeologists have found body treatments similar to those used today. Some remains contain traces of knives that removed bone marrow, soft tissues, and joints. Perhaps we are talking 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 it's not a 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 species Homo sapiens survived. According to one theory, Homo sapiens simply had a longer life than a Neanderthal. But fossil finds refute this theory. Both the early humans and their less successful competitors had approximately the same life expectancy. Both species have coexisted for about 150 thousand years. Every fourth representative of both species lived to be 40 years old. Approximately the same percentage crossed the 20-year mark.
All primitive art consisted of primitive cave paintings. In 2012, scientists analyzed artistic depictions of moving four-legged animals from prehistoric times to modern times. It turned out that ancient people more accurately depicted movements. Analysis of 1000 contemporary works showed that in 58 percent of cases, artists make mistakes. For prehistoric works, this figure is only 46 percent. This makes our ancestors much more accurate in their work than modern masters. Prehistoric people did not only create on the walls of caves. A huge number of mummified remains with extensive tattoos have been found. And in the Solomon Islands, an artifact was found 3 thousand years old, which told a lot about such a practice.Volcanic glass tools were a great way to tattoo 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 northern Peru, traces of a hallucinogenic cactus were found. There is even more evidence of mushroom use to alter consciousness. The use of opium and the chewing of coca leaves by people is known as early as 8 thousand years ago. This took place on the Mediterranean coast, from where the tradition spread to the rest of Europe. And the alcohol that is popular today was consumed at least 9 thousand years ago. On shards in Henan province, traces of liquid from fermented rice, honey and fruits were found.