Early Humans and Their Environment

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Date Submitted: 09/28/2012 04:59 PM

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The Controversial Relationship between Early Humans and their Environment

In the very beginning of human history, there was no clear separation between man and nature. Early humans’ way of living was in unison with their environment and it is likely that it was pleasurable as well. Humans supported themselves by hunting and gathering and due to their small population size and density; they were able to sustain themselves without too much effort. Thomas Hobbes claims that the life of early humans was “nasty, brutish and short”, but modern theories reject such viewpoint.

Unfortunately, there is little direct evidence that shows what daily human life was like hundreds of years ago. Therefore, anthropologists and historians use studies on African tribes and Aborigines to build theories about the customs of early humans. Of course, such an extrapolation is not very reliable, but it is as close as one can get to the truth.

It would not be too flattering for early humans to claim that they had a very modest and conscientious way of life. The tropical climate was very benign toward all forms of life, so humans did not have to preoccupy themselves with storage or conservation of food. Fresh plants were available and plentiful all year round, so obtaining food was not the main human concern. Judging from the diet of the Bushmen in Africa, early humans probably had more nutritious and balanced meals than modern humans. As Ponting points out in his book, Green History of the World, the African Bushmen consume the nuts of the mongongo tree, which adequately meet their nutritious and energy needs. Since the mongongo nuts are abundant and easy to gather, the Bushmen have a steady source of food which they can rely on for subsistence.

It can be concluded that early humans followed a similar pattern of behavior. They used gathering of plant material as main food source, because hunting was much more difficult and less efficient. According to Ponting, one out of ten attempts to...