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Foraging Societies, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 291

Essay

Food has always been essential for life.  Without it, evolution might not have occurred.

Obtaining food was, however, no easy task three or even two million years ago.  When anthropologists categorize human cultures, it is often based on their subsistence patterns or how a society obtains its food. Genus Australopithecus “had a mixed diet of vegetables from the forest and open ground…genus Paranthropus …specialized in the vegetable foods of the open plains” (Park, 2008).  Genus Homo who had“a larger brain and an ability to make stone tools added large quantities of scavenged meat to its diet” (ibid.).   This permitted them to continue evolving after the extinction of the two hominin genera.

Around 2mya humans moved through Africa and other old world countries.  In northerly and glacial areas, there was a shortage of edible plants.  As a result, hunting became more important.  However, although hunting was important in the hunter-gatherer or foraging subsistence,  it was less so than the extent to which it is credited by some.  Throughout much of our evolution, meat was obtained through scavenging, not hunting.  Hunting replaced scavenging much later. “As far as recent cultures are concerned, except for Arctic groups, gathering plant foods is usually the more important activity in terms of the relative amount of nutrition it supplies” (ibid.”Hunting had only a small nutritional role.  According to Hunter-Gatherer Society, “Social structure is usually egalitarian with little economic or gender inequality.  Private property is minimal.”

In summary, most of the nutrition of the egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies was the result of women gathering edible plants, nuts, and leaves and of meat scavenging by men.

Hunting replaced scavenging much later.

References

Hunter Gatherer Society.  Retrieved on October 24, 2012, from http://sociologyindex.com/hunter_gatherer_society.

Park, M. A. (2008).  Introducing anthropology:  An integrated approach. (4th ed.) New York:  McGraw-Hill.

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