Hunting and Gathering

For the vast, overwhelming majority of time in which human beings have existed—97% to 99% of the period since the first hominids appeared—they lived in a type of society commonly known as hunting and gathering. Many species of the genuses Australopithecus and Homo practiced this form of survival, which also typified the lifestyle, social organization, and culture of Homo sapiens until relatively recently—that is, until the emergence of agriculture roughly 10,000 years ago. Thus, hunting and gathering is often equated with the Paleolithic, or “Old Stone Age,” which ended with the Neolithic, or “New Stone Age” (some include a Mesolithic as well), although these terms are not universally accepted. Moreover, the line between agricultural and hunting and gathering societies is not always clear, as ...

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