Hunting Hypothesis

In paleoanthropology, the hunting hypothesis is the hypothesis that human evolution was primarily influenced by the activity of hunting for relatively large and fast animals, and that the activity of hunting distinguished human ancestors from other hominins.

While it is undisputed that early humans were hunters, the importance of this fact for the final steps in the emergence of the Homo genus out of earlier Australopithecines, with its bipedalism and production of stone tools (from about 2.5 million years ago), and eventually also control of fire (from about 1.5 million years ago), are emphasized in the "hunting hypothesis", and de-emphasized in scenarios that stress the omnivore status of humans as their recipe for success, and social interaction, including mating behaviour as essential in the emergence of language and culture.

Advocates of the hunting hypothesis tend to believe that tool use and toolmaking essential to effective hunting were an extremely important part of human evolution, and trace the origin of language and religion to a hunting context.

As societal evidence Buss (2011) cites that modern tribal societies use hunting as their primary means of acquiring food. The Aka Pygmies in the Central African Republic spend 56% of their quest for nourishment hunting, 27% gathering, and 17% processing food. Additionally, the !Kung in Botswana retain 40% of their calories from hunting and this percentage varies from 20% to 90% depending on the season. For physical evidence Buss first looks to the guts of humans and apes. The human gut consists mainly of the small intestines, which are responsible for the rapid breakdown of proteins and absorption of nutrients. The ape’s gut is primarily colon, which indicates a vegetarian diet. This structural difference supports the hunting hypothesis in being an evolutionary branching point between modern humans and modern primates. Buss also cites human teeth in that fossilized human teeth have a thin enamel coating with very little heavy wear and tear that would result from a plant diet. The absence of thick enamel also indicates that historically humans have maintained a meat-heavy diet. Further, Buss looks to Vitanmins A and B12, which the body is unable to produce, but are found in meat. The absence of these vitamins in the human body also implies a human dependence upon meat to obtain such vitamins. Finally, Buss notes that the bones of animals human ancestors killed found at Olduvai Gorge have cut marks at strategic points on the bones that indicate tool usage and provide evidence for ancestral butchers.

Other articles related to "hunting hypothesis, hypothesis, hunting":

Hunting Hypothesis - Provisioning Hypothesis - The Show-Off Hypothesis
... The show-off hypothesis is the concept that more successful men have better mate options ... back to the fact that meat, the result of hunting expeditions, is a distinct resource in that it comes in large quantities that more often than not the hunter’s own family is not able to consume in a timely manner ... Also the success of hunting is unpredictable whereas berries and fruits, unless there is a drought or a bad bush, are fairly consistent in seasonality ...
Pleistocene Extinctions - Hunting Hypothesis - Arguments Regarding The Hunting Hypothesis
... a very few show unambiguous evidence of human hunting of any type of prey whatsoever." A small number of animals that were hunted, such as a single species of bison, did not go extinct ... were recent Eurasian immigrants that were familiar with human hunting practices, since Bison first appeared in North America approximately 240,000 years ago and then evolved into living bison ... have reduced in average size due to human hunting ...

Famous quotes containing the words hypothesis and/or hunting:

    Oversimplified, Mercier’s Hypothesis would run like this: “Wit is always absurd and true, humor absurd and untrue.”
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