Visiting The Hadza: Human Life 10,000 Years Ago

A fascinating National Geographic article pointing out certain virtues of the lifestyle that we surely lack now...

[font=Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif]"What the Hadza appear to offer—and why they are of great interest to anthropologists—is a glimpse of what life may have been like before the birth of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Anthro­pologists are wary of viewing contemporary hunter-gatherers as "living fossils," says Frank Marlowe, a Florida State University professor of anthropology who has spent the past 15 years studying the Hadza. Time has not stood still for them. But they have maintained their foraging lifestyle in spite of long exposure to surrounding agriculturalist groups, and, says Marlowe, it's possible that their lives have changed very little over the ages.[/font]
[font=Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif]For more than 99 percent of the time since the genus Homo arose two million years ago, everyone lived as hunter-gatherers. Then, once plants and animals were domesticated, the discovery sparked a complete reorganization of the globe. Food production marched in lockstep with greater population densities, which allowed farm-based societies to displace or destroy hunter-gatherer groups. Villages were formed, then cities, then nations. And in a relatively brief period, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was all but extinguished. Today only a handful of scattered peoples—some in the Amazon, a couple in the Arctic, a few in Papua New Guinea, and a tiny number of African groups—maintain a primarily hunter-gatherer existence. Agriculture's sudden rise, however, came with a price. It introduced infectious-disease epidemics, social stratification, intermittent famines, and large-scale war. Jared Diamond, the UCLA professor and writer, has called the adoption of agriculture nothing less than "the worst mistake in human history"—a mistake, he suggests, from which we have never recovered."[/font]

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