By Charlie Bright
(This paper has nothing to do with disco balls)
Thousands of years ago, primitive man walked the earth very similarly to the way he does today. We can discern this from the cultures that remain nearly intact from that time, and by analyzing what remains from those ancient peoples. Technologies change, making life easier for people, and ensuring the survival of the species (things like medicine and modern farming techniques), but the people themselves change very little.
Ethnographically, people like the !Kung bushmen are very specialized. In actuality, any and all of the remaining societies that have survived outside of mainstream culture must be very specialized. There are few places in the world untouched by civilized man (perhaps none at all), and the only places that have managed to elude him thus far are the regions that are generally unwanted. These places, like the Kalahari, Arctic Circle, and South American Jungle, are the only locations containing native people living in their traditional ways. All of the people living in these places have to live in a very specific way, or they simply cannot survive on what the land gives them. Of, course all of the ethnographic records we have show highly specialized people, we killed all the ones that lived where they could be more generalized and still survive.
The archaeological record shows us what the intelligent ethnographers preach; there is more out there than what we see, and we are constantly underestimating the cultures that came before us. The widespread use of tools like harpoons and spears, the spread of pottery and boxes, and the actual contents of ancient stomachs (like the Ice Man's) show us that ancient people were once more variable than they are now. Considering that ancient men spread from Pittsburgh to South America in an incredibly short span of time (though from whence they came is unknown), ancient people must have... [continues]
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