Archive for the ‘hunter-gatherers’ Category

Humankind moved from hunter-gatherers to food production 11,000 years ago

February 8, 2008

For most of the time since the ancestors of modern humans diverged from the ancestors of the living great apes, around 7 million years ago, all humans on Earth fed themselves exclusively by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants.  It was only within the last 11,000 years that some people turned to what is termed food production: that is, domesticating wild animals and plants  and eating the resulting livestock and crops.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

An explanation for why working group sizes of 6 to 9 people are most effective

January 23, 2008

Some anthropologists have speculated that groups of 6 to 9 people come from our long evolutionary heritage as hunter-gatherers, and that such group sizes made for effective hunting bands.

Evolution tends to be quite efficient over time at finding balances between trade-offs.

So it is likely that working group sizes of 6 to 9 people evolved because they represent a balance between the benefits of scale (a hunting band can get more food per calories expended than a lone individual can), and the diseconomies of complexity. Our ancestors would not have survived for long if hunting groups of thirty people spent hours debating whether they should hunt bison or antelope that day.

The Origin of Wealth by Eric D. Beinhocker

Mankind’s journey from hunter-gatherers to coins as the instrument for doing commerce

October 24, 2007

Below is a diagram I created showing the evolution of mankind from hunter-gatherers to the development of coins as the instrument for doing commerce. I developed this diagram by combining information from these two fabulous books:

  1. Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  2. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

I find it so fascinating to think about a how one thing led to another, which led to another, and so forth.

Hunter-gatherers to coins