Reconstructing How Early People Exploited Animals: Problems and Prospects

  • Richard G. Klein


If we can judge by the behavior of our closest living relatives among the apes, our remotest ancestors, who evolved in Africa more than four million years ago, probably ate little or no meat. In contrast, meat was a significant dietary staple in most historic hunter-gatherer societies. It has generally been assumed that meat-eating became progressively more important as people evolved, but it is also possible that the shift occurred in relatively short bursts coinciding with major evolutionary events, such as the emergence of modern humans sometime between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago. It is also possible that there was a stage, perhaps a very long one, in which meat was acquired mainly by scavenging, or alternatively that hunting was important even early on, perhaps becoming more important and more successful as time passed.


Early Exploitation Skeletal Part Large Ungulate Bone Assemblage Olduvai Gorge 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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