Primitive man (hominids) was a hunter

Since it appeared on Earth, the movement of Man and human agglomerations had their origins in their needs and availability of places to meet them. The essential need, common to all savages, was food, and it came basically from animal protein, that is, primitive Man (homids) was a hunter. As hunting is not only done with the hands, homids had to build instruments to be able to hunt and have their food.

Source: Hunting Dogs with Dead Hare. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1933

Although mostly nomadic in profile, upon discovering a fertile territory both in hunting and in raw materials for the production of domestic and hunting artifacts, the homids had to demarcate and defend the corresponding territory against the advances of similar tribes. From then on, there is a need for the development of military artifacts, which would represent the strength of a tribe as they were more forceful and manufactured more easily and in greater quantity.

Maintenance of vast territories and population growth were directly related to the availability (food and raw materials) of the area under control and the capacity of the dominant group to explore and defend it satisfactorily. When one of these premises was not reached, the tribes, by their own nomadic behavior, left in search of other places.

The incessant search for food and/or raw materials and/or the dispersion caused by territorial struggles made the homids move through areas that were often inhospitable or the environment itself was seen as such during the glaciations, and the primitives had to cover their bodies increasingly devoid of hair. Animals now served not only as a source of food, but as a source of clothing (made from their skins) and more elaborate instruments (made from their bones and horns).

Even back then, hunting was not that plentiful, so homids had to domesticate and raise these animals. They then became less and less nomadic and assumed a sedentary posture, by the standards of the time, when developing agriculture and animal husbandry. This new posture not only created the need for the development of another type of tools, but also the establishment of another type of housing: the homids abandoned the caves and began to build their first dwellings.

Even during their displacements and in view of the new needs, the homids came into contact with harder rocks and whose splinters produced more resistant and blunt artifacts. Some of them, at the time of fires for body heating or food processing, presented behavior that was previously unknown: softening (melting) and subsequent hardening (solidification); others, on the other hand, less consistent originated powders that assumed consistency when wet, as well as certain soil deposits from flooded regions or that were previously part of small lakes that dried up.

From that point forward, homids, some already belonging to the same species as modern Man, learned of new and more versatile raw materials. For each new change in behavior, the domain and use of a new raw material corresponded, and those most efficient in this aspect prevailed over the others, mainly because, since always, new raw materials were destined in the first place for military purposes and only later did they assume a domestic or homely aspect.

As today, those who had the knowledge and reserves of what was considered strategic prevailed, and, like food, materials have always accompanied Man throughout his evolutionary history: the more advanced civilization, the more strategic the materials to its disposition and more elaborate and efficient artifacts and equipment produced.


McHenry, H. M. (1992). Body size and proportions in early hominids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology87(4), 407-431.

Isaac, Glynn Ll, and Diana C. Crader. “3. To What Extent Were Early Hominids Carnivorous? An Archaeological Perspective.” In Omnivorous Primates. Gathering and Hunting in Human Evolution, pp. 37-103. Columbia University Press, 1981.

Johanson, D. C., & White, T. D. (1979). A systematic assessment of early African hominids. Science203(4378), 321-330.

Isaac, G. (1978). The food-sharing behavior of protohuman hominids. Scientific american238(4), 90-109.

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