The Agricultural revolution approximately 10.000 years ago triggered profound changes in human living conditions – changes that have accelerated in pace and force over the last couple of centuries. Hunting and gathering, the common human mode of subsistence throughout the Paleolithic, has gradually been left behind, and today, there are few, if any, “pure” hunter-gatherer populations left on our planet. This is sad for a number of reasons, one of which being that these cultures give us a window into the life of our ancient ancestors. By studying contemporary hunter-gatherer populations and traditional societies we learn more about the types of environmental conditions that shaped the human genome for millions of years and consequently what type of diet and lifestyle we are best adapted for.
Yesterday I stumbled across and watched a movie called “The Hadza – Last of the First“. This documentary is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in evolution and/or ancestral health and want an inside look at one of the world’s last remaining hunter-gatherer groups, the Hadza. You can stream the movie here. The Hadza are an especially interesting group to study, as they inhabit the East African region where early hominins lived and target resources similar to those exploited by our ancient ancestors.
- About 200-300 Hadza still live as hunter-gatherers.
- Tubers, honey, baobab fruit, berries, and small and large game are dominant components of the Hadza diet. The Hadza diet shifts dramatically between the wet and dry seasons.
- Their lifestyle is thought to closely resemble that of Paleolithic humans. However, it’s important to note that they have had contact with modern civilization, meaning that the Hadza aren’t a perfect reflection of Paleolithic societies.
- Their microbiome harbors incredibly high taxonomic diversity, indicating great ecosystem stability and flexibility.
- Their way of life, which characterizes most of human existence, is currently under attack, and their ancient culture might soon be lost forever.