An astonishment a day- 
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Man the Scavenger.

According to current views, the main driving force of human progress has been man. We happily accept this as it makes us feel more important which is so essential for self esteem. It is believed that men have pushed humanity towards higher cultural and lifestyle levels mainly through hunting. The hunter brings to the home a highly valued source of protein, which stimulates mental function and children development. Distributing of the meat amongst the family members cements the family and so begins the human idyll. 
But the trouble making anthropologists have started to question this view. Even more, they have removed man from his altruistic pedestal of looking after the welfare of the family and put him amongst the ... scavengers. Alongside this, they have raised the role of the woman as a cultural agent and simultaneously explained the role of the grandmother in society, which up until now has not been understood from an evolutionary point of view. 

The entire hypothesis is based on the professional analysis conducted on the remains of feast left by Homo erectus from over two million years ago, just before the start of the Ice Ages. It turns out that the hunters of the time left many bones totally cleaned of meat, but in areas that were definitely not their place of permanent residence, mainly on the banks of rivers in East Africa. Furthermore, a more specific analysis of the bones showed that they contained signs of primitive tools as well as the teeth of predators. This can only be explained by assuming that the men did not hunt, but rather shooed away predators from their meals and finished the feast themselves. He also did not bring this food home to his cave, as no signs of such food and bones have been found in such dwellings. 

Thus it follows that the family was fed by the woman - the gatherer. And here we also find the explanation of the role of the grandmother. Someone had to look after the children while the mother was gathering the food, as it is not easy to pick roots out of the ground with little ones on your back. So the grandmothers had the role of looking after the children while the mother was collecting food and the father was wandering around the jungle. This is exactly why evolution extended the lifespan of humans to beyond that of their fertile periods. Children do not only need to be born and fed, but also looked after. The mother bore and fed the child and the grandmother did the rest in a tandem effort which in total was very successful. 

The division of the labour within the family was as follows: the father was to fertilize women and wander around the jungle, the mother bore children and gathered roots, insects, fruits and other offerings of nature, and the grandmother looked after the children in the absence of the mother and together everything worked well for the progression of humanity. And what was the role of the grandfather in all of this? Possibly his only role was to keep the grandmother entertained. Still it is better than finish in the pot... 

[QZC04::000];[QNT74::025]

 


 

(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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April 2003

v.16