hunting and gathering societies

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:

hunting and gathering culture

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Any human culture or society that depends on a combination of hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods for subsistence. Until 11,00012,000 years ago, all peoples were foragers. Many foraging peoples continued to practice their traditional way of life into the 20th century; by mid-century all such peoples had developed extensive contacts with settled groups. In traditional hunting and gathering societies, social groups were small, usually made up of either individual family units or a number of related families collected together in a band. Typically women and children collected relatively stationary foods such as plants, eggs, shellfish, and insects, while men hunted large game. The diet was well-balanced and ample, and food was shared. Hunting and gathering societies had considerable free time to spend on social and religious activities.

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Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: Science:

hunting and gathering societies

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Societies that rely primarily or exclusively on hunting wild animals, fishing, and gathering wild fruits, berries, nuts, and vegetables to support their diet. Until humans began to domesticate plants and animals about ten thousand years ago, all human societies were hunter-gatherers. Today, only a tiny fraction of the world's populations support themselves in this manner, and they survive only in isolated, inhospitable areas, such as deserts, the frozen tundra, and dense rain forests. Given the close relationship between hunter-gatherers and their natural environment, hunting and gathering tribes such as the Bushmen and the Pygmies may provide valuable information for anthropologists seeking to understand the development of human social structures.

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