Cannibalism, murder and other «Tales from the cave»: what were our ancestors

© Elizabeth Elizabeth Seminarstrasse SainoiCannibalism, murder and other «Tales from the cave»: what were our ancestors© Elizabeth Shchepina

At the fair of intellectual literature non/fiction was held presentation of the book by anthropologist Stanislav Drobyshevsky «Tales from the grotto. Fifty stories from the life of ancient people». True detective on a scientific basis, this work tells of the exploits, the mishaps and adventures of our ancestors. The RIA Novosti correspondent talked to the author about what can tell us about modern human stone tools and skulls of the forefathers.

«Tales from the cave» come from motivators about the ancient people that the anthropologist and popularizer of science Stanislav Drobyshevsky has published on his page in «Vkontakte». Perhaps, therefore, a massive 450-page work so easy to read. Stories that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years, served as a thrilling detective story with real evidence in the form of bone fragments or items found during the excavations.

The author says that to write a book it prompted mistakes that often make those who talked about the stone age. Most simply do not know the facts known to science since the XIX century, explains the Drobyshevsky.

«The most offensive stereotype that ancient people had some stupid, hairy, stocky, bandy-legged dudes, always in a mottled skin over his shoulder, in a diaper, with a cudgel in his hand and a bone in her nose and in her hair. This stubborn way in everything from cartoons to books.

We know that in fact they had and woven garments and knitted, and made of skins, and sewn — Neanderthal days it was,» says the anthropologist.

«In principle, the technology they were quite advanced. Pithecanthropus even crossed the Straits of the sea. So, a million years ago people could do swimming facilities. Not that they were stupid,» — said the expert.

«One of my favorite stories is about a fragment of bone, one side of which is painted salmon, on the other — skeletons of salmon. It’s such a primitive philosophy: thoughts on the nature of life. Or the story of the ancient traveler — in the Czech Republic found a fragment of the femur, and its analysis showed that people in the course of life ate sea food. And found a bone in the center of Europe, to the North there was nowhere to go because of the glacier. It turns out, the traveler went through the then Oecumene — from sea to glacier. About it could be a whole series», says the scientist.

These stories demonstrate that ancient people were brave and adventurous and not faint. Some didn’t even need guns to hunt dangerous predators.

«Ethnography shows that lion some Maasai were killed with spears without a problem, and just sticks. Many people think that the man was defenseless — he is out of the cave to keep a low profile, how someone will eat. In fact, in the wild more dangerous than a man no one. Normal lions from scratching him with frightening speed, because I know it will be bad», — said the Drobyshevsky.

«They were reasonable and cautious. Know that it is not necessary to walk under the trees where you can sit leopards, or to go into the bushes where the lions. For those who lived in these conditions since birth, the probability to fall into the claws of a wild beast is no more than modern man under the car.

Rather, the lion fell into the hands of the hunter. Since ancient times, primates were smarter than all the others animals. Rationality — our feature that allows you to survive. The man seems slow and puny, all sort of sloppy and unfinished, but he’s smart. And when guns appeared, he became the king of nature,» says the anthropologist.

It was most difficult to live in the wild and remain human beings. The primitive cruelty of our ancestors paradoxically combined with kindness and care for family members.

«Sometimes were born twins and they killed them, because you can not that. Or a child was born on Thursday, and therefore he should be killed. Or many girls in the group was considered to be useless — from the «extra» to deliver. On the other hand, there were tribes where they survived everything, including half-witted children with horrible illnesses and injuries, without arms and legs. In my book there is a story, which almost two million years: in Georgia, found absolutely toothless skull of the grandmother.

She was 80 years old and without teeth people did not survive. So, the grandmother fed for many years, she can not chew could they even fire was not yet, and cook could not, eat them raw. Decades took care of her. Perhaps this is the ancient precedent of kindness» — says Stanislav Drobyshevsky.

© Yulia Yulia Edinovertsy ZhdanovojCannibalism, murder and other «Tales from the cave»: what were our ancestors© Yulia Yulia Edinovertsy Zhdanovoj

Of course, the book has enough stories to indicate that the mores of ancient people was far from what today would be called humane. So, one episode is dedicated to «older 30 year old woman», which after the death of her family ate. Cannibalism was quite common, but had different goals, explains the author.

«Quite ancient, in the time of the Australopithecines, cannibalism helped to get rid of competitors. «Gopnik» from one group of chimpanzees was on the territory of its neighbors and purposefully tracked the lonely individuals were killed and eaten. Later it often happened from hunger — if, for example, crop failure or the Buffalo came. Very intelligent people, there was ritual cannibalism: to adopt all the good qualities of the deceased. Was his grandfather — a smart, experienced, brave. We need these quality to — here it and ate».

© Elizabeth Elizabeth Seminarstrasse SainoiCannibalism, murder and other «Tales from the cave»: what were our ancestors© Elizabeth Elizabeth Seminarstrasse Sainoi

There is another stereotype that will leave readers of «Tales from the cave»: «it is Generally believed that stone age man is and the man, wrapped in skins, who rummaged through the snow and chasing mammoths».

«In fact, the majority of the population lived in Africa, the middle East, India, Indonesia, where it is warm and a lot of resources. It is as if we modern humanity described on the Chukchi and Eskimos — all prey on fish, whales, walk in furs and build igloos out of snow,» says the anthropologist.

«Then Europe was pre-ice age area, he continues. — Full plate, hanging out there, little groups of the most tortured people, and all the normal guys lived in the warmth».

The book includes 50 stories, but actually much more. «In the book, I wanted to show that the ancients were not like each other. People in those days were in some sense more personal than the modern, because we are brought up on books, school unifies all, TV, fashion and so on. And these comrades was freedom in the full sense,» concludes the scientist.