Sahelanthropus tchadensis


Members of the Hominini Tribal Classification evolved differently than others mammals and members of the Hominidae Family. They evolved to be adaptable and intelligent. One trait that most Hominidae had were hands that allowed for grasping objects. But unlike other Hominidae, the Hominini could walk upright. This was revolutionary, as the Hominini could travel long distances without getting as tired as other animals. But they also lost traits that other animals had to protect themselves, such as claws, and big teeth. Unlike most Hominidae, climbing trees became difficult as they grew in size and their foot shape changed.

Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Skull cast of the Sahelanthropus Tchadensis, possibly the earliest member of the Hominini.

Eventually part of the Hominini evolved into different genera, including the Homo Genus. The Homo Genus continued to split into different species. The traits they had gained allowed them to spread across the world. This was made easy with the ability to walk upright, as they were able to travel long distances and traverse differing landscapes. Approximately 200,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens evolved from the Homo Genus. From Africa, Homo Sapiens spread across the world, interacting with other members of the Homo Genus.

In early hunter-gatherer societies, people needed to work together to survive. Alone, humans weren’t nearly as tough as other animals in the wilderness. They were relatively slow, they had small teeth and no claws, and no natural armor. This forced people to band together and form nomadic tribes. They would hunt and forage on a patch of land until food ran dry. Then they would move on to another area, continuing this pattern for their whole lives.

In nomadic societies, men and women usually had different jobs. The men mostly hunted. When they found animals, the hunters used weapons such as bows and arrows to overpower their prey as easily as possible. Sometimes women and children would help by scouting or acting as distractions while hunters would sneak up upon their soon-to-be food. Using language, they told others where to be and what to do at the right time, when to attack or move back.

Women mostly acted as foragers and scavengers, searching for berries, fruit, and small animals. Foraging was essential in a hunter-gatherer community, as it provided a large majority of food. When hunters didn’t have luck finding any hunt, foraging provided them with a sustainable amount of food. During the day, people would go out and search for small animals and berries. Once food was found, they would use baskets formed from tree bark to carry it to their camp. Women would also take care of the children in their tribe.

Unlike today, there was no ruler or head of the tribes in hunter-gatherer societies. Anyone who worked to sustain their group had an equal say in important decisions, such as when to move camp or who would join or leave their tribe. This created a sense of egalitarianism in the nomadic societies. Everyone was treated equally, no matter their sex or race.


A People’s History of the World by Chris Harman

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