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  Blog by Harry Mossman

Meet Your African Ancestors

Humans started migrating from Africa about 40,000 years ago. We are all Africans. In The Old Way: A Story of the First People Elizabeth Marshall Thomas tells the story of what the Bushmen (now known as the Khoe or San People) were like in the 1950s, when they had had little contact with the "modern" world. In other words, they were living very much like our ancestors 40,000 years ago. That's about as close to Mark Sisson's "Grok" as we are going to get. For anyone following Paleo, Primal or other lifestyles based on paleolithic life, this book is a must read.

Note: The Khoe/San People actually branched off about 100,000 years ago. So they are our cousins not ancestors. But the idea is still valid.

The Old Way shatters our stereotypes of "cavemen," aside from the fact that they didn't live in caves. From B movies and cartoons, we have this image of hulking Neanderthal types with huge clubs, bows and arrows, and spears hunting saber-toothed tigers, getting their woman by knocking them over the head with the club and dragging them home. The women going out gathering nuts and juicy berries every day. Constant warfare. The men heavy metal proto-Vikings in loin cloths. Pfft! Never happened in our African homeland.

The reality as seen in the San People: Equality between men and women. Everyone caring for children. Men armed with crude spears and small bows for hunting. People eating a wide variety of foods. Only men hunting but everyone gathering. Peaceful relations within and between tribes. Also peaceful relations with lions. Thin, graceful men and women with great endurance not hulking, freaky-muscled Neanderthals. Get the picture? These are what your ancestors ancestors were like. (Actually, the stereotype of Neanderthals is totally inaccurate too. But that's another post.)