Modern Hunter-Gatherers in Africa and Elsewhere

Repost from the old site. Deals with the crazy White nationalist notion that African Blacks were “Paleolithic Stone Age hunter-gatherers” on contact. In truth, there are very few hunter-gatherers left not only now, but there were few left even in the last century.

Some commenters on the old site, reacting to the The Development of Agriculture in Africa post, have continued to insist that most modern Black Africans were hunter-gatherers upon contact. Examples are here:

While you are correct in some senses to say that agriculture existed among SOME Black African tribes, MOST Black Africans were not at all agriculturists but remained hunter-gatherers and scavengers well in to modern times.

Only in the past few decades have most Black Africans been FORCED in to adopting agriculture because there are now too many people to feed there and not enough space left in the most populated parts of Africa for hunting/gathering/scavenging…

…There was certainly some agriculture being practiced in Sub-Saharan Africa, I don’t dispute that…however, it was limited and, as I wrote, the majority of Black Africa still got most of their food by hunting/gathering/foraging and not through systematic forms of agriculture.

Because of its tropicality, many parts of Africa were/are lush and full of food which is easy to find and eat, fruits and berries and nuts and such, or easy to hunt game — thus why would they waste their time with intensive, work-heavy agriculture when much was already available to just grab and eat?

Also, as is the case elsewhere, some tribes were more agricultural than others — you cannot make a blanket statement saying  “ALL Black Africans practiced agriculture” when the fact is that many/most were still nomads, or herders, or hunters, or foragers, or some combination thereof.

This is just so wrong, but it’s standard White nationalist tripe. This nonsense needs to be combated head-on.

I am doing some research on this right now. The sequence of civilization follows this pattern:

Paleolithic: Hunter-gatherers, Stone Age.

Neolithic: Agriculture and/or animal husbandry Agriculture + animal husbandry is called “full array” agriculture, stone tools.

Copper Age: Metallurgy involving copper.

Bronze Age: More advanced metallurgy involving bronze.

Iron Age: Even more advanced metallurgy involving iron.

That’s about where it ends.

Modern Paleolithic hunter-gatherers included many of the tribes of the Americas, especially in North America and the Amazon.

There are not a lot of hunter-gatherers in the modern era.

Of course there were many in North America. And all of the Aborigines were hunter-gatherers.

An Australian Aborigine in a classic photo from Coon. All Aborigines were Paleolithic Stone Age hunter-gatherers on contact. Some, disgusted by civilization and living on land that is hardly suitable for farming or herding anyway, have actually pretty much returned to this lifestyle on their reservations.

Many of the Siberian tribes were said to be hunter-gatherers. Eskimos like the Yupik were hunter-gatherers, as were the Chukchi.

In Siberia, the Itelmen, the Khanty, the Nganasan, the Evenki, the Ket, the Yukaghir and the Nivkhi were all said to be hunter-gatherers.

In Japan, the Ainu were hunter-gatherers.

The Ainu of Japan, seen here in this woman in a traditional costume, were hunter-gatherers. The Neolithic Japanese took them out over several hundred years, but bred in with them extensively. The Japanese genome is about 40% Ainu and 60% Korean, which is interesting considering that the Japanese can’t stand either of these groups and consider both of them to be inferior. So what this means really is that the Japanese hate their own grandparents. Put that in your sushi and eat it, Japs.

There are two groups of modern African hunter-gatherers:

The Mikea of Southwestern Madagascar. In fact, they are not pure Africans – they are Africans mixed with Indonesian. Mikea gathering. Mikea hunting. Mikea fishing . Hunter-gatherers were discovered in Madagascar by the first Europeans who went there.

The Mikea of Madagascar. Now heavily acculturated, they trade, farm, practice animal husbandry and even wear modern clothing. As you can see, they are just Malagasy like the rest of the people on this island. There is a theory that these people were former agriculturalists who returned to hunter-gathering due to persecutions, but I’m not sure if that’s proven.

The Okiek or Dorobo of Kenya. This is the lone Bantu hunter-gatherer group. This site has a lot of photos of them. More here and here.

A Dorobo woman in Kenya. This group is now acculturated and has assimilated to surrounding tribes. This woman has assimilated to the Masai and many Dorobo now speak Masai. Many, if not all, now are herders, farmers and whatnot. As you can see, anthropologically, she is a modern African, not an archaic African. The appearance here is Nilotic, but others look Bantu.

There were a few hunter-gatherers in India, including the Chenchu, the Birhor, the Nyaka, the Paliyan and the Andaman Islanders. The Andaman Islanders are still hunter-gatherers.

In SE Asia, there were the Aeta, the Batek, the Batak, the Jahai and the Dulong/Drung/Derung.

The Aeta are the Negritos of the Philippines.

A Philippines Negrito man and woman. The women are said to be excellent hunters, and actually have a success rate double that of the men! The women also hunt with dogs very well. So Sarah Palin was like this modern day Paleolithic moose-hunter newscaster beauty queen White trash babe channeling her Negrito cousins! Right?

The Batek, the Batak and the Jahai are Negrito groups in Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. Collectively, they are known as Semang in Malaysia and Mani in Thailand.

A photo of Malay Negritos. Tribes include the Batak, the Batek and the Jahai. DNA studies have shown that these are the most ancient out of Africa people on Earth – descendants of the very first humans out of Africa. There are lines here going back some 70,000 years. As you can see by looking at the eyes though, these are clearly Asians.

Here are some scary, macho-looking Malay Negrito men. There are some pretty interesting phenotypes there. Some of them look Melanesian or Papuan.

More Malay Negritos. Note the wavy hair of the guy in the back. Indian Veddoids and Australian Aborigines also have wavy hair.

The last one, the Drung, is a very interesting group living in Yunnan where China, Burma and Tibet all come together.

The location of the Drung can be seen in the yellow portion at the top left of the map. The region where they live is pretty much a tropical rainforest.

The Drung are probably the only known hunter-gatherer group from China.

Here are some Drung people engaging in some ceremony involving a cow. I guess they kill it here. There are only about 6,700 of these people left, but the language is still doing well. It’s still unwritten. Formerly, it was only written on bark in small phrases or words. Note the wavy hair on the guy in the back. These people could be related to Veddoids in part.

Drung women participating in some ceremony. They are pretty acculturated now and practice farming, read, write, trade, etc. These women just look Chinese to me, but this picture does not have good resolution and I’m not very good at parsing out Asian types.

Getting back to Africa, Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD, Chapter 3, Late Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers in Africa South of the Equator, quotes Malcolm Guthrie, the great Africanist linguist, on the subject.

It’s true that agriculture came to this region (Africa south of the Equator) later, but it did come in the past 2,000 years. The proto-Bantus expanded out from the Cameroon-Nigeria border region and rapidly colonized all of Southern Africa. The Paleolithics they displaced were mostly or all Khoisan types – archaic Africans, not modern Africans.

This is known as the Bantu expansion. It was driven by agriculture and in particular iron technology. We can reconstruct many terms for agricultural crops in proto-Bantu but not many for hunting. This was clearly primarily an agricultural-based culture. We can also reconstruct terms for iron implements and tools. Yes, Bantus were smelting iron 2,000 years ago. Some primitives.

White nationalists really need to dump this “Africans are/were primitives” crap. It’s true that they did not reach a very high level of civilization, but they definitely had settled agriculture, animal husbandry and metalworking. Those are some profound cultural achievements in their own right.

It also doesn’t have a lot to do with IQ. Hunter-gatherers in Siberia and Japan probably have IQ’s around 95-100 or so, but not much research has been done. Eskimo hunter-gatherers have IQ’s around 91. True Stone Age hunter-gatherers in the Americas have IQ’s around 87. Metalworking, herding African agriculturalists have IQ’s around 67.

Go figure.

References

Lee, Richard B. and Daly, Richard Heywood. 1999. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oliver, Roland and Fagan, Brian M. 1975. Brian M. Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD. Chapter 3: Late Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers in Africa South of the Equator, pp.22-33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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7 Comments

Filed under Aborigines, Aeta, Agricutlure, Ainu, Anthropology, Asians, Blacks, Dorobo, Drung, Mikea, Negritos, Race/Ethnicity, Reposts From The Old Site, Semang, Siberians

7 responses to “Modern Hunter-Gatherers in Africa and Elsewhere

  1. You might want to know that the person in the Ainu photo is a woman, not a man. Although the traditional tattoo around the mouth is indistinct, her clothing, ornaments, and lack of facial hair are clear evidence of this.

  2. makwah

    i am pleased with this, please keep it up and visit my blog.
    thank you!

  3. While your argumants may be valid, I think some of the language you have used is highly unethical.

  4. i cant believe you used one of the best resources on hunter-gatherers with Lee’s encyclopedia, but still manage to produce a terrible post (with “good intentions”) and still have a terrible perspective on “cultural progression” as some vertical/linear line. read some of the papers in the back and get a clue.

  5. kenneth

    Read about african civilizations in wikipedia.The iq of a farmeing african is about 70 iq of schooles african is 80-90 an immigrant in europe or uses 105+.No way hunter gayhers can be smarter than farmers .

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