Hunter-gatherer Lifespan


#1

I wanted to share this fascinating study, http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/gurven/papers/pdrdraft04182006.pdf, of the lifespan of the hunter-gatherer. If I’m understanding this correctly, based on this study, the average age of the hunter-gatherer is 72, with a variable range somewhere between 68 and 78.

If anyone else has more information backing up or contradicting this hypothesis, I would be very interested in reading/hearing it!


#2

All I know about this is a quote from an American Indian elder in the 1800’s sometime, who said that his people regularly lived to be 130, until white people came (bringing bread and wine).

Also, currently the oldest person on earth (according to government records) is an indigenous woman from a culture in Brazil who just turned 120. She walks around the village every day (and visits other villages), and has never eaten civilized food in her life (just her native diet of manioc and wild game and vegetables).


#3

Sounds plausible, The lifespans can differ dramatically since some climates are tougher than others. Inuit peoples live in harsh environments for example, and therefore have some distinct differences from most other foraging peoples. The main theme one can see is that hunting-gathering(-gardening) is routinely healthier than civilized/agricultural subsistence and lifeways.


#4

I should’ve highlighted the fact that the study I shared is based on modern hunter-gatherers, none of whom remain unaffected by civilization. Thus, I would not be surprised at all if even just a couple hundred years ago life expectancy was longer.


#5

I think it’s also interesting what Weston Price found by studying the results of traditional diets vs. (modern) civilized diets on people’s health, discussing with physicians that have lived with traditional cultures for decades who saw the result of a shift in people’s diets (to a modern diet). Basically, after such a shift in diet, doctors started seeing heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer - where before those diseases were basically unheard of.


#6

Where exactly do people get the notion that 40 was ancient to our prehistoric ancestors? I almost got in an argument with some idiots on a writing forum who said that all of humanity’s “greatest achievements” in life expectancy, medicine, and technology are due to humans becoming sedentary and more densely populated, and that “no modern rational person” would want to return to such a primitive state. I wanted to point out that considering only the modern mindset to be rational is essentially admitting you’re brainwashed and that being a persistent parasite isn’t an achievement, but I chose to remove myself from the conversation this time instead of making more enemies. I have enough already.