Hunter-gatherers enjoy long, healthy lives

We hope that the front page we’ve started at will become the thing that people find first when they hear about “rewilding,” wonder what it means, and type it into Google. We tried to make it flow like a story that unfolds as you scroll down the page to lead you from the standard way that WEIRD people think to the point where you might join this forum. So we start by pointing out that we have some big problems, and then pointing out some context for those problems. Then we get to the first batch of essays, all about overturning the usual stereotypes about hunter-gatherer life.

I think we can continue developing these over time, so I want to start a thread here to collect your comments, critiques, and suggestions. Think of this thread like an ongoing working group.

Hunter-gatherers enjoy long, healthy lives.


Illness accounted for more than half of all deaths in all but one group that Gurven and Kaplan studied (the Ache), yet “most infectious diseases are absent in newly contacted groups, because small, mobile populations cannot support these contagious vectors.” (2007) Hunter-gatherers have always had to deal with disease, of course, but most epidemic diseases fall under the heading of zoonotic diseases: diseases that come from animal populations, usually introduced to humans by domestication. Even with diseases that did not arise from domestication, hunter-gatherers lack the population density to keep many epidemic diseases alive, so many of the illnesses they die from actually come from their agricultural or pastoral neighbors. When you consider also how many hunter-gatherers find themselves hunted by those same neighbors for sport, the leading cause of death for hunter-gatherers seems like living near people who don’t hunt and gather.

lol, nicely put Jason and great to see these essays up on the site. A powerful educational tool and bracing introduction to the rewilding philosophy IMHO.


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