The Weird Way Hunting Was Done In The Stone Age

Compared to our ancestors, modern-day humans have it easy. When we get hungry, we no longer have to go out and hunt for meat; we can instead get a hot dog from the nearest street vendor. Of course, the invention of money makes the whole process more complicated, but on the whole, we're grateful that the days of dangerous hunting are mostly over.

Even so, hunting is in our DNA; we've been doing it for literally millions of years. Per The Guardian, researchers at Wisconsin University uncovered evidence which indicates that humans have been hunting for meat for around two million years. Prior to this discovery in 2012, scientists believed that humans had only been hunting for around 400,000 years. Before that time, it was assumed that people ate animals that died naturally, or were killed by other predators — scavengers. But when Wisconsin University researchers examined a Stone-Age butchery site in Tanzania, they found that the site's animal remains indicated that those animals had been specifically targeted and killed by human hunters. Hunting is apparently far older than we realized.

Ancient humans hunted a variety of prey, including antelopes, gazelles, and wildebeests. But given the speed of these four-legged species, you're probably wondering what tactics our ancestors used to kill them. The answer is pretty close to what you might expect.

Ancient hunters literally threw rocks at animals - but special rocks

It may sound like something out of The Flintstones, but research has found that Stone-Age humans likely hunted for meat by chucking rocks at their prey. According to Science Daily, this discovery was uncovered by a team of researchers led by Dr. Andrew Wilson of Leeds Beckett University. The researchers analyzed a set of 55 ball-shaped stone objects which had been found in South African archaeological sites; each rock was roughly tennis-ball sized, but much heavier. Previously, the purpose of these stones was unknown, but Dr. Wilson's team set out to determine if our ancestors may have been using them for hunting. The answer, surprisingly, was yes.

Of the 55 stones, 81 percent were the right size and weight to inflict considerable damage to prey at a distance of up to 25 meters. In fact, the researchers found that many of the spherical rocks were the perfect balance between being light enough to throw but heavy enough to do damage, suggesting that our ancestors were methodical in choosing the right projectiles. In his report, Dr. Wilson further explained that human bodies have evolved to be good at throwing. Before developing spears, rocks were the best tool we had. Our unique ability to throw is part of what gave humans the genetic advantage to dominate the world. So the next time you toss a baseball, remember that you're partaking in a two-million-year-old tradition. Just try not to hit any animals.