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Why did Europe's hunter-gatherers disappear?


Grim Reaper 6

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Hunter-gatherers lived across Europe for thousands of years and were the dominant human presence in the region for most of this time. So what happened to them all?

Researchers don't yet know the exact set of circumstances that drove Europe's hunter-gatherers to disappear, but their decline broadly coincided with the spread of farming in the region. Neolithic farmers arrived in Europe around 8,000 years ago and ultimately replaced hunter-gatherers after a period of sharing the continent with them.
 
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Obviously they were victims of their own success.  The fact is, a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is very land-intensive.  You need a lot of space in which to wander in search of resources.  As population grows, the land required becomes larger, and bands of humans need to spread out.  This has an iterative effect, where eventually all the useful land is how being hunted and gathered, but the Malthusian dynamic is still in play.  Population keeps growing but the land available doesn't.  As a result, the need for new methods of acquiring resources such as agriculture become necessary.  It is human ingenuity that keeps us ahead of the overpopulation and starvation predicted by Malthus. Of course not all humans are up to the challenge, and there have been many occasions where human ignorance, complacency, corruption, and mismanagement of resources have led to mass starvation.

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38 minutes ago, Alchopwn said:

Obviously they were victims of their own success.  The fact is, a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is very land-intensive.  You need a lot of space in which to wander in search of resources.  As population grows, the land required becomes larger, and bands of humans need to spread out.  This has an iterative effect, where eventually all the useful land is how being hunted and gathered, but the Malthusian dynamic is still in play.  Population keeps growing but the land available doesn't.  As a result, the need for new methods of acquiring resources such as agriculture become necessary.  It is human ingenuity that keeps us ahead of the overpopulation and starvation predicted by Malthus. Of course not all humans are up to the challenge, and there have been many occasions where human ignorance, complacency, corruption, and mismanagement of resources have led to mass starvation.

That’s a very interesting take on things and it certainly makes a great deal of sense to me.

Thanks for sharing!:tu:

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