Monday, October 03, 2011


Morgan Spurlock's new documentary on trying to live like cavemen aired last night. I'm not impressed.

As far as I can tell, the concept was to thrust a group of modern people into a caveman-style existence with little preparation. The trouble is that they had too little preparation and retained too much of the 21st century.

Their first problem was to find good drinking water. They found a clear, fast-running stream fed by snow melt. But they didn't drink it. Instead they assumed that it was impure and set about purifying it. They boiled it then filtered it. Not only was this something that no caveman would ever consider, even people from the first part of the 20th century would not think twice before drinking from that stream.

The hunting grounds was two miles away. The hunting party kept walking there and back. Real hunter/gatherers would have sent a hunting party out with orders not to return until they had food. It made little sense for them to keep returning. It burned extra calories at a time when they were already feeling week from days without a proper meal and it cost them time and opertunity. Big prey is often at its most vulnerable at dusk and dawn. But the hunting party was busy commuting at those times.

The way that they hunted seemed poor to me. They just tried to get close enough to a herd of elk to throw a spear at them (to be fair, they had atlatls which increased their range). I suspect that they used techniques meant for hunting with a rifle. Given modern weaponry, as soon as you can see your prey you can kill it. With the atlatl, you have to be much closer. Given that, they should have taken their time and surrounded the herd.

Once they finally did manage to kill an elk, one of the cave women announced that she did not eat red meat. That is a luxury that hunter/gatherers would never have.

All told, this did not shed much light on how early humans lived. It was more about how whiny modern humans can get.

1 comment:

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