There are many similarities and differences between the way the people of the Old Stone Age and the people of the New Stone Age obtained their food. In the Old Stone Age, people hunted for their food, while the people of the New Stone Age also had farming to obtain their food. Gathering was a source of food for people in both time periods. “Prehistoric people clearly had a very close relationship with the animals and plants around them.” People in the Old Stone Age got their food from hunting and gathering. During this time, they either found an animal already dead or killed it themselves. They used the animal for multiple benefits, using every last piece of it. They would “cook the meat, including using the bunt animal bones.” They used the animal’s skin as clothing and also hung the skins up on the sides of their tents. They used the sharpened animal teeth as weapons to throw at other animals to kill them.
The people of the Old Stone Age gathered fruits and berries in order to obtain more food. Some examples of things they picked and gathered were weeds, dandelions, basil, mint, and Juniper berries. Since these were easy to find and easy to gather, this was what they regularly ate on most days. They also picked fruits such as dates, figs, and grapes. These fruits, berries, and plants helped the people of the Old Stone Age stay healthy and gave them the nutrition that they needed to survive. Another source of food for the people of this time period was fishing. They used the teeth that they got from the hunted animals by attaching the teeth to the ligaments of the animal and hanging it in a river to try to catch fish. If they did not find or capture any animals or fish on a particular day, they would either eat food from a different night or would have to just rely on the fruits and berries.
While the people of the Old Stone Age were limited to mostly eating meat, berries, and fruit, the people from the New Stone Age had many more advantages when it came to obtaining food. The people of the New Stone Age had better tools, had more advanced hunting skills, and they learned to farm. All of these things made obtaining food much easier for the people of the New Stone Age. The people of the New Stone Age mostly farmed and hunted for their food. The majority of their food came from farming, but they still utilized hunting for meat. Because they were more advanced in tool making than the people of the Old Stone Age, they were able to create better tools that helped them with hunting and farming. They took rocks and sharpened them until there was good point and they attached it to a long stick to make a spear. They would throw it at an animal and in an attempt to kill it. A major advancement which helped people survive the New Stone Age was farming. Farming helped the people have a surplus of food.
Farming provided people of the New Stone age with more food choices than the people of the Old Stone Age. Since they had farming, the people would not go hungry if they could not catch anything that day. The people had better tools, such as the plow, which helped them prepare larger plots of ground to grow many vegetables. Also, if an animal came and tried to eat the crops, the farmers would set up traps or have people standing nearby waiting to capture the animal and use the meat. The people of the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age had to be clever when they were hunting for their food. If they were not careful, they could get hurt or even killed. An idea that they both used to capture and kill animals was called “cliff-drives”. In a cliff-drive, a group of people cornered an animal between themselves and the edge of a cliff. The people held out their spears, pointed at the animal.
This way, the animal was not able to run away, and since there was a group of people surrounding it, the group would almost always capture the animal. Groups of people from both time periods successfully used this method of capturing animals for food. Another way that people from the Old Stone Age and the people from the New Stone Age hunted was by searching for animals that traveled in packs, such as zebras and buffalo. This way they were more likely to capture at least one animal and it was less likely that someone would get hurt. They were also more likely to catch more than just a single animal by going after groups. Some scientists believe that the people from the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age may have been cannibals. “In Klasies River in Africa, there is evidence that early Homo sapiens heated human skulls, then broke them open to eat the cooked brains inside.” This may have been another source of food for both groups.
The way the people obtained their food during the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age had many similarities and differences. Gathering fruits and berries was a way that both groups of people obtained food. During the Old Stone Age, the people mostly gathered or hunted, whereas the people of the New Stone Age also benefited from farming. Both groups used the resources available to them to obtain the food they needed to survive.
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Netzley, Patricia D. The Stone Age. San Diego, California. Lucent Books Inc. 1998
History World International. The Stone Age. www.History-world.org/stone_age.htm