Practical skills (read as: Paleolithic survival skills) unknown to college students

Madison Rexroat

Long before iPhones and self-driving cars, there were crude blades being formed to cut tough animal hide for food and warmth. Nearly 3.4 million years later, a majority of Americans have all but lost the basic survival skills that sustained our species for so long.

Modern humans – those that look like and are most anatomically similar to us – emerged in the Middle Paleolithic period nearly 200,000 years ago. Fire and the development of stone tools allowed humans to evolve to our modern form nutritionally and cognitively.

Anthropological and archaeological analysis of ancient artifacts have helped determine that the diets and lifestyles of Paleolithic humans were actually healthier than humans today. Cancer and other diseases were rarer and bones were stronger thanks to more exercise and fat- and protein-rich foods. In fact, the Paleolithic diet has experienced a resurgence among social media users and meat enthusiasts.

Despite the new fad diet, skills like creating usable stone axes and preparing meals of deer and stew are almost obsolete in today’s world of technology and automation. Most college students don’t even know basic survival skills like gathering food or building a fire (granted, why should they unless a totally unlikely apocalypse occurs?). 

Nonetheless, climate change shows that Earth will not sustain humanity – which has been around for 2 million years – for 2 million more if we don’t change our wasteful and over-consumptive behavior. Perhaps survival skills should be the next core class requirement.

To read the full article by The Atlantic, click here.