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How did pre-humans care for their infants?

 
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Apr, 2009 01:20 pm
The Inuit and other plains tribes used dried moss and lichen as diapers. It was light, very absorbent and easily changed.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Apr, 2009 07:28 pm
@Ceili,
Ceili wrote:
The Inuit and other plains tribes used dried moss and lichen as diapers. It was light, very absorbent and easily changed.

Interesting. Thanks. I guess they lined the skins they used for baby clothes with moss (or disposable material). That makes sense.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Apr, 2009 07:37 pm
Based on a number of posts, the best theory I think we have so far is a combination of things. Mothers probably anticipated their infants poops and simply held them away from them when carrying them. And proto-hominids were probably much more tolerant of small poop smudges and stuff than we are today. This combination of behaviors might solve the problem, and it seems the simplest solution.

I'm also guessing that the gestation period for proto-hominids was probably longer than ours because the head size of the baby was smaller, so the babies were probably more developed at birth (like other primates), and reached some level of coordination faster than modern babies do.

As for soiling their sleeping areas, if they were nomadic to a large degree, then they simply left the soiled areas behind them and moved on. No need to clean a house if you never stay in one place very long.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 07:40 am
@rosborne979,
I googled societies cultures where babies don't cry. Although I didn't find any scientifically measured evidence, it seems that in cultures where someone is constantly holding the baby, there is much less crying.

There was some website where this woman was talking about some primitive type indian clan who lives in the amazon rain forest, where the babies rarely cry. There, until the baby is ready to crawl, it's always carried close to the body of the mother, or someone else.

So perhaps that wasn't a big issue if the pre-humans were hiding from a predetor.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 07:54 am
@chai2,
Yep. Sozlet very rarely cried -- people were kind of weirded out by it. I'd carry her in a sling a lot and had a video monitor trained on the bed that I'd keep an eye on when she was sleeping -- she'd wake up and then look at the monitor's camera, and then I'd notice and go get her, no crying involved. She would only cry if I took too long to notice (usually it was within a few minutes) -- a tiny baby giving the hairy eyeball to the camera was pretty damn cute. ("Hel-LO?! I'm AWAKE here and nobody has appeared yet... is this thing ON??")
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 05:01 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

I googled societies cultures where babies don't cry. Although I didn't find any scientifically measured evidence, it seems that in cultures where someone is constantly holding the baby, there is much less crying.

There was some website where this woman was talking about some primitive type indian clan who lives in the amazon rain forest, where the babies rarely cry. There, until the baby is ready to crawl, it's always carried close to the body of the mother, or someone else.

So perhaps that wasn't a big issue if the pre-humans were hiding from a predetor.

That's interesting. Although if it's true, then it makes you wonder what affect it's having on our kids not to have the same level of physical contact that they evolved with.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 05:05 pm
@rosborne979,
It's makin' em into freaking messes, that's what it's doing.

(that, and play dates)
0 Replies
 
TheCorrectResponse
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 05:56 pm
Chai2 wrote:
There was some website where this woman was talking about some primitive type Indian clan who lives in the Amazon rain forest, where the babies rarely cry. There, until the baby is ready to crawl, it's always carried close to the body of the mother, or someone else.


This is actually common across many cultures from primitive to modern. The religious or spiritual aspect especially among literate cultures is usually concerning the “purity” of the infant. It is seen in Hinduism today, for instance, on the island of Bali when the infant is first “planted” on the ground on the 105 th day after birth. Until then the infant remained to close to God.

If you think about it this is a very reasonable behavior. Only considering the aspect of safety you can consider that: many pathogens are found naturally in the soil, many dangerous insects and plants can be encountered, actual predators could more easily take a child opportunistically as they crawl then in their mothers arms. As infants particularly are most susceptible to pathogens and venom the threat of catastrophe is high. I am sure everyone can think of others.

As stated, held infants don’t cry as much. What is the first thing you do to stop a crying baby? They are also probably less easily startled when held.

Going back to the premise that these where pre-human (when they would have been scavengers) there could have been considerable travel in their lives. Even if hunter-gatherers (which probably came later) this is true and so the points above would be even more relevant. For example: often going into new areas means that personal knowledge of the area and its specific threats would be minimal.

ROS: Too bad RL isn’t here to straighten you out anymore -- just like any big texN could! Wink
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 06:23 pm
@TheCorrectResponse,
TheCorrectResponse wrote:
ROS: Too bad RL isn’t here to straighten you out anymore -- just like any big texN could! Wink

Maybe BigTexN is RL. Smile
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 10:04 pm
Chimpanzees are hunter-gatherers, not scavengers. Offhand I don't think any of the great apes fit the category of scavengers. They also make several different kinds of tools (I think I remember reading that we now know of something like twenty-one tool-making species--that may be high, but they keep discovering new ones). Not very complex tools, to be sure. Which means that even proto-hominids probably used rudimentary tools and hunted and gathered and probably if they moved around, it wasn't very far, because they lived in a pretty rich dietary environment.
0 Replies
 
TheCorrectResponse
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Apr, 2009 07:00 pm
This actually brings up several questions. While I am interested, this is certainly not my field and so I admit that I don’t keep up on what currently is accepted knowledge -- maybe someone can guide me.

Is there now direct evidence that allows us to state as fact that pre-humans were either hunter/gatherer or scavenger, i.e. evidence from the fossil record etc. or is it still just a conjecture?

How can an animal be said to be a hunter/gatherer? I am aware that with Jane Goodall’s work it was shown that primates eat meat. I know that changed their designation from herbivore to omnivore but have never heard it given the H/G designation. It seems to me that this is just anthropomorphizing animal behavior. So if a chimp is a hunter/gatherer, could it be that a bear is a hunter/gatherer? Both are omnivore so what are the behavior (or any) differences that would validate the different classifications?

If it is use of tools it would be apples and oranges.
For primate hunting behavior I would assume clubs and rocks is what we are talking about; “primitive” tools. (The only “true” tools, i.e. a modification of a natural object, I am aware of primates using is grasses or shoots to gather insects from nests; they fix them back to a point as they splinter). Without going to deep into the physics of the physiology, only primates are built to use these types of things (thrown rocks or swung clubs). Dexterity is important but not the essential element, as animals such as raccoons and otters have more than enough dexterity. The force imparted by a swung club or thrown stone scales to total length of the appendage to the fifth power! Since primates are both dexterous and can stand (so the entire body is then the operational length rather than just the appendage, giving MUCH more force), so they can generate enough velocity for these to be real weapons. A taller pitcher (all other things being equal will throw a ball at greater velocity than a shorter one). In that case the omnivore or H/G distinction is then physiology alone, which to me doesn’t make much sense. I would have thought there would be a cognitive basis for the difference.

I hope at least some of that made sense. If anyone responds with information that is current in the respective science can you please provide authoritative links if able. I would like to look into in more detail. I must be way behind.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
 

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