Today, “skill” means knowing how to take the perfect selfie or communicate through emojis. I’m not going to completely dismiss these skills, but I believe we shouldn’t completely forget the outdoor survival skills which got us to this point.
Learning traditional survival skills is a way to boost your confidence, be more prepared for disasters, and connect with nature. Here are just 3 survival skills which were passed down from the prehistoric era.
1. Tracking and Hunting
After reading that title, you probably pictured some hunting bait, a deer, and a man waiting in the bushes readying his rifle. That’s hunting in a nutshell: the practice of killing animals for reasons that vary depending on the scenario someone is placed in.
Back in ancient times, hunting was far more complex. Practicing silent movement and carving out weapons from stone wasn’t enough. For our early ancestors to catch prey, they had to study the animals’ behaviors and anatomies in order to devise strategies on how to take them down. For instance, the Early North American hunters utilized tools known as “atlal” to hurl their spears. The high-velocity throws gave them the advantage, especially when dealing with big game like mammoths.
If you take the core concept of hunting, which is to be in pursuit of something, then everyone has a hunter’s instinct. It’s essentially part of our daily lives, whether it’s looking for your misplaced phone or searching for a 24-hour restaurant near your area.
People still glorify the traditional way of hunting, though. Just watch an episode of Man Vs. Wild, for example, a television series that follows British adventurer Bear Grylls and his wilderness survival journey. A number of movies also feature humans against prehistoric animals, like the recently released Kong: Skull Island and the classic movie Jurassic Park.
You could tell how huge of an impact these kinds of movies had. Jurassic Park in particular, was such a successful film franchise that it spawned a lot of dinosaur-related merchandise, from toys, books, collectibles, shirts, and a handful of video games,including a Jurassic Park slots game. This just goes to show how hunting and other survival skills still intrigue the mainstream, whatever form it is packaged in.
2. Getting One’s Bearings
People nowadays have become so reliant on GPS-tracking apps and detailed maps to navigate unfamiliar territory, they’d be lost without it. Before we shame ourselves for being too dependent on technology, do note that our forefathers also used navigational aids.
The Native Americans made use of waypoint markers in the form of bent trees, rock cairns and cave drawings. Meanwhile, the Minoans of Crete were the earliest recorded civilization who referred to the position of the stars while navigating the seas.
Humans have developed an uncanny sense of mental map-making and spacial awareness. But through the centuries, Gizmodo suggests we have learned to use material objects as our data storage, so that we don’t suffer the burden of memorizing lots of information.
3. Making Clothes Out of Anything
Who would’ve thought your trendy sense of style has ancient origins? This basic necessity of wearing something to protect your body has now blossomed into a thriving fashion industry, which now has media reporters asking A-list celebrities, “Who are you wearing?”
Contrary to the belief that our ancestors had small brains, they were actually smart and creative enough to fashion clothes from the resources available to them.
Archaeological evidence suggests that people have begun wearing clothes some 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. This was when the Neanderthals used the thick, furry hides of the animals they hunted to keep themselves warm and dry. Of course, animals weren’t the only source of clothing they thought of. Just take a look at the famous Otzi the Iceman, as the Guardian reported in a feature article that his entire prehistoric outfit and equipment consisted of mammal skins, bones, feathers and antlers, as well as grass, wood, and fiber.
People of today still practice that ingenuity, of course. Actress Emma Watson once flaunted a beautiful dress made entirely of recycled plastic bottles!
It’s clear that a lot of the things people do today have some sort of ancient explanation. So if there’s one human habit that annoys you to the core, you can place the blame on our forefathers!