Prehistoric life was not short. This is a blessed scientific lie.
We explain this in much more detail in the book, but here's the misunderstanding in a nutshell.
* There was high infant mortality in prehistory. (How this compares to infant mortality in Medeival Europe or modern India and China is an interesting question we look at in the book, but no space for it here.)
* There are technical difficulties in distinguishing age of death beyond the early 30s, when one's last teeth are fully erupted from the jaw bone.
* These two factors combined with sloppy thinking to create the wide-spread "fact" that "if you made it to 30 or so, you had done well."
But it's bullshit! Nobody was considered "old" at 30 in prehistory, just as 30 year-olds aren't considered "old" among modern day hunter-gatherers, or in the Old Testament, where humans were allotted 70 years (three score and ten). People who lived beyond childhood often–even typically–lived into their 60s and 70s in prehistory. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and well known to specialists in anthropology, primatology, and archaeology.
We Are Not Delicious
8 years ago