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I'm really interested in evolution, and for a err 'hobbyist' I think I understand a good bit of evolution and adaptation and the role it has played in many species.

However, I feel I'm rather ignorant about a key period of time in human evolution. When I try to research it (and I have!) I see discussion of humans-as-ape, right around the time we split off from the bonobo & chimp common ancestor, and then discussion seems to skip to the 'cave-man' era of more advanced stone weapons used to take down larger prey animals along with significant coordination.

There seems to be a time gap between these two points, a time when we did not yet have weapons strong enough to deal lethal damage to fleeing prey, and may not have yet had communication skills to arrange complex ambushes. I'm trying to figure out what evolutionary niche humans possessed prior to having weaponry for killing large prey. Were they scavengers, mostly dependent on fruits, hunt smaller prey etc? I really have no image at all of humanity role or how it evolved during the gap prior to being capable of the coordinated hunts.

The only theory I have heard of is the use of persistence hunting to basically chase prey before it died of exhaustion. I personally am not that big a fan of that particular theory though (ignoring the massive caloric expense per 'hunt' and difficulty of doing it in stone age, prey species would quickly evolve to not run to exhaustion from otherwise non-dangerous humans rather then constantly letting themselves be killed this way if it was the primary hunting strategy of humans).

I realize that this far in time there is no consensus on exactly how humans evolved or exact roles they may have played. however, I'm hoping someone could point me to some theories or discussion for how pre-weapon human may have lived?

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  • $\begingroup$ If I understand your question correctly, I think it would be easier and less wordy to indicate a date and ask about the feeding behaviour of humans at that date. I suppose you are interested in maybe 2.6 millions years ago (right before the invention of tools for hunting). $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 28 '16 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to keep learning about evolutionary biology, then you might want to have a look at an introductory course to evolution. Understanding Evolution (UC Berkeley) is an online free resource. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jan 28 '16 at 17:20

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