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Prehistoric era

<<< bioculture overview

The beginnings of biocultural diversity stretch far back into prehistoric times, when early humans lived in close interaction with their natural environment. In these early communities, humans were heavily dependent on biological diversity, both as a source of food and for tools, clothing, and shelter. The variety of animal and plant species provided a rich array of resources that enabled humans to adapt and survive.

During this time, imposing animals like mammoths and giant sloths inhabited the landscape, playing crucial roles in the ecosystem. Scratch marks found on the ribs of giant sloths suggest human manipulation. Additionally, footprints of several humans and a giant sloth found at Lake Otero in New Mexico, estimated to be between 16,000 and 10,000 years old, provide further evidence of interaction between humans and these imposing creatures, interpreted as a hunting scene.

Another fascinating artifact from prehistoric times is the Lion Man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel in the Lone Valley, a 31.1 cm tall sculpture made of mammoth ivory dating back 35,000 to 41,000 years. This unique representation combines human and animal features, offering insights into the worldview and cultural beliefs of early humans. It clearly demonstrates the close connection between humans and animals in the prehistoric worldview and could represent a manifestation of reverence and awe for nature. This connection between humans and animals may also reflect the concept of spiritual unity, where animals were viewed as spiritual allies offering protection and guidance to humans.

However, the relationship between humans and animals was not only characterized by hunting and utilization but also by a deep respect and reverence for nature. Early humans had a profound understanding of their dependence on the environment and developed complex mythologies and rituals to honor and preserve this connection. Animals were often viewed as spiritual allies whose powers and attributes supported and protected human communities.

In addition to the animal kingdom, plants and fungi also played a crucial role in the lifestyle of early humans. They served not only as a source of food but also for medicinal purposes, tool making, and the conduct of rituals. The diversity of these plant and fungal species provided humans with a wide range of resources that contributed to their adaptation to various environmental conditions and the development of their culture.

Overall, prehistoric times illustrate the close intertwining of biological diversity, human culture, and spiritual connection with nature. The diversity of life forms not only shaped the material foundations of early humans but also their beliefs, customs, and worldviews. This legacy of biocultural diversity has continued throughout history and still influences our relationship with nature and the world around us today.


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