A recent NPR Health story from "All Things Considered" on the subject of how our human ancestors might have lived, shows how grandmothers may have been the primary key to human evolution.
Since the 1960s, certain assumptions have been made about how early humans lived. The Western ideas about the division of labor and the nuclear family, were based on the so-called "Man the Hunter" theory. But a newer body of research and theory, has given us an interesting viewpoint of how to understand our past by studying modern hunter-gatherers, who have lived in the same ways for thousands of years.
An anthropologist named Kristen Hawkes and her colleagues at the University of Utah, over many extended field visits to an area in northern Tanzania, kept track of how much food a wide sample of community members of a group known as the Hadza, were bringing home to their families. They found out that the average hunter went out almost every single day to hunt, but only returned home with food after a successful hunt on 3.4 percent of their hunting excursions.
This finding meant that, in the Hadza society, if people were depending on wild meat to survive, they would starve.
So who was providing the majority of calories to their families and group-mates?
Read on to discover how the Moms and grandmothers were more important to child survival than the fathers were.