Humans Hunted by Herbivores

As with many of my flighty or subterranean ideas ruminating in and out of consciousness, this is one narrative of deep anthropogenical “predicting of the past” that has heretofore not had a landing space on the surface for which it could clearly be elaborated and connected. Now a clear and propelling catalyst has emerged—thanks to the awesome possibilities ¿unEarthed? by a recent post by Ria Montana—so that this anthropogenic chapter in the human story can emerge without a stark aloofness. This narrative (for lack of a better word) is in answer to the direct and perhaps simplified question:

Why did the proto-human primate-types leave the trees and become the upright humans that we see today?

In rough terms my answer is the following:

→ Our ancestors as forest animals were deeply embedded in the fungal dominated forest eco-system and were quite connected to the needs of the forests, and were acutely aware of encroaching grassland herd species of animals (large ruminants, mostly) that were chipping away at the forest edges over the generations and quickly bringing the land to a succession towards bacterial dominated grass lands. Frugivorian humans turned hunters were the forests’ answer to these “herbivore” predators displacing the forest ecosystem at a cancerous rate (in an Eon-ic time scale) in to a new bacterial dominated savannah and grassland. Humans were the paleo (but not pale) white blood cells of the forest’s immune system, the animals most fit to restore a balanced relationship between the fungal soils and the bacteria soils. Up to this point the Earth had not yet evolved an effective ecological control on the indomitable marauding masses of unsizably large ruminants, but that was to change with the ascent of humans in to this new “grand-stewardship” role.

→ Possible origins of our nearer-side nomadic patterns and our shift to an omnivorous diet (away from a more strictly frugivorian one) can now be offered, as these humans leaving the full ecosystem of the forest would now be exposed to the lands of two annual seasons: wet and dry. During the peak dry and peak wet seasons humans would preferably migrate to forest ecologies where a water and fruit supply could be attained, and their sensitive bodies could better thermally modulate and keep from being too hot and burning or two wet and shivering; during the intermediary times when faring in the less protected grassland ecology was more plausible and the rivers and springs ran with fresh strong water, humans would do a greater deal of hunting and carrying out of their forest immuno-responsibilities. This bi-modality of shifting nomadically from open grasslands to the retreat of a protective forest could be looked at as humanity’s first engagement in geographically and climatologically determined guerrilla warfare. Unfortunately, this lifestyle, given that it eventually unbalanced to bring surplus rather than sustenance, might have planted the seeds that saw human vigilance begin to wane, and the human championing of life’s cause be replaced by human’s championing themselves, from the species on down now to the individual, against the world.

→ The not innately-violent humans—used to being a link in the life cycle eating the freely given fruits of the forest—had now become the champions of the forest. They had to devise ways and methods to “dehumanize” the fellow mammals they were sent to slaughter, and such symbolic methods of separation became our downfall and the current downfall of the Earth, roughly stated.

→ Regardless of the low points we have come to now, understanding this part of the human story is very reassuring, for it is one of our most important embarkations as stewards of life on Earth, which I believe is a natural role to which humans are inclined and predisposed. We were very threatened and sensitive enough to realize we were threatened not by a direct predator, but by a predator that threatened the whole entire ecosystem of which we were a part. This awareness is astounding and reaffirming of much deeper connections of life than science has yet discovered via its dissective and anti-life methodology. In a very noble attempt to keep back these bacteriological grassland conquerors, our ancestors chose to stand up (literally) and fight back on part of a series of organisms which we held in community and in high regards. We died hunting and evolving ways to attack these animals and lessen their populations to save the forest eco-systems we held so dear. And I’d like to believe that for a time the transitioning middle was extended before we made our wrong turn, and we held both the forests and the grasslands in high regard; we let ourselves be a bridge, a common ground through our not favoring one ground over the other, and these two very different worlds of vital development were given a relationship through us and our migrations. They could peacefully co-exist for this epoch as long as humans were to fill in our new niche responsibly, not overdoing it or underperforming. Unfortunately we overperformed in our specific species successes and became conquering and predatory without keeping in mind the long view that we were to be eating away at our future selves; a disease is a blind act of suicide.

→ And lastly, I offer an allegorical way to put this transition in terms of “rock-paper-scissor”. Ruminant herbivores came along (the paper) ready to swallow up our friend the forest (the rock); in order to get back at the paper and defend our friend, we fashioned ourselves out of the rock minerals in to the scissors with which we could now cut back at the engulfing paper. We made the enemy of our friends our enemies and created ourselves as the scissors, the third length in an important cycle. Unfortunately, the scissor moniker has been taken to heart, and now we cut down everything, including rock! But the choice is ours, even at this seemingly late stage, to reemerge as the stewards the Earth borne us to be.


3 thoughts on “Humans Hunted by Herbivores

    • It felt right (and seemed plausible) to put humans in this context, knowing deep down what I feel and how I want to engage with all of the earth sans the cultural baggage and layering that alienates me, our species, and so much of life from having a holistic ecosystem with one another. we’ll see what else comes, I don’t know that it is my mind anymore, but just a conduit of some energies that need a symbolic realm dabbler like me for a spokesperson to the aggressors, before these life energies are extincted. Thanks for your support and for your writings, and a focus on a vocation that is essential but mostly overlooked by our culture(s). Keep at it, give in and don’t give up!


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