Skip Navigation LinksWH_Hunter_Gatherers

Hunter Gatherers

"We're Nomadic"

 

Early humans couldn’t read books, but they could read something else: tracks. This song follows the rise of early humans, as they evolved from great apes into Homo sapiens. We follow the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon hunters and gatherers on their nomadic migration around the world. Then we settle down with the first farmers and their domesticated animals after the Neolithic Revolution. From cave paintings and fire to irrigation and civilization, learn about humans’ first steps toward civilization here. 

    
Man, we didn’t always look like this,
We didn’t have fire, couldn’t cook like this.
We didn’t sleep with a pillow,
Lived in trees originally, so if you cried you would weep in a willow.
But one monkey comes down; it’s cool,
When he gets up on his hind legs, he can use tools.
Might kill a bird or two, but that’s not happening much,
Instead, he’s picking blueberries and he’s gathering nuts.
But what’s this, he’s making a stone knife,
Now he’s hunting antelope his whole life.
But it’s a cold night; with no light it’s dark as cocoa,
No home – that could drive a sane man loco.
Picture this like Kodak: He roams, he’s a nomad,
Following herds of pachyderms wherever they go now.
He rubs two sticks, makes a fire,
Now his meat and food is so easy to chew.
This African man was mostly grunting,
Couldn’t think in our terms, he didn’t have words.
So he makes, a word for fire, a word for water,
A word for his son and his daughter.
He does another thing that no animal tries,
He paints paintings on the cave wall; why?
I don't know but he’s an African, he’s an Ethiopian,
And guess what kid, so are you…
Because he made babies, and they made babies,
And they made babies,
And they made a baby and that baby is you!

Oh, we ain’t got no homes,
So all we gonna do is roam.
We’re not Romans, but we’re roaming,
We’re nomadic, so you know we keep it going.

OK, I don’t even need a hand at all,
I will bury the dead like a Neanderthal.
I’m Kool Herc meets Kirk, your flow captain,
I throw spears like a Cro-Magnon.
That’s the early man, he was going insane,
Tired of chasing animals across the plains.
His wife’s picking berries and fruit from the trees,
She’s like, "We could grow food if we plant these seeds."
Now she’s like, "This is sweet, my man,
We eating bread from the wheat we plant.
Those animals you hunt, let’s domesticate them,
Put a fence around them, now we’re baking bacon."
We ira-irrigate, control water flows,
Plow the land, plant the crops, and watch them grow.
Now my brother doesn’t even have to farm no more,
The Bronze Age – he’s making bronze arms and swords.
Division of labor, that’s the plan,
Now my aunt can go and open that frozen yogurt stand.
You better know, we trade it like Joe’s, n’ settle down,
Like Jericho, kid, we built the cities and towns.
You better recognize.

Oh, we ain’t got no homes,
So all we gonna do is roam.
We’re not Romans, but we’re roaming,
We’re nomadic, so you know we keep it going.