Guess who’s coming to dinner?
A recent science article reports that our cave dwelling ancestors were often victims of bears and sabre-tooth cats and human bones with bite and claw marks indicate we were also a tasty snack on the carnivore menu.
This isn’t surprising considering clawless, fangless, slow moving homo sapiens from temperate rain forests were tragically ill-equipped to live on the savannah.
Or were, until our ancestors realised that pointy sticks transformed them into hunters instead of prey.
Yet we quickly forget how vulnerable our species was, and still is, without tools to protect us.
I’m reminded of our helplessness when I meet bigger, faster, and deadlier animals on my small farm.
Once I encountered a big Tiger Snake — one of Australia’s most dangerous reptiles — in my driveway and stood rigid in terror before it slithered away.
Then there was my friend’s crazy horse Ratchet. It was eating grass before it turned and chased me around the property. I realised almost immediately that nobody outruns a horse and dived into the pine trees for protection.
Finally, there was my neighbour’s angry, aggressive bull intent upon impaling me with its horns. The rickety wire fence, which it could have demolished with a snort from a flaring nostril, offered little protection. I ran away from that animal too.
I understand now why our ancestors built fences, walls and, weapons. We grew tired of being breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One day the herbivores will figure this out too.
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.