Were Cavemen Real? The True Scientific Facts Are Here!

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at www.caves.org or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Yes, cavemen were real. Perhaps they didn’t live quite like the flintstones, but they did sometimes live in caves and resemble the images that probably pop into your head when you hear the word.

However, most experts believe that their lifestyle was different from what is commonly believed. It has its own specific advantages and drawbacks which are impossible to see in the 21st century. Due to this lack of perspective that modern life has given us, many students can’t define or comprehend the quality of cavemen’s life and think they were not real.

People commonly think that cavemen only lived in caves. In reality, they spent more time in simple animal hide tents and huts, often situated near the mouth of a cave. Thus, the name “caveman” is a bit misleading, but not totally inaccurate.

According to scientists, cavemen are from the Stone Age which began more than two million years ago. It was that era in which our ancestors didn’t know anything about metalwork. They had a little more Flintstone fun, but it wasn’t like a Jurassic Park terror either.

The reason we believe this is that caves often have the fossils of prehistoric people. Especially in the 19th century, scientists recognized their fossils as the remnants of prehistoric people. Furthermore, cavemen dominated an extremely long stretch of time from three million years ago to 12 thousand years ago. Piecing together their history through their remains, as well as discoveries of their drawings, fossils, and stone tools, we have learned quite a lot. But there is still more to discover when it comes to the other types of humans that came before us.

Otzi the 5300 year old caveman. An image showing his likely last meal: bacon.
Turns out that cavemen loved bacon too.

Where Did Cavemen Really Live?

Most of us think cavemen belong to one region only. But strange-looking fossils of early men discovered in almost all regions – Asia, Africa, Europe, etc. – prove otherwise. They didn’t have one settled place in our understanding of history.

When we discuss cavemen, we also associate a few special characteristics with them. For example, shaggy animal hides, cave paintings, and cattle bones. 

We expect to discover remnants of some of these things around their fossils.

Some popular cultures show cavemen with dinosaurs. This is a myth. Scientists deny this view, because dinosaurs became extinct almost 66 million years before any evidence of cavemen, or the homo sapiens species, emerged.

An image of an animal pelt tent, the type that cavemen likely lived in.
A small animal pelt tent held up with branches and sticks.

Were prehistoric humans happy? 

This is another question that is often discussed because we are in the era of technology. Things move faster today, and we live in an incredibly complex society. We don’t easily comprehend how they survived the harsh circumstances and what type of psychological resilience they had.

Of course, their lives weren’t steady or ever truly safe. Some days had great, romantic weather and food, and other days had no food at all. You can’t compare their life, based more heavily on luck and centered around survival, with our contemporary lives at all. The unpredictable conditions in their time made them psychologically strong. Prehistoric man was forced to either adopt multiple methods of survival or perish.

This doesn’t mean that cavemen were constantly suffering, either. In some ways they were luckier than us, and some would even say they were more intelligent than us when it came to certain things.

  • They were peaceful. There were no wars and border skirmishes were less common than they are today. This is because they didn’t have border lines to create territorial disputes like modern, profit-driven humans.
  • Prehistoric humans were ingenious problem-solvers since their life was depended on their problem-solving skills. They knew how to use nature and offerings to survive the hostile environments. This is something we don’t truly appreciate in the 21st century. When some unfortunate event hits us, many of us are often helpless and dependent on the government to tell us what to do.
  • Believe it or not, our generation and ancestors (post-agricultural revolution counterparts) are more at risk of dying of starvation. Cavemen were safer and died of starvation at a lower rate. This is because everything was available through nature. With more developed hunting skills, they were not at risk of a complex agricultural system falling apart based on external factors.
  • There were no chances of epidemic illnesses as they used to live in small groups; they were healthy, happy, and had good security.
A real caveman or model showing the facial features, including large lips, mouth, and nostrils.

Similarities Between Cavemen and Modern Humans

However, these are some of the benefits they experienced. We are not here to romanticize the more brutal, primitive lifestyle, but it is interesting to consider some of the other aspects of life during their existence. When it came to entertainment and art, cavemen weren’t totally different from us. In fact, they had some sophisticated habits and tastes.

  • Cavemen knew how to play music on instruments. Though their instruments were simple, they were still successful in making instruments like a flute from bird bone and mammoth ivory. Historians believe that these instruments weren’t only for fun. They were used in religious rituals, which made learning and teaching others to play these instruments a significant part of their life.
  • They loved camping just as much as we do. It isn’t clear what they were doing there, but a common belief is they went camping with the main intention of more successful hunting. They used to come out of their caves for a few nights, stay in a tent with a campfire, and hunt together.
  • They knew how to make bread. It was a very tiring and unbelievably labor-intensive process, but they were quite successful in this. Their bread wasn’t so different either. It is a staggering discovery for researchers because it is tough to understand how they learned about harvesting the grain, making the dough, or making finely ground flour.
  • Surprisingly, Stone Age women were as strong as today’s athletes. They knew how to hunt, protect their children, and survive climate change or rough weather conditions. They were also involved with manual labor almost as often as their male peers.

All these facts prove that despite the massive advances in technology and average quality of life, as human beings we really aren’t so different from our ancestors.

Cavemen were known to wear animal skins as leotards for warmth and protection.

Cavemen Benchmarks for Fitness

Are you as fit as a caveman? Try to see if you can meet these basic requirements below.

  1. Hold a deep squat for 30 minutes. This is NOT easy!
  2. Get up from a seated position without using your hands, and maintain your balance. Sit back down, again not using your hands and maintaining your balance.
  3. Walk for 20 miles (32 km) at a steady pace without a break
  4. Sprint for 200 yards (180 meters) in less than 30 seconds
  5. Run 10 miles (16 km) in no more than 80 minutes
  6. Jump the same distance as your height from a standing position
  7. Hang from your hands from a bar (use a safe pull-up bar) raised horizontally above your head, then pull yourself up and climb on top of the bar (this won’t be possible unless you have plenty of space)
  8. Lift an object half your body weight (on your back preferably!) and carry it for a whole mile on uneven terrain
  9. Carry a person your own weight for half a mile with no pauses
  10. Hit a small target with a tennis ball from 50 feet (15 meters) away
  11. Catch a ball thrown to you from 60 feet (20 meters) away, five times in a row
  12. Stay afloat without any assistance and swim comfortably for more than 10 metres

Not so easy to be a caveman, is it? Let’s just be thankful we have our smartphones and air conditioning, because I don’t know if I would have survived against a saber-toothed tiger.


When you compare cavemen with today’s modern humans, it’s easy to understand why we do some of the things we do. We are probably more intelligent and have the critical thinking, but cavemen enjoyed the fruits of life in their own ways.

Some people wonder why we mostly find evidence of cavemen inside actual caves, if they were actually living in huts and tents more often.  

Caves not only protect humans and animals from winds and weather but also other kinds of things that destroy the fossils. For that reason, they have the best archaeological traces. Historians are mainly interested in them as they conserve the most preserved glimpses of the past.

On the other hand, the environment outside the caves is pretty harsh.

The chances of preservation are almost zero due to the exposure to weather, scavenging animals, flooding, soil composition, and etc.

Therefore, caves are supremely important for the researchers and fortunately, cavemen turned caves into their shelters also. Of course, it is difficult to access them, since they have millennia of sediment accumulated, but they preserve the fossils in a much better way.

So, in light of all these signs, interesting facts, and discoveries, we hope you learned something here. Cavemen are sometimes portrayed as people of the Stone Age, but their lifestyle mystery is still compelling the researchers to research more about them to find our roots.

Other Resources

Read Derbyshire Cavemen to learn about many legends and the archaeology of our prehistoric ancestors. We share DNA today with so many of them, including Neanderthals, Ice Age reindeer hunters, Celtic chieftains, Romans, Medieval outlaws and saintly hermits. All of these people utilized caves as homes, hunting lodges, contemplative cells and sepulchers for the dead.

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