First of all, they probably didn't live in caves. Early archaeologists just made this assumption when they first started finding old bones and paintings preserved for millions of years in caves. But you know what they say about assumptions making an ass out of u and ... muption. Modern archaeologists have since found evidence of early human life far from any caves, and they now suspect that caves may barely have been used for residences at all. Caves previously thought to be homes may have in fact been carefully prepared burial sites, which would explain all the skeletons and artwork in them.
Future anthropologists will think we lived in boxes underground.
There's also no good reason to think that early hominids were any less intelligent than us -- which you can take as you will the next time you accidentally drop your phone in the toilet. Neanderthals are believed to have used complex hunting methods to trick mammoths into falling into ravines, indicating there were techniques for communication and advanced planning. There's also evidence that they knew how to make pitch (that goopy black stuff that's used as waterproof sealant and torch fuel), which took h**o sapiens until the late Middle Ages to mass produce.
Anthropologists also believe that h**o erectus had the technology to build and navigate seafaring boats, a skill that we're guessing 99.9 percent of the people reading this do not possess. With all that brain power, it's also unlikely that "cavemen" communicated with the simplistic "Fire bad! Meat good! Chad bastard!" phrases generally associated with them. Our ancestors from 15,000 years ago had such intricate language that we still use some of their words today.
Words such as "mother," "ashes," "worm," and "staycation."
There's also evidence of hominid altruism, such as one-to-two-million-year-old skeletons with decayed bones and teeth, indicating that they would have had trouble walking and eating without assistance. In other words, they died far older than they should have been able to survive on their own, implying that their friends and family cared for them, or at least benefited from their wisdom. Ancient man carried their loved ones through hinterlands full of constant dangers and gave up some of their precious few resources to keep them alive, while we stuck our parents in nursing homes and started screening their calls the moment they asked us to teach them how to use Netflix.
Yeah, if you want to celebrate some historical genius, forget about the Wright Brothers or Tesla -- we'll take whatever cave person first had the idea to keep feeding and caring for Ogg, even though his gimpy ass was slowing down the group. We're reasonably sure none of us would be here without them.
For more ways we're idiots about history, check out 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly and 5 Scenes From History That Everyone Pictures Incorrectly.
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