The story of prehistoric men and women, their families, environment, behaviors and most specifically their constant struggle with survival to show how natural selection chose us humans today and not previous, less adapted versions of humans. General direction for the cavemen story is to ask the following question of each term from the book: How is this an adaptive trait? And then turn the answer into a way that some cavemen died of and/or did not reproduce and others survived.
  • For example: "Cavemen who had a less developed sympathetic division of the nervous system were unable to respond quickly in fight or flight situations, such as being chased by a large sabertooth tiger. These cavemen passed their best genes to their offspring. This is an example of natural selection."

And so it begins...


It was a quiet morning in the Ickbar clan when a foreign Neanderthal came bursting into the village, screaming in hysteria. Each caveman and cavewoman peeked out of their primitive shelter in curiosity, trying to decipher what the stranger was shouting about. The stranger had interrupted their circadian rhythm; the stranger burst in during daylight, however, daylight was the regular sleeping period for the people of Ickbar. Once calm enough to stabilize his breathing, the stranger yelled loudly for the whole clan to hear:

“Saber Tooth Tigers!!”

The members of the Ickbar froze with fear, their episodic memory kicking in. A streak of Saber Tooth Tigers had attacked their tribe many moons ago, causing a devastatingly high number of casualties. It was at that moment that a thunderous roar echoed from the nearby woods. Due to the fight-or-flight response, most caveman and cavewoman scurried out of their shelters and darted in various directions, not wanting to fight a tiger.

Some cavepeople, however, did not scurry. A small family of cavepeople all suffered from underdeveloped hippocampuses, not remembering the fatal tiger attack that removed half of Ickbar’s population. They went back to sleep, not seeing a threat in the approaching tigers. Others, however, did feel the emotion of fear when their memory of Saber Tooth Tigers was recalled. One cavefamily did want to escape the village before the attack of the tigers, but suffered from an underdeveloped sympathetic division of their nervous system. Lacking this, there was no stimulation to awaken the body into rushing to safety.

One caveman, Yugar, during the rush for higher ground, noticed a cave high up on a ledge. This cave seemed large enough for the entirety of the Ickbar people, but was at an unattainable height. Due to his advanced insight learning, Yugar noticed the nearby rocks and called for assistance in stacking them to reach the ledge. The other cavemen volunteered to help, and they quickly got the rocks in such a position that the clan could climb up to the cave.

One by one the clan filed into the cave, the last caveman disassembling the rock staircase on his way up. Soon after retreating to the cave, the clan watched in horror as the streak of Saber Tooth Tigers made their way into the town. Those in the cave cowered away as their fellow cavemen who stayed behind were mauled by the tigers, one including caveman Quar, who lacked perceptual consistancy and did not recognize the tiger until it was upon him.

A scream from the inside of the cave drew attention from the other cavemen. Caveman Pree had found a snake in the back of the cave and screamed out of fear. Immediately, Pree chopped the head off the poisonous snake, generalizing it with the rattle snake that had attacked her brother a few moons ago. The others, in order to stay safe, searched the rest of the cave for snakes, exemplifying the preparedness hypothesis.

After searching the cave for any remaining snakes, many materials were found, including bones and vines. Using his superb creativity, caveman Ijah took advantage of these materials and started constructing weapons to defeat the tigers. The other cavemen made fun of Ijah for “wasting his time,” but Ijah had the emotional intelligence not to counterattack.

The cavemen, after giving up on making fun of Ijah, took it upon themselves to organize the cavewomen of the clan. Most cavewomen were left in the village, however, since they depended on the tend-and-befriend model to survive. The cavemen observed the cavewomen, searching for any signs of injury. All that could be observed was the unshakable fear instilled in the hearts of the cavewomen, their cavechildren clinging onto their mothers desperately with the postural reflex.

Once all were accounted for in the clan, the cavemen decided to check if their village was free of tigers. To their disbelief, the tigers had decided to take refuge in their village. Unsure of what steps to take next, all they confirmed they could do was to wait.

As the sun rose the next morning, caveman Yugar noticed that his brother was missing. In a frantic search, Yugar glanced down the cliff to see his brother being used as the tigers’ breakfast. Tears welled up in Yugar’s eyes as he remembered the incident where his brother was first discovered sleepwalking. His brother’s lack of sleep paralysis ended up taking his life, and Yugar felt his heart lurch at the thought of never seeing his brother again.

Yugar’s emotional moment was soon interrupted by caveman Eray approaching with a puzzled look. Unsure of his surroundings, he asked Yugar what was going on. Yugar soon remembered from an event long ago that Eray suffered from anterograde amnesia, a memory fiercely engraved in his long-term memory. After explaining the situation, Eray looked mortified and retreated to the back of the cave for safety.

Yugar, now assigned leader of his clan in refuge, glanced over the population within the cave. He noticed quite a few insomniacs rocking in a fetal position, unable to submerge themselves in the necessary REM sleep. He also noticed how those insomniacs were conveniently seated next to the cavefamily that suffered from sleep apnea. He chuckled at the coincidence of their seating near each other, thinking of how often they must have assisted each other over the course of the night. Yugar peered over to the group of small cavechildren entertaining themselves with the clan’s pet baby mammoth. Completely disregarding the trouble the village was experiencing, the cavechildren could still find pleasure in the simple art of training the mammoth through positive reinforcement of providing it with treats.

The treats then got Yugar thinking—how would the clan eat? He made his way to the cavechildren and encouraged them to train the mammoth through intermittent reinforcement in order to save as much food for the clan as possible. The cavechildren obeyed their authority as such as Yugar decided to head out in search of food.
After precariously exiting the cave, Yugar sprinted around the village to avoid the sight of the tigers and headed deep into the forest. Yugar had once been in this forest, and used his cognitive map to find the best food supply available. From a distance, Yugar could mentally rotate and zoom in on specific areas to find his way around. Upon his approaching a moss ridden tree surrounded by mushrooms, the tree acted as a retrieval cue for Yugar. He remembered the unfortunate event where he once ate the mushrooms surrounding that exact tree, only to discover the poisonous abilities they contained. Soon after he developed a taste-aversion to the poisonous mushrooms. He remembered how his peers fell prey to the fundamental attribution error, accusing Yugar of being too juvenile to understand the mushrooms were poisonous. To prove them wrong, Yugar swore to prove his intelligence in native plants. Yugar’s stomach grumbled loudly as it motivated Yugar to continue on his search for food. Hunger, being one of the only primitive stressors during Yugar’s time, kept Yugar focused on finding food.

Upon returning to his village, Yugar found his fellow cavemen in battle with the Saber Tooth Tigers. Ijah tools had been a success, and through participant modeling showed the others how to use these weapons to their advantage. Yugar dropped the armfuls of food and joined in battle, using moves he learned by watching his peers. In the end, the tiges were defeated easily and supplied the clan with more meat than they could ever imagine.