How Long Would You Have Survived in the Stone Age?

Marie Hullett

Image: ultramarinfoto / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

About 2.5 million years ago, humans chiseled stone tools and hunted the likes of mammoths, bison and deer. They foraged for berries and consumed plants, roots and grasses that most modern humans have no idea you can eat. As they laid to rest in their bare-bones huts, they probably felt pretty fearful, with reason—you never knew when a saber-toothed tiger or a deadly snake might strike. It perhaps comes as no surprise then that humans lived, on average, to reach just age 25 during this era. 

While historians don't know exactly what went on back then, experts have attempted to emulate prehistoric conditions as closely as possible. In fact, about five years ago, a reality TV show called "10,000 BC" sent 20 British people to a remote area of Bulgaria, tasked with depicting what it would have taken to survive in the Stone Age. Modeled after the Mesolithic time period, the people received only some flint, scarce food rations and a couple of basic tools. While they definitely struggled and despaired with consuming insects, gutting boars and generally "making it" in the Stone Age, they still possessed the support, comfort and safety that our ancestors definitely lacked. 

So, if you traveled back to the real  Stone Age, full of fearsome beasts, poisonous plants and natural disasters, how long would you last? When you take the following quiz, you can find out just how you'd stack up against your bigger, burlier ancestors. 

To survive in the Stone Age, you're going to need a weapon to hunt with. Which one will you choose?

You live near the ocean, so you will also fish for your food. What will you use to snag a salmon?

Stone age people were hunter-gatherers, which means you will also need to forage for the likes of berries, eggs and plants. Which of these plants would you fill up on?

Let's pretend it's 2.5 million years ago, and that you see some dark purple berries on a bush. Do you know how to tell whether they're poisonous?

Time to build your shelter. What will you construct yours from?

Food is scarce today, so you're going to need to find some prey unless you want your stomach to grumble all night. Fortunately, you observe a mammoth far off in the distance. What do you do?

I'm starving. How will you prepare the meat you hunted for us without cutlery, a stovetop or oven?

Let's say you didn't catch any fish or hunt any game today, and you can't seem to find any fruit, eggs, edible plants or nuts. What will you munch on?

Yikes. More problems. Your community's spring seems to have gone dry, and you're struggling to find water. What do you do?

Ah, a wolf is approaching! How do you react?

In general, how well would you say that you cope with stress?

The others in your tribe are really irritating you. Some are lazy; others are taking more than their fair share of the food. You just want to spend some time alone. What do you do?

Brrrr, it's starting to get chilly. What clothes will you fashion when temperatures drop?

Oh, great. Maggots and fly eggs infested your winter coat of hide. What do you do?

Wow, the world's largest primate to ever live, the 10-foot tall and 1,100 pound Gigantopithecus, is coming right toward you. What do you do?

Today is not your day. Now the prehistoric short-faced bear begins to bumble toward you. It may move slowly right now, but the bear can outrun a grizzly, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour—all on its hind legs. So, how do you react?

Oh no. The bear becomes increasingly aggressive and charges you. What do you do?

Yawn. After an exhausting day, it's time to settle down for some shuteye. By the way, what's your bed made from?

During the cold winter nights, you will need to try to keep your fire going through the night. Do you know how?

Oh no, your mattress keeps getting infested by bugs. How do you react?

It takes about an hour on foot to reach an area rife with edible burdock roots. These roots are tasty, but not very calorie-dense. When and for how long do you trek out to dig them up?

Let's say you'd like to make some beer or tea in the Stone Age, perhaps to make life a little more interesting. Do you know how?

OK, you've caught a boar, and it's time to clean out its intestines and stomach. Do you know the ropes?

Sure, most of your prehistoric life is focused on survival, but that doesn't mean it has to be totally artless. In fact, Stone Age peoples created plenty of cave paintings. Do you know how to concoct a paint derived from nature?

Speaking of art, evidence suggests that cave people wore necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry from the likes of shells, bones and tusks. Do you think you could liven up your appearance with organic materials?

Poof. Your smartphone, laptop, internet, running water, electricity—when you wake up tomorrow, all of that will be gone. How will you manage?

Now, let's talk about the not-so-distant past. Were you ever a Boy Scout, Girl Scout or Brownie?

OK, do you even like nature?

Let's discuss your skill set. Do you possess any carving skills?

Whether you love the practice or hate it, have you ever been hunting?

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