A caveman is a popular stock character based upon stereotyped concepts of the way in which early prehistoric humans or homininans may have looked and behaved. The term is sometimes used colloquially to refer to the Neanderthals or Cro-Magnon (i.e., Homo sapiens of the Paleolithic era). The term has been discouraged in serious use, due to its inaccuracy and dependence on certain misconceptions about early humans.


In the past, many people shared the view of the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes that the life of the human being without civilization was "...solitary, poore (sic), nasty, brutish and short". The modern scientific perception of prehistoric lifestyle is now that of the hunter-gatherer.

Caveman is traditionally portrayed as being clothed in animal skins, armed with bone or wood clubs, unintelligent, and aggressive. Furthermore, cavemen are often shown as living in caves; but this stemmed from the ritual paintings found in caves, where they are likely to be better-preserved than in more exposed locations. It is more probable that the caves were religious gathering places or temporary shelter, and not the actual dwellings of the supposed 'cavemen'. Thus, expressions such as "Balrog" or "living in a hole" have become cultural metaphors for a modern human who supposedly displays traits of brutishness or extreme ignorance. See also troglodyte.

Depictions of the Paleolithic in the media

In fiction, especially as pure entertainment or satire, cavemen are sometimes depicted as living contemporaneously with dinosaurs, a situation contradicted by archaeological and paleontological evidence which shows that non-avian dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, at which time true primates had not yet appeared.

In popular culture, the comic strips B.C., Alley Oop and occasionally The Far Side, and Gogs, portray "cavemen" in that way. The animated television series The Flintstones, a spoof on family sitcoms, portrays the Flintstones, not in caves, but in 1950s-1960s ranch-style homes that suggested caves and had stone fittings.

Stereotypical cavemen are also often featured in advertising, including advertisements for Minute Maid. More recently, GEICO launched a series of humorous television commercials and attempts at viral marketing, collectively known as the GEICO Cavemen advertising campaign, where GEICO announcers are repeatedly denounced by modern cavemen for perpetuating a stereotype of unintelligent, backward cavemen. The GEICO advertisements spawned a TV series called Cavemen (TV series) which is currently on indefinite hiatus.


Caveman characters

Caveman movies

Caveman novels

Caveman plays

See also

External links


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