The raw materials of the hunter-gatherer are drawn solely from the natural environment. Stone, bone, antler, horn, tusk, wood, plant material, and shell from bird and mollusk offer a surprising diversity of materials to create a tool, which is at its most fundamental level something to solve problems.
Modern hunter-gatherers have tools with modified sharp edges that then are used to do other things. Stone tools are used to cut wood, butcher animals, strip bark, and so on. Having a sharp sturdy edge is of extraordinary value. These also form the basis of stabbing and projectiles weapons, and modern humans have a diversity of types such as knives, hand cast spears, atlatls, and bows and arrows. These are essential to hunting and warfare. Bone is also fashioned into tools such as projectile points. Hunter-gatherers have carrying tools, such as ostrich egg flasks and bags. They have huts, normally made of plant material such as branches and leaves, and brush. They have poisons to ease the killing of animals. This is the typical modern human hunter-gatherer kit in Africa, and it is normally light and can be carried by a single person from camp to new camp.
Modern human hunter-gatherers in Africa for the most part move camp regularly—they have what scientists call “high residential mobility.” They may move camp on average 10 to 30 times a year in a strategic manner, almost always camp next to a source of water, wood for firewood, and food. The annual range of a single band can be very large, covering hundreds of square kilometers. Their societies normally have at least two levels of primary structure. The first is called the band or local group, and this is the main foraging unit. The average size is about 25 members, but this can vary. Some have very flexible band membership, while others less so. The equivalent among chimpanzees would be what primatologists call the troop, and paleoanthropologists assume that the last shared common ancestor also had this band-troop structure. Bands are grouped into ethnolinguistic groups or what are sometimes called tribes. These speak the same language, share dress codes and other symbols of group affiliation, share kinship characteristics, and are tied together by formal rules of marriage exchange that are normally outgroup from the band but within-group for the tribe. Chimpanzees lack this tribal structure.