A hunter-gatherer is a human living a lifestyle in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (gathering edible wild plants) and hunting (pursuing and killing of wild animals), like what most natural omnivores do. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to the more sedentary agricultural societies, which rely mainly on cultivating crops and raising domesticated animals for food production, although the boundaries between the two ways of living are not completely distinct.

Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin in August 2014

Hunting and gathering was humanity's original and most enduring successful competitive adaptation in the natural world, occupying at least 90 percent of human history.[1] Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change were displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.[2] However, the division between the two is no longer presumed to be a fundamental marker in human history, and there is not necessarily a hierarchy which places agriculture and industry at the top as a goal to be reached.[3]

Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, and many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism.[4][5] Contrary to common misconception, hunter-gatherers are mostly well-fed rather than starving, and tend to have a more diverse and arguably more healthy diet.[6]