Height: possibly short, but more evidence needed.
Morphology: indeterminate, since Pygmy morphology is so different from Bushmen morphology.
Place of origin: indeterminate; possibly tropical forest, but East or Southern Africa also possible.
- Material culture
Dwellings: probably beehive huts.
Weapons: very possibly poison-tipped arrows, but more evidence is needed.
Tools: almost certainly stone tools were used, though not commonly used today.*
almost certainly hunting and gathering; horticulture and/or herding possible but unlikely.
- Immaterial culture
The above can be regarded as some of the most interesting characteristics of our Hypothetical Baseline Population and its Hypothetical Baseline Culture, models representing the common ancestry of everyone now alive, that we can now use as tools for investigating human society, past and present. It's important to remember that this is a hypothetical baseline, subject to testing, and that nothing about it (with the exception, I'd like to think, of its music) has, of yet, been fully investigated, leastwise proven.
Language: unknown. Possibly not fully developed.
[Added 11-15: Thanks to a very logical observation by Glen (see comments, below), I must admit that, as he states, there is a contradiction between the existence of initiation rituals and the absence of language -- and of course there could be no awareness of ancestors, or communication with "spirits," without language. So I have removed the phrase "Possibly none" from the above line and substituted "Possibly not fully developed." For my reasons for believing that the Pygmies may not have had a fully developed language of their own, see post # 98.]
Music: almost certainly P/B style (polyphony, interlock, yodel, etc.)
Ritual/Spiritual Life/Religion: supernatural healing, trance, possession, contact with spirits via dreams, initiation rituals, funerary rituals, strong orientation toward ancestors.
Kinship: most likely flexible and loosely applied; possibly "universal" or even nonexistent.
Political structure: acephalous.
Core values: strong emphasis placed on egalitarianism, gender-equality, cooperation, non-violence, conflict avoidance, individualism, sharing of vital resources.
Behavior: often contentious, sometimes violent in spite of strong social sanctions against violent behavior.
Blood feuds: nonexistent.
Sexual mutilation: nonexistent.
(Mathias Guenther: "Witchcraft and sorcery are either absent or inchoate." from Diversity and Flexibility -- The Case of the Bushmen of Southern Africa, p. 73. See Turnbull, The Forest People and Wayward Servants for similar comments on Mbuti attitudes toward witchcraft.)]
This isn't just any model. Our baseline represents, in technical terms, the most recent common ancestor of all living humans, a very real, very specific society that existed prior to the earliest divergence of the modern human family tree, as inferred from both the genetic and the cultural evidence. Any physical or cultural attributes that can be associated with HBP should be understood as in some sense, and of course provisionally, ancestral to all subsequent populations and societies -- or, to be more accurate, all such groups that have survived to the present time. (Our baseline may or may not be ancestral to societies that haven't survived to the present, known only from historical or archaeological remains, since at least some of these groups might be traceable to a different ancestral group whose lineage has become extinct.) Each and every attribute that can be attributed to our baseline group must be understood therefore as a potential forerunner of any similar human attribute found anywhere in the world, since every extant population can be understood as deriving, however remotely, from HBP.
We can therefore use our baseline almost like a kind of telescope, to scan various societies in various parts of the world, as though we were astronomers scanning the heavens for evidence of how the various planets, stars, galaxies -- and the universe itself -- were formed. To do this effectively we need a new basic principle: any attribute found to be shared between any society now in existence, or represented by historical and/or archaeological records, and HBP is open to investigation as a possible survival from HBP. Where shall we begin?
*Turnbull has described the Mbuti as "pre-Stone Age" because none of their tools are made of stone. He was referring principally to their arrow tips, which are and probably always were, made of fire-hardened wood. Bushmen tips are made of bone. However, since iron and steel tools such as the machete and hand axe, acquired largely from neighboring farmers, are currently being used for tasks that could certainly have been done with stone tools in the past, it's highly likely that both populations were using stone tools prior to contact with outside groups. Such tools have been found by archaeologists in the Ituri Forest and, of course, elsewhere in Africa.