A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species, although the boundaries between the two are not distinct.

Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history.[1] Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been 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.[6]