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(Okay, first time on this site so forgive me if I'm not clear or too broad)

Short question: Could the average human survive if we were thrown back in the wilderness? And would we be able to re-develop the same technology?

Background: About five thousand humans (all random meaning they are from every continent, can be of any age, and can be anything from wood carvers to politicians) are stranded in another world, which, for simplicity sake, is the same in every regard to Earth. They do not have any belongings (no tools, books, etc) except for the clothes on their back and their own personal knowledge.

In-depth question: For example, I doubt many people know how to make any weapons (I don't), be it a gun or bow, and if they did, it's unlikely they'd know how to make it without our modern technology. Would it take many millennia to develop the technology all over again? Or less time because we have knowledge about them? Would we even be alive to see the day? ~Thanks

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closed as too broad by L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica, Aify, Bellerophon, Renan, user535733 Jun 12 '18 at 14:11

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome. Unfortunately this question does feel a lot like some of the other questions about rebuilding the world with a small colony, or us losing all technology and recovering. The short answer is YES we could survive. But they would need to start again from the very beginning because so much of our current technology is built off old technology which isn't available anymore. It would probably be like starting from scratch from biblical times with only 5000 people( probably less because they will murder each other over food and language differences). $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Jun 12 '18 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ Average human is really a vague and broad concept. Can you define better their skills and knowledge, and where they are? Being stranded in the Sahara poses different challenges than being stranded on some tropical island. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ "Average" taking into account the real-world population distribution? 5000 of 7 Billion is less than every one millionth human. How many politicians would you get by that? 0?1? 50% of humans live in urban areas, 25% in cities, which says something about their background in farming. Collaboration would be hindered by language barriers, but for the basic tasks of surival handwaving might suffice. --------- Please sharpen the focus: 'Can the average human x?' is totally weird. If 4k of your 5k survive (do they get transported into an area, or dispersed?) - did the average human survive, then? $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Jun 12 '18 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of an article I read a few days ago: iflscience.com/space/… - 5000 people is really on the low end of today's estimates of how many people are needed to create a self-sustaining society. And that's assuming everything else is in a fairly good shape. I think you'll need more people to make it beyond a few centuries. $\endgroup$ – Vilx- Jun 12 '18 at 11:28
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    $\begingroup$ Quite a couple of years back, I read a research result that stated that about 85% to 90% of the population in the western world would not survive, if the goods that are normally sold in a supermarket, could no longer be bought. (I don't have a reference to the research, so I'm writeing this as a comment instead of an answer.) $\endgroup$ – Jacco Jun 12 '18 at 12:54
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It's very hard to find details on what the average human is

54% of us live in cities, you can probably accept most of them as lost.

80% live in "less developed" countries, they have a better chance as they're less isolated from the realities of surviving.

Over 50% of the population live in that famous circle you've probably seen going round social media. Many of them are peasants scraping a living from the soil. They'll have a better chance than the city boys who think they know everything. There are still isolated tribes in that circle who throw spears at helicopters, they'll survive.

You also have to consider your definitions of "the same level of technology" many of these people could be back at their same level of technology in a matter of hours. Between the peasants and the tribesmen, they could set up their version of a normal life within weeks.

But you're considering your version of a normal life, cars, mobile phones, satellites and the internet, not the average person's version of a normal life.

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  • $\begingroup$ He is asking about 5k humans though. I would argue completely different scenario $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 12 '18 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35, but what each of those 5000 brings to the situation varies with their background. You could get 5000 who've never set foot outside a major city, it would be kinder just to shoot them all. You could get 5000 tribesmen who've never set foot inside a major city, they'll be just fine. Random is such a lovely concept. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 12 '18 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ This was absolutely not the point of my comment. Anyhow, you can of course randomly select 5k people that just happen to die within the first day of natural causes, I don't see any point in discussing such scenarios. I mean the OP is still going to write that, if he randomly writes a book where everybody is utterly incapable of surviving, well, why ask questions like this. I also have already commented that the entire thing is completely story based, I wouldn't trust 5000 survival specialists to make it two days or 5000 kids making it, depending on how you write your story $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 12 '18 at 10:13
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    $\begingroup$ Would you care to explain a bit what "that famous circle" means, for those of us who don't partake in the mass-hysteria of like and share (and track) commonly known as "social media"? :) $\endgroup$ – pipe Jun 12 '18 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @pipe There was a image of a world map with a circle round China, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia along with other territories stating that over 50% of the world population lives in this circle. When fact checked, it turned out the circle could have been somewhat smaller and it still be true. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 12 '18 at 13:46
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We're Kind of Wussies Today

Back in college I spent about 6 months in a HEMA class studying and practising historically accurate combat. We would translate old manuscripts that detailed historical martial arts training techniques, mostly from the medieval era. One of the things that stood out to me was a very distinct lack of specific physical conditioning being used. Don't get me wrong, the act of practice itself was a pretty good workout, but things like lifting weights or specific cardio and body hardening was not really ever mentioned. Furthermore, a lot of the manuscripts really seemed to assume you already knew a lot about fighting and whatnot. I brought this up to the instructor and he pointed out that while training warriors basic good physical condition was simply taken for granted. He pointed out a few things to me on the matter.

People didn't have cars, and usually not even horses. They walked. People didn't have machines and equipment, they dug with shovels, lifted things by hand. Every day basic existence for most people was brutal physical labor sun up to sun down, often starting as soon as one could walk and talk. People settled disputes personally and physically. The idea that somebody would show up to a swordsmanship school in poor physical shape wasn't ever considered in any of the training manuscripts of the era. Anybody who lived long enough to attend formal or semi-form swordsmanship training were already a lot higher endurance and stronger than most average people today. There are people today who have literally never even been in a fist fight. Back then people got into one at least a few times a year. Now, I'm not saying they were healthier than today, because they weren't. They were in the process of wearing themselves out to an early death in their late 40's to mid 50's.

What I am saying is that they were tougher, and more self-reliant. They made more of their own things for themselves, they performed all of their own physical labor, and they routinely had to physically fight one another to simply maintain their position in society. Average people today just don't have that kind of physicality or mentality. Even then day to day hunger, injury, and sickness killed a lot of people early. One thing went wrong and you ended up crippled, mortally ill, or starving. Those people were tougher than today, and they STILL routinely dropped like flies.

In Summary

Most of your randomly selected group of people from today would be dead within a month. Maybe a few months if they stooped to cannibalism. The few left would be dead within a year. Maybe, MAYBE onsies or twosies would make it a year. They still wouldn't make it very far, you cannot maintain a technological level of any sort above the stone age with only a few people. Nor can you maintain a society, or a stable breeding pool. You might as well line up all 5,000 and shoot them all. It would actually be less cruel.

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    $\begingroup$ To add on your answer: as a child I spent summers in a country house, where the only mean of getting water was lifting it from a well. Of course it was a task for the kids, and after just one summer lifting water my arms were way more developed than they were after leaving school for the summer break. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ So within a group of 5k people, nobody is physically fit? Also please note that the hard physical labour part is not really given if you take away the ability to farm the land. Hunter gatherers are a different story. I have many more issues with this answer, too many to write them all down. Perhaps think about it for a bit. I get the rant and its interesting to some degree, but I don't get the conclusion, the fist fights (??) and I don't think this is the main issue. But it's something for the op to consider: not everyone would survive that long, but I find that trivial $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Jun 12 '18 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ You assume that most of the people selected are not used to physical labour. However, if 5000 people are truly randomly selected, you have a very high chance of getting people who do not have the luxury of cars, washing machines etc. (more than 1/2 the world lives below poverty, 1/3rd of the population is employed in agriculture -- most of them in devloping countries where hard manual labour is still required) $\endgroup$ – Dhara Jun 12 '18 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ A French person told me a story about his village which is high in the mountains. They farm goats and they eat mostly cheese and rarely meat. When recruiters (read kidnappers) for Napoleon's army came they left without taking anyone because there was nobody that met their criteria for physical fitness in the village. Yet the people in the village lived. The point is that I don't believe, at all, that being as fit as a special forces soldier is a requirement to survive in the wilderness. Some amount of fitness is useful certainly, most people would get that if they survive the first year. $\endgroup$ – Eric Nolan Jun 12 '18 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ What about the people that will just eat coconuts all day long? They will survive and don't need any special knowledge or fitness. Fishing and scavenging also requires little physical fitness. $\endgroup$ – Tyler S. Loeper Jun 12 '18 at 11:31
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Classical Robinson Crusoe scenario. Man is stranded, man must survive with the bare necessary.

No, civilization as they lived it cannot be reconstrucred from scratch, even if their ship had all the necessary. Civilization is about a generational effort of scholarization, information stored and passed from fathers to sons, making sure that the students are given time and resources to stay away from hard work.

A tribe dedicated to live off the land would simply take every hand available, including their youngs', to get food. before schools can take hold in the tribe's culture, they should be well off, and in the meantime they will have likely forgotten how to use the relics in the ship, treating it more like some religious thing rather than their beacon to progress.

EDIT: five thousand humans stranded could offer an even more severe obstacle: organize from scratch a political system. One thing is a community grown around a first nucleus of people, but starting with 5,000 confused, scared people, with no resources available means that before the first week passes, several of them will be starving, poisoned, wounded with sepsis taking place and dead in fights. Their only chance is to quickly organize in small groups, selected by talents if there's any to spare, organize hunting, building tools, even sampling foods (yes, which means volunteers). They don't know the environment, so unless there are botanists, they can't find natural remedies for medical treatment. Small groups are necessaries, they can better find the food and share it among themselves. Instead, the population amounting to a small town will never be able to distribute food among themselves. the groups should find a river, even better a lake and settle around its banks. NOW they will be having a protein source available while they prepare to build huts with mud and wood. This will be a start. In terms of laws, sooner or later the groups will have to confront each other to decide what laws to apply. The sick and the elders will possibly be left to die. Men will fight each other for the women. Food will be the most precious resource, the new money. All of this will have to be mediated through an intergroup authority, or a series of small wars will be ignited.

EDIT II: By the way, I hope this bunch of guys will find themselves in some forest during spring, when life is at its apex and food is still easy to find. In a jungle, they'd suffer the twice given a wider abundance of dangerous microorganisms and insects. And if they end up in someplace during wintertime with snow, a large number of them will die before long, and the survivors will have to go cannibal to nourish themselves

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  • $\begingroup$ It could just be 5000 people got magically teleported to a new world which is what I think the question hinting at $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Jun 12 '18 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with your definition of civilization. You don't need schools to pass knowledge between generation, else stone age civilizations would have not thrived. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ You do. you need to write down stories. you need to teach the kids to read and write. Language can progress, but there must be a language. It is a fact that, when a sophisticated civilization collapsed, without learnt people to pass that civilization's knowledge, its progresses and knowledge were lost. Without the Rosetta Stone, for example, we'd still be much in the dark about ancient Egyptian culture. We must be grate that the Romans left a trove of books, enough to continue some of their legal traditions. And so on $\endgroup$ – Valerio Pastore Jun 12 '18 at 6:20
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    $\begingroup$ They weren't. Forget the trope about the "dark ages" following the fall of the roman empire. There was a clear decline in literature, poetry and theatre. There wasn't any progress in philosophy - but then, that was also true during the roman empire - but no "useful" knowledge was lost. On the contrary, some inventions which had no place in the roman economy, such as as watermills, flourished after its collapse. All the legends about the medieval period being a dark time is a mix of mythification of the roman power and some melancholy about the lost "pax romana". $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jun 12 '18 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ The middle ages in Europe stored a lot of culture thanks to the monks who copied and copied again many texts. But the general knowledge, other than what was strictly necessary to do your job, was restricted to an elite of students, mostly religious, since even the kings and the nobility wasn't generally well-learned -even some of the greatest emperors were close to be analphabets. Mass Schooling, the true foundation of cultural diffusion, took long and hard before it became part of the society tissue. $\endgroup$ – Valerio Pastore Jun 12 '18 at 8:25
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If you could get the humans together, they would be fine

The problem with a small scattered population

The largest obstacle seems to be that the questions specifies that only 5000 people from randomly across the globe will survive. This presents a problem as there are potentially hundreds of miles between each human when they start in this scenario, and no continent has more than 833 people on it, (these are rough numbers, your mileage may vary). So basically we start with a bunch of extremely fractured human populations.

This is made worse if we consider that by population demographics 26% are young children and 16%+ are over breeding age (https://www.indexmundi.com/world/demographics_profile.html). So only 2900 of these scattered people are of breeding age, and only 483 per continent.

This is starting to look very bleak. Even humans with modern technology with this population size and being this scattered might not make it.

So your main problem is that there are not enough people.

The very young will obviously die, and so perhaps will the very old in a short amount of time. The remaining people probably won't be able to find each other, or will inbreed to their demise and after 1 - 5 generations everyone will be dead.

Fixing the population fragmentation problem and just removing techology

If we instead assume that there are 100,000 people scattered across the world, and they are all in groups of 10-20 people but have no technology what so ever except the information that is in their heads. Will they survive?

Yes. Humans were hunters and Foragers. Even the dumbest human can go and find berries and fruit to survive, or eat coconuts. Humans are tough and have few natural predators, so starvation and disease are the main sources of death.

While humans might have some trouble reinventing the gun right away, it doesn't take much creativity to re-invent a bow or spear if you already know such things can exist.

So will the humans survive in the latter scenario? Yes.

Will they bounce back to having technology quickly? This I do not think so. They might jump back to medieval technology fairly quickly, but high technology is probably out the window for a while since specialized knowledge will be lost after the first generation dies of old age.

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  • $\begingroup$ More than half the world's population lives in south-east Asia, so if the randomly chosen people end up where they started, there will be more than 833 in Asia. Many of them live in megacities, which means there's a chance of several from the same city being close enough to find each other, but perhaps makes them less likely to have wilderness survival skills. visualcapitalist.com/majority-worlds-population-lives-circle $\endgroup$ – armb Jun 12 '18 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ On the other hand, whatever sampled these people and dumped them on the alternate empty earth might have left them all in one place. If it leaves them in, for example, an Antarctic winter, they'll all die, quickly, so assume they are somewhere more hospitable. But with such a tiny sample, you probably don't have anyone used to living in a wilderness. 5000 people chosen to include people with experience of flint knapping, of making bows, of bow hunting, with practice foraging for edible plants in whatever region they are, etc., might have a chance. $\endgroup$ – armb Jun 12 '18 at 15:00
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If they can survive the first full year, they might have a chance. But the odds are against them.

There are a few sets of skills that your 5,000 will need if they want to have any chance at all of survival.

  • First Aid skills
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Hunting skills
  • Construction and/or Civil engineering
  • Farming and/or animal husbandry

If your population is missing any one of those skills, their odds of long-term survival drop rapidly. They will have to re-discover long-lost skills like making flint weapons, spears, even fire. That's not a trivial thing. They are helped by the fact that many people at least know these kinds of weapons exist, so it's likely at least a few people in the group can "fake it til they make it," and work out how to make spears and eventually flint axes. But that's only if they live long enough to do so.

Also, if your humans show up scattered randomly across the planet, their is no hope at all. They're doomed. They have to arrive as a group.

You face some serious challenges just in the first few days/weeks.

  • Language. Without a common tongue, everything is harder.
  • Disease. Everyone has built up immunity to specific illnesses. But no one will have built up any immunity to whatever diseases are common on your new world. Something as simple as a new strain of the flu could wipe out your entire human population.
  • Safe food. Your planet is like earth, but unless it actually is earth, the local flora and fauna of your planet are not going to be exactly the same as on present-day earth. So your colonists must determine what plants are safe to eat. Then what animals can be (relatively) easily hunted for meat, hide, etc.
  • Shelter. Your people must find some way to get shelter. Without somewhere safe, they risk death from seasonal weather, predators, etc.
  • Weather. What is the climate like where your people show up? Do they arrive in the middle of the desert? In the middle of a hot tropical summer? In the middle of a monsoon season or something like a deep Canadian winter? These questions greatly impact short-term survival.
  • Terrain. If your citizens show up in the desert, they're doomed. Period. If they teleport in over the ocean, they're doomed. If they don't show up fairly near some potable water, they're going to die. Near a clean river is best, especially if the site isn't too far from an ocean, since both typically can provide both water and food. But not in the beginning of a hurricane or typhoon season...
  • Predators? Does your destination site include predatory species? They won't know to fear humans...
  • Intelligence? Does your planet already include one or more intelligent species? If so, your humans face new and possibly disastrous challenges.
  • Tools. Long term, your people must re-discover how to make spears, axes, and fire. That's a bare minimum. Past that, fishing nets, simple traps, and other things will be necessary, but those base tools are a must.
  • Poisons and Venoms. How common are poisonous and venomous things? If even half the berries or fruits they discover on arrival are toxic at any level, your colony is dead. If even a few local animals are venomous or poisonous, the tribe is dead. You have no antivenom, no emergency room, no surgical gear. You might have a doctor, but that's statistically unlikely, and they'll be hampered by a lack of equipment and medicine.
  • Colony Health. How healthy are your random picks? If any have permanent disabilities or chronic medical conditions, they're dying or a burden on the rest. If some are too young or too old to be self-sufficient, they're dying or a burden on everyone. These factors matter a great deal.
  • Conflict. Your humans are arriving from a random sampling that will have at least a few languages, at least a few religions, and multiple races. Then you're dropping them into the highest of high-stress situations without warning. There will be personality conflicts. If they don't overcome their personal prejudices, language barriers, etc., they're doomed.
  • Depression. Hey, if you rip me out of my world and drop me into this scenario, I'd be suffering from some serious mental issues. Depression. PTSD. Anxiety. All of that and more. I suspect at least a few of your citizens will not be fully functional, mentally-speaking. Suicidal? Homicidal? Extreme violence? Rage? All of that's possible.

Your humans have their work cut out for them. If they can survive a full, local, year and all the seasonal changes that brings, then they can begin looking at long-term plans like permanent shelters, finding plants and animals to domesticate, and eventually even trying to have kids. But that first year is going to be insanely difficult. Their odds are not high.

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Yes, that would probably mostly survive; but it'd be pretty awful for some time

There are plentiful food sources in "the wilderness" if you know where to look for them. Water can be purified using relatively simply methods. Constructing shelter is possible without tools. The great advantage modern humans have is that we know what is possible. e.g. I don't know how to make a successful bow, nap flint to make axes, make charcoal, or smelt iron ore but I know all these things are possible and I have enough of an idea to figure them out given time.

In a sample of 5000 people you are likely to have enough people who can figure out the basics to get you stabilised. Then you need to figure out agriculture. This is much more difficult than in seems because domestic plants are so far removed - by selective breeding - from wild ones. None-the-less I think the motivators would be powerful enough to make it work.

The initial problem is language barriers. Sure, !Koy knows how to fish but can he persuade the other 4999 people to follow him without a common language?

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Interesting question but since some details are unclear but really relevant i'll try to add some reasonable inputs.

The earth surface is 5x10^14[m^2], 70% of the earth surface is water, then we have 1.5 x 10^14 [m^2] of dry surface. If you distribute evenly your 5K humans on the sruface you will have 0,0000333 human/Km^2, that equals 30K [Km^2] for every person. That's a lot, not only the mating chanches but also the meeting chanches are way too low to reasonably think to form a critical mass and (re)start a civilization. In this hypotesis everyone could reasonably think to be the last man on the world, therefore i'll assume that your 5K are somehow grouped. On the other hand 5K people in one group are a lot of people to manage, without our civilization, and in this case i expect that most of them will die because internal rather than external issues. As a natural/common rule for non apex predators, safety is in numbers but at the same time overpopulating an area will could be way more dangerous than living in a sub-optimal population number: the population could be decimated by starvation and the local food chain could be crippled enough to require a migration to avoid extinction. I would choose a 2-300 people as ideal group dimension, considering that 1/3 will die soon meanwhile the others will (try to) settle.

I'd also remove at least the "no belongings" requirement, otherwise tbh it's a no chanche situation except for really (few) trained people. I'm not saying that they should have a lot of technologically advanced tools, or fuel, etc, but if you think that someone can be thrown back in the wilderness -without anything- the place should be at least really comfortable. There are some youtube channels in which a guy uses his bare hands to build some tools, a hut, a stove, fishing traps, etc, with only primitive technologies. Even though this is feasible it requires time and, except in the case a group is so lucky to begin the new civ during spring in some awesome places full of fruit trees and small river, this required time is a huge reduction of survival chanches. If a group happens to begin during winter on a mountain or during summer in the savannah, i doubt that there's any chances for them to survive. They will need calories from the very first moment and, depending on the climate, probably a shelter from day one. Moreover, even if someone is capable to grow vegetables since day 1, the harvesting season could be months later (not to mention fruit trees that needs way more to produce something). Consider also that a really good source of proteins and other nutrients could be chickens, they convert pretty much everthing that's organic in meat and eggs, but where are you supposed to find selected breeds of broilers in the wilderness? Is not that useful to be a trained farmer if you don't have time to grow anything and raise animals before starvation... A medic wihtout an hospital and medicines is not very useful, but it would be way less useful witout his bag. Even with only a scalpel and stethoscope his efficiency is significantly rased. My suggestion is to give these people at least few things, like a small backpack full of their related things, for example:

  • medic bag for a medic with scalpel, stethoscope, few pills and some bandages,

  • few type of seeds for farmer B,

  • few chicken for farmer A,

  • binoculars and a knife for some people (example: athletes),

  • a couple of pans and a kitchen knife for some people (example: someone who knows how to cook),

  • an handsaw and chisel for the woodworker,

  • fishing pole for fishermen (useful at least at the beginning) and so on.

I think that even with these benefits it won't be easy, at all, because they don't just have to survive a couple of weeks, they are supposed to start a new civ, and this means that they have to organize themselves, build a reliable (food) economy without destroying the surrounding environment, build shelters, build tools, create clothes (other ones, you have to live a really different life) and especially survive the winter.

With that being said, there are few other things that needs to be accomplished: - you need to designate a wise, strong leader soon,

  • you have nominate rational people to organize the tasks prioriest and best practicies (where to build the settlement, prioritize shelter building or food gathering, etc),

  • you have to allocate the skilled people as a team leader for the tasks (farmers, wood workers, etc),

  • you have to convince the non skilled people to do what has to be done (musicians, webdesigner, truck driver, insurant agent, anything that's not useful to survive in the wilderness), and to do that you need a strong leader and the this complete the circle.

Please note: this is anything but easy or likely to happen!

Tl,dr: a determined, united and cooperative group of 2-300 people with few tools/seeds/chicken could have a reasonable chance not to die within the first winter IF they start in a very cofortable area. If we pick random people with no tools, from different zones, with different cultures and with different languages the best case scenario is to have someting more similar to "the waliking dead" for a while and then nothing than a new civilization.

Once (and especially if) said group survived some years, the settlement should be done and a real grow in numbers can happen. After few decades the original population is adapted and they are living their "normal" life, with their offspring, maybe getting in touch with other groups to start trades. Hopefully at least few wise and erudite people were capable to preserve knowledge about the most relevant topics, therefore you will have a really tiny human density (respect to the current density) with a huge amount of resources per person and the knowledge on how to take advantage of them. If no cataclysm happen, then a fast population grow will eventually happen and the world repopulation is down the road.

Would it take many millennia to develop the technology all over again?

It depends on how capable they are to preserve knowledge, but probably millennia are not required. Paper is not that hard to produce, and the wise ones can write at least the most relevant sceintific discoveries known so far. You won't have "big pharma" anytime soon, but the knowlege that from pennicillium mould you can produce antibiotics is priceless. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, the crop rotation, the selective breeding, the nitrogen/phosporus/potassium fertilizer, the steam motor, the mechanical press printing, the gunpowder, the stainless steel alloy, darwinian theory, classical mechanic, battery chemistry, polymers, the airfoil (not only for the planes, also for the sails), the electrical motor, the atom structure the chemical bonds and the periodic table. Even if you can't preserve the knowledges that are behind a theory, the pratical meaning is still useful and even the bare final concept (as simple as "gravity acceleration is the same for every object") will be a priceless hint for the future scientists.

Or less time because we have knowledge about them?

Definitely less time.

Would we even be alive to see the day?

Definitely no, it will need generations in the best case scenario. Scientists are a really specialized human beings, and this specialization requires a lot of supports from a lot of other supporting technical people. And a lot of technical people, well, requires A LOT of people that take care of food, safety, etc... Starting from scratch, you have to stabilize the first human pool, then grow in number, then develop technicians, and then scientists (a quantum physicist without our technology and engineers is only a philosopher).

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You do know the average human. I don't want to call them basic because it's somewhat reasonable to not be a survivalist for it would be a waste of time. But those in normal times "usefull" skills like Excel, Word, cooking gourmet meals or other first world things won't really help you. The average man might not be completely lost though, they are usually not too weak, smart and adaptive. Not to be sexist, but women have other interests and, unless they are interested in stuff like that, they would most likely be screwed. Simply for the lack of knowledge. Besides that, they are physically weaker than males which also is a huge point, especially when you are alone

But, like, I for example, a person who IN THEORY knows this kind of stuff, would not profit from it since I am lacking physical strength and stamina. Not to say I wouldn't make it, but if I had a person without that knowledge who in turn is really strong would make up for it.

But I'd also say, that the further away from the upper class they are, the more physical demanding their work is and the less comforts they have they can not live without, the easier it will be for them to adapt to new changes.

Obviously people who grew up more rural and away from cities who did stuff with their own hands, maybe have fishing licenses. If you want a character who struggels, make them a New Yorker student who grew up wealthy. Characters who should have it easy would most likely be farmers and people from rural areas: on an earth copy they know what to eat and what not to, which berries, mushrooms etc.

The other thing is the civilization thingy. I think 5 000 might be a little bit too little for that. I would do it in a way in which you put 15 - 20 000 on the planet, letting 10 000+ die before larger groups form, people should be alone or in small 1-7 people groups until more people meet and societies will form. That way you could filter out completly unfitting humans like infants being dropped off in the wild or obese people too big to go.

Technology will take a lot of time though. With ~5 000 people without basic knowledge and structer, the first decades most of them (maybe like 4 000+) would be needed for hunting and farming. The rest will be construction workers, tailors, blacksimths etc.. Only the more advanced their food production becomes the more people will be able to work in other fields, developing new stuff, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ In most "primitive" societies women are in charge of harvesting and preparing food. In matriarchal societies women lead the society by controlling which males are allowed to mate (those who are able to gather more food for the woman, and the unfit male live a really miserable life). And honestly I don't see how struggling to excel at burping the national anthem makes men more fit than women struggling for wearing the latest VS bra... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ city dwellers will have it hard, no matter what their baby making tool is. Doing push up in the local gym (like you suppose all men do, which is not true) rather than shopping at the mall (like you suppose all women do, which again is not true) doesn't prepare you for slaughtering and eating a rabbit. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ If you had 5000 human beans, 2.5k males and females each, men would have a higher percentage of hunters, (former/para) military personal, guys with fishing experience, farmers, boyscouts and such, survivalists and so on. Obvioulsy there would be mass dying of a lot on both sides, but there would be more people with higher chances of survival than on the female side $\endgroup$ – Josef Jun 12 '18 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ If the OP said they would be dropped off alone, I'd have to agree with your male vs. female chances of survival prediction. But if they are dropped off in groups including both males and females, their first priority would be to build some sort of shelter. And if there was a danger of wild animal attacks, I'd expect the males (on average) to want to go out and hunt it down and the females to mostly stay home and fortify their shelter, so males would have a higher chance of getting killed out there. $\endgroup$ – Real Subtle Jun 12 '18 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ One can be fairly confident that a sentence starting "Not to be sexist" is going to be sexist. And while I don't go with the notion that men and women are completely interchangeable, the idea that women would struggle because of "other interests" and "less knowledge" is pretty hare-brained. $\endgroup$ – Michael Kay Jun 12 '18 at 11:16

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