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Ancient Humans and Early Civilizations Notes

Essay by review  •  December 27, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  3,008 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,229 Views

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The Origins of Humans

Unlocking the history of the past

- Historians must gather as much data as possible, from a wide variety of sources before they can make conclusions

- Primary documents: written by people of the period

- Secondary documents: written about past events

- Historians almost never unearth all the facts so there is always a bias

- They must think about economic developments, to figure out the way in which people survived or made a living. This is based on such things as social developments (art, music etc.)

- Many times, scientists and historians find themselves studying people who did not have a written language

- Fossils: are the recognizable remains of an animal/plant or impressions left by them

- Anthropologists: are scientists who study the origin, development, distribution, social habits, and culture of a certain race of people

- Paleontologist: examines the fossil remains of animal and plant life to understand past geological periods

- Paleoanthropologist: combines the works of anthropologists and paleontologists

- The oldest known human remains have been found in Africa

Human Evolution

- The evolution theory suggests that plants and animals both developed through the process of natural selection

- There had to be a competition for the need for survival. Those less suited to survive would fail to live, thus each generation must become stronger

- Darwin's Theory of Evolution helps explain the genetic differences in each specie and genus, as well as how variations are past along

The Physical Evolution of Humans

- Hominids: Are humanlike creatures that began to appear over four million years


- They are distinguished from apes in the sense they are completely bipedal as well

they have larger brains so naturally they are all part of the human family

- Bipedalism (the ability to walk on two feet) allowed humans to develop skills with their free hands

- Ardipithecus Ramidus

- Walked the earth half a million years before any other known hominid

- Had many ape-like features

- The Australopithecines

- The Australopithecus anamensis is an earlier species with very ape-like features

- Scientists believe this chain of Australopithecus anamensis was the chain which started australopithecus afarensis

- Australopithecus afarensis was a species which remained unchanged for 900 000 years

- Was believed to be the first family of early hominids

- Foot prints found in volcanic ash supports that early hominids walked upright and possibly in groups with other hominids

- There are two africanus lines

- Africanus

- Australopithecus robustus: this line died out about a million years ago

- Homo habilis

- Afarensis most likely traveled in groups possibly 25-30 members. Pollen samples suggests that these people lived in forested areas

The Stone Age

- Stone age called the stone age because the majority of the artifacts found during that time period were made of stone

- Three variations of the genus Homo: homo erectus and homo sapiens and homo habilis

- Homo Habilis

- Homo habilis flourished for a long time in Africa 2.5 million years ago

- first form of humans to develop and use stone tools

- homo habilis had human-like teeth, some believe this human ancestor to be the species that filled the gap between homo and Australopithecus

- Homo Erectus

- First appeared 2 million years ago

- Name refers to the fact that they could completely walk upright on two legs

- First species to use fire; and to migrate into Europe

- Homo Sapiens

- Homo sapiens means "man who thinks"

- First species to develop a spoken language, and create more sophisticated tools

- Neanderthals

- First appeared 230 000 years ago and disappeared 30 000 years ago

- Scientists are not certain whether Neanderthals had evolved into humans or were a separate branch (specie)

- Neanderthals were hunters and gatherers

- Scientists do not know why Neanderthals just disappeared

- Homo Sapiens Sapiens

- Had the ability to make clothing, better shelter, and more efficient hearths

- Also called Cro-magnons

- Had the ability to endure very cold climates

Culture Evolution in the Stone Age

- During the stone age, humans showed their first signs of conscious planning, forethought and creativity

- Social Organization

- People of the stone age lived in small groups or bands

- After a while different groups formed together and created territories. With this permanent settlement was the first form of communities

- Cro-Magnons had the ability to make huts



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