Homo sapiens idaltu
Homo sapiens idaltu called Herto Man, is the name given to a number of early modern human fossils found in 1997 in Herto Bouri, Ethiopia. They date to around 160,000 years ago. Paleoanthropologists determined that the skeletal finds belong to an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens who lived in Pleistocene Africa. In the narrow definition of H. sapiens, the subspecies H. s. idaltu falls under the umbrella of Anatomically modern humans. The recognition of H. s. idaltu as a valid subspecies of the anatomically modern human lineage would justify the description of contemporary humans with the subspecies name H. s. sapiens. Because of their early dating and unique physical characteristics, they represent the immediate ancestors of anatomically modern humans, as suggested by the Out-of-Africa theory; the fossilized remains of Homo sapiens idaltu were discovered at Herto Bouri near the Middle Awash site of Ethiopia's Afar Triangle in 1997 by Tim White, Giday WoldeGabriel and Berhane Asfaw, but were first unveiled in 2003.
Herto Bouri is a region of Ethiopia under volcanic layers. According to radioisotope dating, the layers are between 160,000 years old. Three well preserved crania are accounted for, the best preserved being from an adult male having a brain capacity of 1,450 cm3; the other crania include a six-year-old child. The Omo fossils differ from those of chronologically forms of early Homo sapiens, their morphology has features that show resemblances to African fossils, such as huge and robust skulls, yet have a globular shape of the brain-case and the facial features typical of H. sapiens. Anthropologist Chris Stringer argued in a 2003 article in the journal Nature that "the skulls might not be distinctive enough to warrant a new subspecies name"; these specimens represent the direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens sapiens which, according to the "recent African origin" or "out of Africa" model, developed shortly after this period in Eastern Africa. "The many morphological features shared by the Herto crania and AMHS, to the exclusion of penecontemporaneous Neanderthals, provide additional fossil data excluding Neanderthals from a significant contribution to the ancestry of modern humans."A 2005 potassium-argon dating of volcanic tuff associated with the Omo remains showed them to date from around 195,000 years ago.
At the time of the dating, this made these fossils the earliest known remains of anatomically modern humans, older than the idaltu specimens. In 2013, comparative craniometric analysis of the Herto Homo idaltu skull with ancient and recent crania from other parts of Africa found that the specimen was morphologically closest to the Pleistocene Rabat fossil and Early Holocene Kef Oum Touiza skeleton. A study found that Herto man and his contemporaries were cranially similar to Oceanians, with Northern Melenesians being the closest. 160,000-year-old fossilized skulls uncovered in Ethiopia are oldest anatomically modern humans, Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley, 11 June 2003. Missing link in human evolution found in Africa BBC report and image of the reconstructed skull discovered at Herto Homo sapiens idaltu - Nature Journal Article Fossil Hominids - Middle Awash Research Project Origins - Discovery of Earliest Homo Sapien Skulls backs'Out of Africa' Theory - Homo sapiens idaltu Bradshaw Foundation
The three-age system is the categorization of history into time periods divisible by three. In history and physical anthropology, the three-age system is a methodological concept adopted during the 19th century by which artifacts and events of late prehistory and early history could be ordered into a recognizable chronology, it was developed by C. J. Thomsen, director of the Royal Museum of Nordic Antiquities, Copenhagen, as a means to classify the museum’s collections according to whether the artifacts were made of stone, bronze, or iron; the system first appealed to British researchers working in the science of ethnology who adopted it to establish race sequences for Britain's past based on cranial types. Although the craniological ethnology that formed its first scholarly context holds no scientific value, the relative chronology of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age is still in use in a general public context, the three ages remain the underpinning of prehistoric chronology for Europe, the Mediterranean world and the Near East.
The structure reflects the cultural and historical background of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East and soon underwent further subdivisions, including the 1865 partitioning of the Stone Age into Paleolithic and Neolithic periods by John Lubbock. It is, however, of little or no use for the establishment of chronological frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa, much of Asia, the Americas and some other areas and has little importance in contemporary archaeological or anthropological discussion for these regions; the concept of dividing pre-historical ages into systems based on metals extends far back in European history originated by Lucretius in the first century BC. But the present archaeological system of the three main ages—stone and iron—originates with the Danish archaeologist Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, who placed the system on a more scientific basis by typological and chronological studies, at first, of tools and other artifacts present in the Museum of Northern Antiquities in Copenhagen.
He used artifacts and the excavation reports published or sent to him by Danish archaeologists who were doing controlled excavations. His position as curator of the museum gave him enough visibility to become influential on Danish archaeology. A well-known and well-liked figure, he explained his system in person to visitors at the museum, many of them professional archaeologists. In his poem and Days, the ancient Greek poet Hesiod between 750 and 650 BC, defined five successive Ages of Man: 1. Golden, 2. Silver, 3. Bronze, 4. Heroic and 5. Iron. Only the Bronze Age and the Iron Age are based on the use of metal:... Zeus the father created the third generation of mortals, the age of bronze... They were terrible and strong, the ghastly action of Ares was theirs, violence.... The weapons of these men were bronze, of bronze their houses, they worked as bronzesmiths. There was not yet any black iron. Hesiod knew from the traditional poetry, such as the Iliad, the heirloom bronze artifacts that abounded in Greek society, that before the use of iron to make tools and weapons, bronze had been the preferred material and iron was not smelted at all.
He did not continue the manufacturing metaphor, but mixed his metaphors, switching over to the market value of each metal. Iron was cheaper than bronze, so there must have been a silver age, he portrays a sequence of metallic ages. Each age has less of a moral value than the preceding. Of his own age he says: "And I wish that I were not any part of the fifth generation of men, but had died before it came, or had been born afterward." The moral metaphor of the ages of metals continued. Lucretius, replaced moral degradation with the concept of progress, which he conceived to be like the growth of an individual human being; the concept is evolutionary:. Everything must pass through successive phases. Nothing remains. Everything is on the move. Everything is transformed by nature and forced into new paths... The Earth passes through successive phases, so that it can no longer bear what it could, it can now what it could not before; the Romans believed that the species of animals, including humans, were spontaneously generated from the materials of the Earth, because of which the Latin word mater, "mother", descends to English-speakers as matter and material.
In Lucretius the Earth is Venus, to whom the poem is dedicated in the first few lines. She brought forth humankind by spontaneous generation. Having been given birth as a species, humans must grow to maturity by analogy with the individual; the different phases of their collective life are marked by the accumulation of customs to form material civilization: The earliest weapons were hands and teeth. Next came stones and branches wrenched from trees, fire and flame as soon as these were discovered. Men learnt to use tough iron and copper. With copper they tilled the soil. With copper they whipped up the clashing waves of war... By slow degrees the iron sword came to the fore. Lucretius envisioned a pre-technological human, "far tougher than the men of today... They lived out their lives in the fashion of wild beasts roaming at large." The next stage was the use of huts, clothing and the family. City-states and citadels followed them. Lucretius supposes that the initial
Middle Stone Age
The Middle Stone Age was a period of African prehistory between the Early Stone Age and the Later Stone Age. It is considered to have begun around 280,000 years ago and ended around 50–25,000 years ago; the beginnings of particular MSA stone tools have their origins as far back as 550–500,000 years ago and as such some researchers consider this to be the beginnings of the MSA. The MSA is mistakenly understood to be synonymous with the Middle Paleolithic of Europe due to their contemporaneous time span, the Middle Paleolithic of Europe represents an different hominin population, Homo neanderthalensis, than the MSA of Africa, which did not have Neanderthal populations. Additionally, current archaeological research in Africa has yielded much evidence to suggest that modern human behavior and cognition was beginning to develop much earlier in Africa during the MSA than it was in Europe during the Middle Paleolithic; the MSA is associated with both anatomically modern humans as well as archaic Homo sapiens, sometimes referred to as Homo helmei.
Early physical evidence comes from the Gademotta Formation in Ethiopia, the Kapthurin Formation in Kenya and Kathu Pan in South Africa. There are MSA archaeological sites from across the African continent, conventionally divided into five regions: northern Africa, comprising parts of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria and Libya. In northern and western Africa, the wet-dry cycles of the modern Sahara desert has led to fruitful archaeological sites followed by barren soil and vice versa. Preservation in these two regions can vary, yet the sites that have been uncovered document the adaptive nature of early humans to climatically unstable environments. Eastern Africa represents some of the most reliable dates, due to the use of radiocarbon dating on volcanic ash deposits, as well as some of the earliest MSA sites. Faunal preservation, however, is not spectacular, standardization in site excavation and lithic classification was, until lacking. Unlike northern Africa, shifts between lithic technologies were not nearly as pronounced due to more favorable climatic conditions that would have allowed for more continuous occupation of sites.
Central Africa reflects similar patterning to eastern Africa, yet more archaeological research of the region is required. Southern Africa consists of many cave sites, most of which show punctuated starts and stops in stone tool technology. Research in southern Africa has been continuous and quite standardized, allowing for reliable comparisons between sites in the region. Much of the archaeological evidence for the origins of modern human behavior is traced back to sites in this region, including Blombos Cave, Howiesons Poort, Still Bay, Pinnacle Point; the term "Middle Stone Age" was proposed to the African Archaeological Congress by Goodwin and Van Riet Lowe in 1929. The use of these terms was abandoned in 1965. Although the term remains in use in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with a transitional late Acheulean period known as the Fauresmith industry; the Fauresmith industry is poorly dated, according to Herries beginning around 511–435 kya. This time, rather than the actual end of the Achaeulean around 130 kya is taken as the beginning of the MSA.
The MSA so defined is associated with the gradual replacement of archaic humans by anatomically modern humans. In a different convention, MSA refers to sites characterized by the use of Levallois methods for flake production, to the exclusion of Acheulean sites with large cleavers or handaxes. Following McBrearty and Tryon, the term "early MSA" refers to sites predating the 126 kya interglacial, "later MSA" refers to site younger than 126 kya. In this convention, Fauresmith sites of 500 to 300 kya are within the ESA, the MSA begins after about 280 kya and is associated with H. sapiens, the earliest reliably dated MSA site in East Africa being Gademotta in Ethiopia, at 276 kya. The Middle Awash valley of Ethiopia and the Central Rift Valley of Kenya constituted a major center for behavioural innovation, it is that the large terrestrial mammal biomass of these regions supported substantial human populations with subsistence and manufacturing patterns similar to those of ethnographically known foragers.
Archaeological evidence from eastern Africa extending from the Rift Valley from Ethiopia to northern Tanzania represents the largest archaeological evidence of the shift from the Late Acheulian to the Middle Stone Age tool technologies. This transition is characterized by stratigraphic layering of Acheulian stone tools, a bifacial handaxe technology and contemporaneous with MSA technologies, such as Levallois tools, flaked tools, pointed flakes, smaller bifaces that are projectile in form, and, on rare occasions, hafted tools. Evidence of the gradual displacement of Acheulian by MSA technologies is further supported by this layering and contemporaneous placement, as well as by the earliest appearance of MSA technologies at Gademotta and the latest Acheulian technologies at the Bouri Formation of Ethiopia, dated to 154 to 160 kya; this suggests a possible overlap of 100-150 thousand years. Late Acheulean artefacts associated with Homo sapiens have been found in South African cave sites; the Cave of Hearths and Montague Cave in South Africa contain evidence of Acheulian technologies, as well as MSA technologies, however there is no evidence of crossover in
Cannibalism involves consuming all or part of another individual of the same species as food. To consume the same species, or show cannibalistic behavior, is a common ecological interaction in the animal kingdom, has been recorded in more than 1,500 species. Human cannibalism is well-documented, both in recent times; the rate of cannibalism increases in nutritionally-poor environments as individuals turn to other conspecific individuals as an additional food-source. Cannibalism regulates population numbers, whereby resources such as food and territory become more available with the decrease of potential competition. Although it may benefit the individual, it has been shown that the presence of cannibalism decreases the expected survival rate of the whole population and increases the risk of consuming a relative. Other negative effects may include the increased risk of pathogen transmission as the encounter rate of hosts increases. Cannibalism, does not—as once believed—occur only as a result of extreme food shortage or of artificial/unnatural conditions, but may occur under natural conditions in a variety of species.
Cannibalism seems prevalent in aquatic ecosystems, in which up to 90% of the organisms engage in cannibalistic activity at some point in their life-cycle. Cannibalism is not restricted to carnivorous species: it occurs in herbivores and in detritivores. Sexual cannibalism involves the consumption of the male by the female individual before, during or after copulation. Other forms of cannibalism include intrauterine cannibalism. Behavioural and morphological adaptations have evolved to decrease the rate of cannibalism in individual species. In environments where food availability is constrained, individuals can receive extra nutrition and energy if they use other conspecific individuals as an additional food source; this would, in turn, increase the survival rate of the cannibal and thus provide an evolutionary advantage in environments where food is scarce. A study conducted on wood frog tadpoles showed that those that exhibited cannibalistic tendencies had faster growth rates and higher fitness levels than non-cannibals.
An increase of size and growth would give them the added benefit of protection from potential predators such as other cannibals and give them an advantage when competing for resources The nutritional benefits of cannibalism may allow for the more efficient conversion of a conspecific diet into reusable resources than herbaceous diet. This facilitates for faster development. Studies have shown that there is a noticeable size difference between animals fed on a high conspecific diet which were smaller compared to those fed on a low conspecific diet. Hence, individual fitness could only be increased if the balance between developmental rate and size is balanced out, with studies showing that this is achieved in low conspecific diets. Cannibalism regulates population numbers and benefits the cannibalistic individual and its kin as resources such as extra shelter and food are freed. However, this is only the case if the cannibal recognizes its own kin as this won't hinder any future chances of perpetuating its genes in future generations.
The elimination of competition can increase mating opportunities, allowing further spread of an individual's genes. Animals which have diets consisting of predominantly conspecific prey expose themselves to a greater risk of injury and expend more energy foraging for suitable prey as compared to non-cannibalistic species. In order to combat the risk of personal injury, a predator targets younger or more vulnerable prey. However, the time necessitated by such selective predation could result in a failure to meet the predator's self-set nutritional requirements. In addition, the consumption of conspecific prey may involve the ingestion of defense compounds and hormones, which have the capacity to impact the developmental growth of the cannibal's offspring Hence, predators partake in a cannibalistic diet in conditions where alternative food sources are absent or not as available. Failure to recognize kin prey is a disadvantage, provided cannibals target and consume younger individuals. For example, a male stickleback fish may mistake their own "eggs" for their competitor's eggs, hence would inadvertently eliminate some of its own genes from the available gene pool.
Kin recognition has been observed in tadpoles of the spadefoot toad, whereby cannibalistic tadpoles of the same clutch tended to avoid consuming and harming siblings, while eating other non-siblings. The act of cannibalism may facilitate trophic disease transmission within a population, though cannibalistically spread pathogens and parasites employ alternative modes of infection. Cannibalism can reduce the prevalence of parasites in the population by decreasing the number of susceptible hosts and indirectly killing the parasite in the host, it has been shown in some studies that the risk of encountering an infected victim increases when there is a higher cannibalism rate, though this risk drops as the number of available hosts decreases. However, this is only the case. Cannibalism is an ineffective method of disease spread as cannibalism in the animal kingdom is a one-on-one interaction, the spread of disease requires group cannibalism.
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted 3.4 million years and ended between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, by the earlier contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are preserved in the archaeological record; the Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use. The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods: The Stone Age The Bronze Age The Iron Age The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception being the early Stone Age, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands.
The closest relative among the other living primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia. Starting from about 4 million years ago a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, across Asia to modern China, called "transcontinental'savannahstan'" recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a "tool equipped savanna dweller"; the oldest indirect evidence found of stone tool use is fossilised animal bones with tool marks. Archaeological discoveries in Kenya in 2015, identifying the oldest known evidence of hominin use of tools to date, have indicated that Kenyanthropus platyops may have been the earliest tool-users known.
The oldest stone tools were excavated from the site of Lomekwi 3 in West Turkana, northwestern Kenya, date to 3.3 million years old. Prior to the discovery of these "Lomekwian" tools, the oldest known stone tools had been found at several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. All the tools come from the Busidama Formation, which lies above a disconformity, or missing layer, which would have been from 2.9 to 2.7 mya. The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6–2.55 mya. One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene. Excavators at the locality point out that: "...the earliest stone tool makers were skilled flintknappers.... The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include... gaps in the geological record."The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown.
Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus and Homo Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the Gona tools. In July 2018, scientists reported the discovery in China of the oldest stone tools outside Africa, estimated at 2.12 million years old. Innovation of the technique of smelting ore began the Bronze Age; the first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of, smelted separately. The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age; the Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age; the transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia. The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek and Pločnik in modern-day Serbia, though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.
Note the Rudna Glava mine in Serbia. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a flint knife. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age; the Middle East and southeastern Asian regions progressed past Stone Age technology around 6000 BCE. Europe, the rest of Asia became post-Stone Age societies by about 4000 BCE; the proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BCE, when gold and silver made their entrance. The Americas notably did not develop a widespread behavior of smelting Bronze or Iron after the Stone Age period, although the technology existed. Stone tool manufacture continued after the Stone Age ended in a given area. In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, still are in many parts of the world; the terms "Stone Age", "Bronze Age", "Iron Age" were never meant to suggest that advancement and time periods in prehistory are only measured by the type of tool material, rather than, for
The mandible, lower jaw or jawbone is the largest and lowest bone in the human face. It holds the lower teeth in place; the mandible sits beneath the maxilla. It is the only movable bone of the skull; the bone is formed in the fetus from a fusion of the left and right mandibular prominences, the point where these sides join, the mandibular symphysis, is still visible as a faint ridge in the midline. Like other symphyses in the body, this is a midline articulation where the bones are joined by fibrocartilage, but this articulation fuses together in early childhood; the word "mandible" derives from the Latin word mandibula, "jawbone", from mandere "to chew" and -bula. The mandible consists of: The body, found at the front A ramus on the left and the right, the rami rise up from the body of the mandible and meet with the body at the angle of the mandible or the gonial angle; the body of the mandible is curved, the front part gives structure to the chin. It has two borders. From the outside, the mandible is marked in the midline by a faint ridge, indicating the mandibular symphysis, the line of junction of the two pieces of which the bone is composed at an early period of life.
This ridge divides below and encloses a triangular eminence, the mental protuberance, the base of, depressed in the center but raised on either side to form the mental tubercle. On either side of the symphysis, just below the incisor teeth, is a depression, the incisive fossa, which gives origin to the mentalis and a small portion of the orbicularis oris. Below the second premolar tooth, on either side, midway between the upper and lower borders of the body, is the mental foramen, for the passage of the mental vessels and nerve. Running backward and upward from each mental tubercle is a faint ridge, the oblique line, continuous with the anterior border of the ramus. From the inside, the mandible appears concave. Near the lower part of the symphysis is a pair of laterally placed spines, termed the mental spines, which give origin to the genioglossus. Below these is a second pair of spines, or more a median ridge or impression, for the origin of the geniohyoid. In some cases, the mental spines are fused to form a single eminence, in others they are absent and their position is indicated by an irregularity of the surface.
Above the mental spines, a median foramen and furrow are sometimes seen. Below the mental spines, on either side of the middle line, is an oval depression for the attachment of the anterior belly of the digastric. Extending upward and backward on either side from the lower part of the symphysis is the mylohyoid line, which gives origin to the mylohyoid muscle. Above the anterior part of this line is a smooth triangular area against which the sublingual gland rests, below the hinder part, an oval fossa for the submandibular gland. Borders The superior or alveolar border, wider behind than in front, is hollowed into cavities, for the reception of the teeth. To the outer lip of the superior border, on either side, the buccinator is attached as far forward as the first molar tooth; the inferior border is rounded, longer than the superior, thicker in front than behind. The ramus of the human mandible has four sides, two surfaces, four borders, two processes. On the outside, the ramus marked by oblique ridges at its lower part.
On the inside at the center there is an oblique mandibular foramen, for the entrance of the inferior alveolar vessels and nerve. The margin of this opening is irregular. Behind this groove is a rough surface, for the insertion of the medial pterygoid muscle; the mandibular canal runs obliquely downward and forward in the ramus, horizontally forward in the body, where it is placed under the alveoli and communicates with them by small openings. On arriving at the incisor teeth, it turns back to communicate with the mental foramen, giving off two small canals which run to the cavities containing the incisor teeth. In the posterior two-thirds of the bone the canal is situated nearer the internal surface of the mandible, it contains the inferior alveolar vessels and nerve, from which branches are distributed to the teeth. Borders The lower border of the ramus is thick and continuous with the inferior border of the body of the bone. At its junction with the posterior border is the angle of the mandible, which may be either inverted or everted and is marked by rough, oblique ridges on each side, for the attachment of the masseter laterally, the medial pterygoid muscle medially.
The anterior border is thin above, thicker below, continuous with the oblique l
Outline of prehistoric technology
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to prehistoric technology. Prehistoric technology – technology that predates recorded history. History is the study of the past using written records. Anything prior to the first written accounts of history is prehistoric, including earlier technologies. About 2.5 million years before writing was developed, technology began with the earliest hominids who used stone tools, which they may have used to start fires, cut food, bury their dead. Prehistoric technology can be described as: Prehistoric – "before we had written records," from the Latin word for "before," præ. Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history, that is, before the invention of writing systems. Technology – making, modification and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function.
Three-age system – in archaeology and physical anthropology, the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, each named after the main material used in its respective tool-making technologies: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Beginning of prehistoric technology – the earliest technology began before recorded history, that is, at the beginning of the Stone Age. Latest prehistoric technology – the level of technology reached before true writing was introduced differed by region... Latest prehistoric technology in the Near East – cultures in the Near East achieved the development of writing first, during their Bronze Age. Latest prehistoric technology in the rest of the Old World: Europe and China reached Iron Age technological development before the introduction of writing there. Stone Age – broad prehistoric period, lasting 2.5 million years, during which stone was used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.
The period ended between 6000 and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Paleolithic – prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered, covers 99% of human technological prehistory. Lower Paleolithic – earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, it spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan and Acheulean lithic technology. Stone tool use – early human use of stone tool technology, such as the hand axe, was similar to that of primates, found to be limited to the intelligence levels of modern children aged 3 to 5 years. Ancestors of homo sapiens used stone tools as follows: Homo habilis – first "homo" species, it lived from 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago in Africa and created stone tools called Oldowan tools. Homo ergaster – in eastern and southern Africa about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago, it refined Oldowan tools and developed the first Acheulean bifacial axes.
Homo erectus – lived about 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago in West Asia and Africa and is thought to be the first hominid to hunt in coordinated groups, use complex tools, care for infirm or weaker companions. Homo antecessor – earliest hominid in Northern Europe, it used stone tools. Homo heidelbergensis – lived between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago and used stone tool technology similar to the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus. Control of fire by early humans – European and Asian sites dating back 1.5 million years ago seem to indicate controlled use of fire by H. erectus. A northern Israel site from about 690,000 to 790,000 years ago suggests controlled use of fire in a hearth from pre-existing natural fires or embers. Burial – the act of placing a deceased person into the ground. Homo heidelbergensis – may have been the first species to bury their dead about 500,000 years ago. Middle Paleolithic period – in Europe and the Near East during which the Neanderthals lived, their technology is the Mousterian.
The earliest evidence of settlement in Australia dates to around 55,000 years ago when modern humans crossed from Asia by island-hopping. The Bhimbetka rock shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India, some of which are 30,000 years old. Homo neanderthalensis Stone tools – homo neanderthalensis used Mousterian stone tools that date back to around 300,000 years ago and include smaller, knife-like and scraper tools. Burials – homo neanderthalensis buried their dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones, although the reasons and significance of the burials are disputed. Homo sapiens – the only living species in the genus Homo originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Greater mental capability and ability to walk erect provided freed hands for manipulating objects, which allowed for far greater use of tools. Art of the Middle Paleolithic Burial – intentional burial with grave goods, may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice since it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life."
The earliest undisputed human burial so far dates back 130,000 years. Human skeletal remains stained with red ochre were discovered in the Skhul cave at Qafzeh, Israel with a variety of grave goods. Upper Paleolithic Revolution – theoretical occurrence betw