Unit 1 – The Beginnings of Civilization Who were the earliest humans and how did they learn to interact successfully with their environments? What ideas- particularly, what different religious ideas did people develop to explain and interpret their world? What ways of living did people develop, and how did these ways change over time? How did groups of people learn to interact through trade? As you read this unit, look for answers to these questions in the remarkable achievements of our ancestors. Chapter 1- Prehistoric Times (4,000,000 – 3500 BC) I. Prehistory is the word used to describe the several million years of human development before human beings learned how to keep written records of their life & culture. A. Fossil Evidence written history begins only about 3,000 years ago. Before that date, we must rely upon fossil evidence- remnants that have been preserved in the earth’s crust. B. Anthropologists study human development. C. Archaeologists study humans’ material remains II. Scientists Search For Human Origins A. Hominids Most researchers now agree that hominids- upright walking beings- first made their appearance on the continent of Africa at least 4 million years ago. 1. Australopithecines are the first species of primates to walk completely upright a. Laetoli the earliest remains of human-like creatures (in this case Australopithecines) uncovered so far are those found in the Laetoli region of northern Tanzania in 1977. b. Mary Leakey led the research team that discovered fossilized footprints that belonged to the earliest known hominids. These footprints were made by creatures now known as australopithecines c. Characteristics The australopithecines were small in stature (3 to 5 feet tall) and of limited intelligence (with brains only one-third the size of modern humans). They were the first species of primates to walk completely upright. This made it possible for these early hominids to travel long distances more easily and to use their hands for carrying food and children. 2. Homo habilis Around two and a half million years ago, a more advanced creature, Homo habilis (“skillful man”), appeared a. Eastern Africa is the place where Homo habilis first appeared b. Characteristics. Fossil remains indicate that the brain of Homo habilis was 50 percent larger than that of the australopithecines. These creatures were probably intelligent enough to use stone tools. Most researchers agree that Homo habilis is the first known species. c. Beginning of the Stone Age the appearance of this creature marks the beginning of a 2.5 million-year era in human prehistory known as the Stone Age. 3. Homo erectus Approximately 1.6 million years ago, yet another species of hominid appeared, which anthropologists refer to as Homo erectus (“upright man”). a. Characteristics Homo erectus had a bigger body than Homo habilis and a brain almost three-fourths the size of modern human brains. It reached a height of 6 feet and was the first hominid to learn how to control fire, for both warmth and cooking. b. Migration while Homo habilis and Homo erectus apparently coexisted for tens of thousands of years, the latter was the first species of hominid to leave Africa for other continents. A few miles at a time, over many thousands of years, Homo erectus gradually began spreading across Asia and Europe. III. Modern Humans Spread Across the World- Over the next million years, Homo erectus continued to develop and change. A. Homo sapiens By 200,000 B.C., a new species Homo sapiens (“wise man”)- had evolved. Probably because of superior intelligence, Homo sapiens was able to adapt to harsher environments than any earlier hominid. 1. Neanderthals Europeans hominids of this species are called Neanderthals, after their place of discovery (thal means valley in German). Altogether, anthropologists have found the remains of some 400 different Neanderthal skeletons. a. Discovery The first remains were uncovered in 1856 in Germany’s Neander Valley. b. Resourcefulness these hominids were resourceful enough to survive harsh winters, by living in caves or by building simple huts of wood, mud or animal skins. c. Characteristics These particular hominids had thick bones and slanted foreheads. The Neanderthals were short in stature, but powerfully built, with well- developed muscles and thick bones even heavier than those of modern humans. They were skillful hunters, and their rugged physique no doubt helped them survive in the harsh world of the Ice Age, when snow covered much of Europe most of the year. The Neanderthals seem to have cared for one another and to have carried out some sort of burial ritual. d. Theories for disappearance Around 30,000 years ago, the Neanderthals vanished from the scene At least two theories have been offered to explain the disappearance of the Neanderthals and their contemporaries around the world. i. Multi Regional Theory The multiregional theory argues that they gradually evolved into Homo sapiens sapiens independently in different parts of the world. ii. Out of Africa Theory- The out-of-Africa theory suggests that anatomically modern humans first appeared in Africa and then slowly spread across Eurasia, replacing the Neanderthals and their contemporaries B. Homo sapiens sapiens Around 30,000 years ago, the Neanderthals vanished from the scene, leaving another species homo sapiens sapiens (“doubly wise man”) as the only surviving hominid. 1. Earliest Evidence The first evidence of this early-modern human dates from around 100,000 years ago in southern Africa. 2. Cro-Magnons- Homo sapiens sapiens found in Europe are called Cro-Magnons, after the site in France were skeletal remains were first found in the 1800’s. a. Technological Revolution- Cro magnons & their contemporaries brought about a revolution in technology, or tools and the skills to make and use them. The Cro- Magnons developed more than a hundred different new tools, including the sewing needle, which allowed these early modern humans to make the first real clothes worn by hominids. b. Art. These people were also the world’s first artists. Lifelike wall paintings of hunting scenes have been found in more than 200 caves across Europe and on rock outcroppings in Africa and Australia. Although the exact purpose of the cave paintings is still unknown, they demonstrate how Stone Age people, slowly but surely, were becoming ever more creative. IV. Neolithic People Began to Farm A. Rate of Change The rate of change depends upon which era of the Stone Age is being referred to. 1. Paleolithic Era Change occurred only very gradually during the first part of the Stone Age, a period called the Paleolithic (“old stone”) Era, which began about 2.5 million years ago. 2. Neolithic Era During the much shorter Neolithic (“new stone”) Era- from about 8000 B.C. to 3500 B.C.- changes occurred at a much faster rate. B. Agricultural Revolution The key development of this period was the development of agriculture- the systematic planting and harvesting of crops, as well as the taming of animals such as dogs, cows and sheep. C. Organization By depending upon farming rather than hunting, people could begin living more settled lives and organize themselves to live together in villages and towns. 1. Contributing Factors Scientists still do not know exactly why this agricultural revolution took place during this particular period, but there are many factors that may have contributed. a. Climate. Climate was probably important, however. The last great Ice Age ended just before this period. Worldwide temperatures rose an average of 9 F- providing longer growing seasons. b. Population the population- only 10 million people on the entire planet in 10,000 B.C.- began growing rapidly. While tiny by today’s standards, this growing population may have put pressure on hunting grounds. c. security- farming may have offered more security. D. Development of Communities Neolithic life was dramatically different from what had gone before. Beginning about 3500 B.C., thriving agricultural communities developed in many major river valleys around the world. 1. Fertile Crescent The first to develop were in the so- called Fertile Crescent around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq 2. Nile Valley In Africa, the Nile Valley became a rich farming region 3. Yellow River Valley new cultures developed along the Yellow River in China. 4. Benefits These new agricultural communities provided wealth and security for their inhabitants. They also enabled these people to pursue other interests, and learn ways to record and preserve their ideas and opinions. 5. 3500B.C. The year 3500B.C. , marks the dawn of history, as humans begin to transform the world around them and began writing. Key Terms Cartographer Globe Map Projection Mercator Projection Polar Projection Goode’s Interrupted Projection Robinson Projection Longitude Latitude Equator Prime Meridian Hemisphere Compass Rose Relief Map Political Map Physical Map Elevation The Four Types of Landforms Relief Climate Weather Tropical Climates Cold Climates Highlands Population Density Demographer Prehistory Fossil Anthropologist Archaeologist Hominid Autralopithecine Technology Laetoli Homo habilis Stone Age Homo erectus Homo sapiens Neanderthals Homo sapiens sapiens Cro-magnons Paleolithic Neolithic Fertile Crescent Answer 1. How were autralopithecines different from earlier primates? 2. How was homo habilis different from the australopithecines? 3. In what ways was Homo sapiens sapiens different from earlier hominids? 4. As neolithic people gave up a nomadic way of life to live in permanent settlemants, what new needs and problems did they face? Give examples. 5. How did modern humans’ earliest ancestors develop in prehistoric Africa? 6. In what ways were the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons more advanced than the hominids who preceded them? 7. What was the primary new development of the Neolithic period? lithic period?