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Prehistoric Times
The Development of the Hominids
Please Note: It is NOT my intent to change your
views on the how the earth was created nor on
how humans came into existence, rather my
intent is to introduce you to the material covered
within your textbook. It is up to you to make your
own decisions about the validity of the material
we will cover in this unit.
Pre-History v. History
• 4,000,000 BC to 3500BC
• A time before there were
written records
• 3500 BC to Present
• A time when written
records were present
(BC & AD) v. (BCE & CE)
“Historical Terms”
• BC=Before Christ (Number of years before the birth
of Jesus
• AD=The Year of our Lord (Number of years since
the birth of Jesus
“Politically Correct Terms”
• BCE=Before Common Era (Same as BC)
• CE=Common Era (Same as AD)
150 BC
50 AD
100 BC
125 AD
Archaeologists & Anthropologists
• Imagine
– You are an archaeologist who
just discovered an artifact.
• Directions
– Make a careful list of the
characteristics of the artifact.
– List ideas about how this
artifact was used and what it
tells us about the culture of the
people who used/made it.
– List any difficulties you and
archaeologists would have in
determining the significance of
this artifact.
Lets meet “Lucy” on Page 16
The illustration shows "Lucy"
in comparison with a modern
human female.
A-Man has some surprisingly
human characteristics.
Prehistoric Man Timeline
• “A-Man” or “Lucy”
– Lived between 4 million an million years ago
– Discovered in 1974 (Tanzania)
• 1st upright walking Hominid
– Human being and other creatures that
walk upright
• A-Man is classified as an ape, not a
• Probably didn’t talk or use tools (1/3 size
of current human brain)
• Taught us the most powerful tool was
ourselves, family, and friends
• Several different species
• Ultimately, most believe (A-Man) dies off Australopithecus africanus
and does not lead to Homo Habilis
Why 1st to walk upright?
1. Change in climate
Tropical rain forests
transformed to grassland
Environment drives brain size
2. Safety
Could spot threatening
animals and hunt more
3. Saved Energy
More energy = More “relations”
= More babies
Walking upright freed A-Man’s
hands to carry food, tools, and
Homo Habilis
• “Handy Man”
– Lived between 2.5 and 2 million
years ago
– Discovered in 1960 (Tanzania)
• Homo = Human being
– 1st human species
• Brain size 50% bigger than AMan
• Ability to make and use tools
– Made blades out of lava rock to cut
meat and crack bones
– Marked beginning of Stone Age
– Paleolithic “Old Stone Age”
– Neolithic “New Stone Age”
– Provided advantage over larger and
faster animals
• Was Homo Habilis a hunter of
large game--lions, leopards,
hyenas? Or was this species
an opportunistic taker of small
game and a scavenger?
• Did Homo Habilis have the
ability to relocate from Africa?
• Did Homo Habilis develop from
the A-Man?
Homo Erectus
• “Upright Man”
– Lived between 1.5 million years and .5
million years old
– Discovered in 1984 (Kenyan)
• 1st to learn how to use fire
– Used for warmth (Northern latitudes)
– Used for cooking
– Used for protection
• Taught us that flexibility and
adaptability are the keys to survival
– Technology changed little in over 1
million years
• 1st to travel into Europe and Asia
Why Leave Africa?
• Rise in population
– More difficult to find
new hunting grounds
• Curiosity to explore
• Ability to use fire
Homo Heidelbergensis
• Lived 600,000 years ago
• Brain Size: 93% the size of a modern
• After a MAJOR climate change:
– Some left Africa and traveled into Europe
• Europe = Ice Age
– Others stayed in Africa
• Africa = Prolonged drought
• Those who went to Europe will
evolve into Neanderthals “Homo
• Those who stay in Africa will evolve
into Cro-Magon “Homo Sapiens
– The modern human
The Development of the Hominids
Homo Sapiens
• “Wise Man”
– Lived 200,000 & disappeared
around 30,000 years ago
– Discovered in 1856 (Germany)
• Could adapt to harsher
– Average brain capacity actually
exceeds that of modern humans
• Several different species
– Neanderthals
• Skillful tool makers
– Used traps, axes and knives
– Killed small animals & trapped
larger ones
Neanderthal: Lifestyle
• Lived nomadic life (always on the move) following herds of
animals all year round
• Lived in caves…Later would make frames for skin tents
• Displayed evidence of cultural practices
– Took care of injured, diseased, and disabled
– 1st to bury dead with grave goods
What happened to the
• Multi-Regional Theory
– Neanderthals gradually evolved into anatomically
modern humans
• Out-of-Africa Theory
– Anatomically modern humans (our ancestors)
emerged in Africa and then spread across Eurasia
eventually out competing and replacing the
• Currently, most historians believe this theory
Homo Sapiens Sapiens
• “Doubly Wise Man”
– Scientists have found remains of these early people in Europe,
Asia, America, Africa, all over, really.
• Called Cro-Magon
– Cro-Magon is an outdated term for Homo Sapiens Sapiens
– They will replace the Neanderthals
• Earliest known example of a modern human being
• Keys to survival
– Think ahead / imagination / creativity
• Started revolution in technology
100 different tools made out of stone, bone, and wood
Razor sharp blades and fishing hooks
Chisel-like cutters
Spear hunters had range of 30 to 50 ft.
Bone needles used for sewing
Lifestyle / Culture
• Cave printings
•Burial sites present
overwhelming evidence of
– Magical significance???
– Earliest Textbooks???
– Initiation Rite???
important cultural practices
•Evidence of a hunters' culture
Extra Credit Opportunity
The Hobbit
Island of Flores
• Neanderthal’s Characteristics
– Strong, close net, self-sufficient, isolated, and independent
• Ultimately their strengths became their weaknesses
– It wasn't disaster or even genocide, but just out competed.
• Question:
– Briefly describe the fall of the Neanderthals
• Be sure to discuss their characteristics and give examples of how
they become their weaknesses
– Could this happen to humans?
• Provide present day examples of the qualities and characteristics
of humans and evaluate whether or not this could happen
– Provide some theories, possibilities or situations that could
possibly lead to humans suffering the same fate as the