Stone Age Life
The term "Stone Age" is used to describe a period of human evolution where stone was used as the most hardest material for making tools. The Stone Age started around 2.5 to 2 million years ago when early humans first produced the first stone tools in East Africa and ended with the development of agriculture, the domestication of certain animals such as sheep, goat and cow, and the smelting of copper ore to produce metal. The transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BC and 2500 BC.
The Stone Age is further split into the Palaeolithic (literally, "old age of the stone"), the Mesolitic (Middle Stone Age) and the Neolitic (New Stone Age).
Life in the Palaeolithic
During the Old Stone Age, the Paleolithic, starting around 2.5 million years ago, humans were grouped together in small scale societies such as bands and gained their subsistence from gathering plants and hunting wild animals. Humankind gradually evolved from early members of the genus Homo such as Homo habilis, who used simple stone tools into fully behaviorally and anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), around 200,000 years ago. Homo habilis is believed to have constructed the first man-made structure in East Africa around 2 million years ago, consisting of simple arrangements of stones to hold branches of trees in position.
The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools known as choppers, although at the time, humans also used wood and bone tools. Other organic commodities were adapted for use as tools, including leather and vegetable fibers; however, given their nature, these have not been preserved to any great degree.
Food of these hunter-gatherers included animals and plants that were part of the environment in which they lived. Palaeolitic people particularly liked animal organ meats including the livers, kidneys and brains. They also ate leaves and roots and towards the end of this period wild cereal grains.
It is believed that between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, the brain of Homo sapien was well enough developed to allow fully modern behaviour including the use of relatively complex language. Based on DNA analyis, in 2003, Alec Knight and Joanna Mountain of Stanford University suggested that the original human language may have been a click language similar to the language spoken today by the Hadzabe people.
Around the end of the Paleolithic, humans began to produce the earliest works of art and engage in religious and spiritual behavior such as burial and ritual. The climate during the Paleolithic periodically fluctuated between warm and cool temperatures.
Life in the Mesolitic
Only 10,000 years ago, after the last ice age, sea levels were rising and humans had to adapt to changing environments. In response to these changes, they developed "microliths", small stone tools, typically knapped of flint or chert, usually about three centimetres long or less. They were probably used as barbs on arrows, spears and other composite tools. These tools permitted more efficient hunting and the start of fishing activity. Dogs where the first wild animals to be domesticated to assist with hunting.
Life in the Neolithic
In the Neolithic, the New Stone Age, agricultal practises were started. Due to the increased need to harvest and process plants, ground stone and polished stone artifacts became much more widespread, including tools for grinding, cutting, and chopping.
Plant-based foods became a regular part of the diet; new dietary habits were introduced including the consumption of planted cereal grains and dairy product.
The first large-scale constructions were built, including settlement towers and walls. Most Neolithic societies were relatively simple and egalitarian, though Neolithic cultures were noticeably more hierarchical than the Paleolithic cultures that preceded them and Hunter-gatherer cultures in general. The earliest evidence for established trade exists in the Neolithic with newly settled people importing exotic goods over distances of many hundreds of miles.
REBIRTH Stone Age Experience is located on the timeline at the period of transition between pure hunter-gatherers and early agrarians.
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