AP®︎ World History
- History and prehistory
- Prehistory before written records
- Peopling the earth
- Homo sapiens and early human migration
- Organizing paleolithic societies
- Paleolithic technology, culture, and art
- Lesson summary: the origin of humans and early human societies
- The origin of humans and early human societies
An overview of the origins of humans and early human societies.
|prehistory||The period of human activity that occurred before the invention of writing; this varies across societies based on when written records first appeared|
|history||Historians typically mark the invention of writing as the start of history as this is the point at which historians have written records to work with and interpret|
|Paleolithic Period||Literally “old stone age”, refers to the time period when hunting, foraging, and fishing were the primary means of humans obtaining food and stone tools were widely used|
|Homo sapiens||Anatomically modern humans, our subspecies is called Homo sapiens sapiens|
|hunter-forager||Person who gets their food primarily by hunting or fishing animals and gathering plants|
|human migration||When people move from one place to another, usually over a long distance, with the plan to settle in the new area for a long period of time|
|200,000 years ago||First known anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens|
|200,000 years ago—12,000 years ago||Paleolithic period, or “old stone age”|
|100,000 years ago||Beginning of large-scale migrations out of Africa, the first known birthplace of humankind|
|50,000 years ago||Earliest known date at which humans developed the capacity for language|
Environment: People adapted to and attempted to alter their environments. During the Paleolithic era, groups of hunter-foragers migrated from Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas, adapting their technology and cultures to new environmental conditions. Humans developed technologies such as fire and stone tools that helped them survive.
Social structure: Before the advent of agriculture and cities, humans typically lived in small groups and hunted and foraged for food. Different bands of people interacted with one another and exchanged technology and ideas.
- How did technology allow Paleolithic humans to adapt to new environmental conditions?
- Why might Paleolithic societies have been organized into small bands?
Want to join the conversation?
- If anatomically modern humans existed 200,000 YA, wouldn't they also have the capacity for language at that time? What happened around 50,000 YA that added the language capacity to their anatomically modern bodies?(12 votes)
- While they likely had the biological capacity for language then, the technology of language was just beginning to develop. Language is a tool that has been slowly developed and improved over the course of human existence. Simply having the capacity for language doesn't imply that it existed at that moment. It's kind of like implying that, because other apes have fingers, they should all be capable of proficiently using a keyboard.(29 votes)
- Other hominid species such as H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis etc. had almost the equal or a bigger brain structure than H. sapiens. Plus, their environment was no less challenging than the one which H. sapiens faced. What exactly happened to H. sapiens that led them to the intellectual enlightenment to exploit the resources in a much better way than other hominids?(5 votes)
- Homo Sapiens' brains were much more developed in areas which are responsible for language and communication(4 votes)
- When did the Homo Sapiens evolve into Homo Sapiens Sapiens?(2 votes)
- Homo Sapiens is the nomenclature of species anatomically similar to modern humans. Homo Sapiens Sapiens is the subspecies name. This is required to distinguish genuine modern humans from its direct ancestor, Homo Sapiens Idaltu. Who were too, anatomically similar to the modern human.(3 votes)
- Why do we say 200,000 years ago in the lesson? Wouldn't it be more convenient to use BCE notation?(1 vote)
- We don't have enough accuracy in those dates, such that the 2000 years of variance between CE and BCE wouldn't really matter. We tend to only use CE/BCE when referring to historical events in recorded history.(5 votes)
- In the video on Paleolithic Societies, it is stated that the modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens appeared around 250,000 years ago. The article above says that Homo Sapiens Sapiens appeared 200,000 years ago. Which is correct?(2 votes)
- Both are estimates. There is no exact date we can currently put for the emergence of Homo sapiens.
Recent discoveries may even push this date back to about 300,000 years ago.
- What was the marriage system during paleolithic times?(2 votes)
- There probable was no traditional marriage as we know it, in the Paleolithic Period marriage was basically where two mates mate for life, similar to where a married couple nowadays swear to love each other "'till death do us part" basically saying "You will be my mate for life and no one else." Just in a more grammatically pleasing way.(1 vote)