Sunday, October 10, 2004

Reflections on Prehistory

Reflections on Prehistory - Offers an overview of prehistory ranging from topics on early hominids to regional discussions of prehistory in the Near East and the American Southwest.

From the site:

Humans evolved in the context of a world system. Human societies remain a part of an ever-changing world system. Cosmological and terrestrial forces shaped our environment, climate and evolutionary path. Temporal variants are the grist of our evolutionary mill, producing changes and modification. Beneficial characteristics are survival selected and have produced evolutionary change.

Four million years ago Australopithecus ramidus walked upright. So did A. afarensis three million years ago in a forested environment. The first hominid artifacts, stone tools, are known from 2.5 million years ago, along with stone tool cut marks on bone of prey species. The Great Ice Age, or Pleistocene era, begins at this point in time, probably altering human diet and adaptations. Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis 1.5 million years ago and eventually migrated to Europe and Asia.

Research by the Leakeys suggests that food sharing behavior was existent l.5 million years ago. Around this time 1000 cc. brains evolved and some stone tool advances occur, in particular, the stone ax is known. These artifacts and their attributes evidence the level of intelligence and the cognitive capabilities of our early ancestors. Stone transport to use sites indicates foresight and planning. During the lower Paleolithic H. erectus began to control fire and construct shelter. Geographic range and population expanded.

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