(Settlers of the Stone Age)
News on Prehistoric Humans:
[US courts get one right for a change. If geneticists can get DNA from Kennewick Man, it will be fascinating to see whether it matches better with Indian groups or with Eurasians. If the latter, it may indicate multiple waves of migration to the Americas.]
[but what if there were earlier migrations which did not contribute to modern humans?]
|When||Event (M = Million Years Before Present (BP))|
|10-5M||Bi-pedalism begins as global climate becomes drier, forests shrink, grasslands expand and primates move out of trees and onto the ground. Permits walking and running, frees hands for carrying, possibly reduces heatstroke.|
|7-5M||Predecessors of Australopith in East Africa.|
|6.5-5M||Global temperature decline. Mediterranean nearly empties. Forests contract.|
|3.5-2.5M||Multiple bi-pedal species appear.|
|2.5M||First flaked tools permit eating animal flesh and marrow.|
|2M||Australopith in South Africa.|
From this point, at least 17 glaciations to 700K.
First departure from Africa.
|1M||Australopith goes extinct, either due to competition with modern humans
or a decline in rainfall.
Different physical types existing on different continents.
|1.65M||First appearance of cleavers, i.e. axes that are sharp all the way around..|
|1.5M||Homo ergaster using cleavers, lanky bodies, more forward projecting nose and lack of body hair is first to colonize arid regions.|
|1M||Homo ergaster has spread to the northern and southern margins of Africa. Sahara is occasionally more moist than today.|
|K = Thousand Years BP|
|900-800K||Possible first attempt at colonization in Europe.|
|800K||Earliest found European human habitation.|
|800-600K||Heavy glaciation in Europe.|
Signs that nutritional stress sometimes led to cannibalism.
|800-750K||Homo erectus arrives in China.|
|700K||Start of 8 Glaciations continuing to present.|
|690-550K||Last common ancestor between Neanderthals and modern humans.|
|600K||Larger brain, better axes/cleavers and tools.|
Possible major advance in language.
|500K||DNA study indicates this is the approximate point of divergence of Neanderthals and modern humans. New technology makes possible first permanent colonists in Europe as Neanderthals begin to evolve there.|
|400-360K||Neanderthals use thrusting spears in Germany to kill horses.|
|250||Modern humans and Neanderthals diverge.
Fire invented (but possible evidence for 1.5M BP, see above).
|200K||"Eve", ancestor of all humans on earth today, is born.|
|200-50K||"Adam", ancestor of all humans on earth today, is born.|
|130-50K||Populations in Africa and Europe very sparse.|
|120-60K||Aridity forces humans in southern Africa to abandon region.|
|100K||Modern man in Africa, probably beginning in East Africa as the climate had been favorable for 130K and it shows the earliest evidence. Begins to arrive in the Middle East.|
|75K||Start of more or less continuous ice age to 9.3K. Humans in Middle East disappear and are replaced by Neanderthals, perhaps because the latter are better adapted for cold weather?|
|73.5K||Mt. Toba erupts in Sumatra. Worldwide intense cold for 1K.|
Southern Africa very arid.
First indication of possible use of boats.
|50K||Late Stone Age.
Start of cultural evolution.
Possible beginning of fully modern language.
Some African ancestors of modern humans begin migration from Africa to Eurasia and start to replace Neanderthals.
Use of beads made from ostrich shells as reciprocity gifts.
Ostrich eggshell canteens permitted movement away from rivers.
Wide variety of new tools appear.
Fishing with grooved stones for weighting hooks and lines and bone splinters as baited hooks.
Throwing spears mean hunting of large animals is safer and requires fewer calories.
"Houses" permit living in colder areas.
Tailored clothing appears.
Indonesia inhabited by homo erectus.
|45-43K||Late Stone Age reaches Western Asia.|
|40-38K||Late Stone Age reaches Eastern Europe.|
|40K||Modern humans arrive in Europe and replace Neanderthals very quickly.
Last Neanderthals appear to borrow modern human technology.
Last Neanderthals appear to live in southern Iberia or perhaps it was just that its aridity meant no one was living there.
Neanderthals never penetrate Africa.
|38-37K||Late Stone Age reaches Central and Western Europe.|
|37-36K||Jewelry appears in Europe.|
|30K||All people are modern humans.|
|25K||Late Stone Age reaches Central Siberia.|
|20K||Use of bow and arrow enchances hunting birds and larger animals.|
|18K||Glacial maximum. Sea levels drop 130 meters and there are extensive tropical deserts.|
|14K||End of the Last Glaciation.
Late Stone Age reaches northeast corner of Siberia.
|14-12K||Humans cross to America.|
|13.5K||Short warming and new cold period.|
|11.5K||Humans filter through the Americas.|
|11K||Younger Dryas period lasts 1300 years. It is colder and drier which makes wild cereals and other food plants scarcer. The human reaction is to start seeding as well as to domesticate sheep, goats, cattle and pigs. This prompts changes in social and economic relations. Population density increases.|
|9K||Splinter groups bring agriculture from Spain to Pakistan. Steve Olson (see below) feels that agriculture started spontaneously in many multiple places. My own feeling is that the technology was passed from group to group, but it happened very quickly because all of the groups were so advanced that they were extremely ready to adapt the practice very quickly.|
|8K||Starting point of the game Civilization.|