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Evolution and Ages

Timeline of evolution

Summary of ages






 under construction


Extinction events

extinction events chartFive major and several minor extinction events have occurred during the 500 million years of advanced life on Earth.


1) Ordovician — 443 million years ago
2) Devonian — 354 mya, 89 million years later
3) Permian — 248 mya, 106 million years later
4) Triassic — 206 mya, 42 million years later
5) Cretaceous—65 mya, 141 million years later





Miocene Epoch

miocene epochThe Cretaceous extinction was followed by the Cenozoic era, which extends from 65 mya until now. The Cenozoic contains three subunits, one of which is the Miocene epoch—23 to 5 mya.

For humans, life doesn’t get interesting until the Miocene, so we must examine how it unfolded.

The Miocene is so important because it is when Miocene apes became a dominant species.

The mainstream experts responsible for the line charts on the right — paleontologists and geneticists — work with an astonishingly small amount of evidence to make the kind of bold and specific proclamations they assert. Of course, each bold claim can change (and often does) with the next bone shard or tooth chip found in different eras, but for now, this is how they see and preach it.

The first steps on the ladder to humans are the “proto”-primates that radiated widely after the Cretaceous extinction event. Interventionists say some of these were stock species, although no “expert” would give that idea any credence.

Next came the earliest prosimians, which were considered to be primates but not yet classified as monkeys, although they are monkey-like in many ways. Several existed in the Eocene, but only three have survived to modern times. They are the galago/bushbabies, tarsiers, and lemurs.

The next early primates, monkeys, appear at around 33 mya. They control their niches for the next 10 million years, until the start of the Miocene, when the first tailless apes appear.

Pre-humans — from 6 mya, at which point mainstreamers start calling any of the bipedal ancient primates “pre”-humans.

In fact, these creatures are “pre” nothing. They are “post” primates like Moro, Piero, and Oreo, and very likely many other such fossils that will be discovered in the fullness of time. However, for now we are stuck calling them pre-humans.

Following Orrorin at 6.0 mya is Ardipithecus Ramidus at 4.4 mya; then is Australopithecus Anamensis, 4.2 to 3.9 mya; A. Afarensis, 3.6 to 2.9 mya; Kenyanthropus Platyops, 3.5 to 3.3 mya; A. Africanus, 3 to 2 mya; A. Aethiopicus, 2.7 to 2.3 mya; A. Garhi, 2.5 mya; A. Boisei, 2.3 to 1.4 mya; A. Robustus, 1.8 to 1.5 mya.

Homos appear in the fossil record 2.5 mya as a new kind of upright primate. Supposedly, they were a “transition” from the primitive Australo forms, but even a cursory examination of skulls shows that in all groups the change was more of a transformation. The first undoubted Homos begin with Homo Erectus at 2.0 mya.

H. Antecessor appears at 1.2 mya, and then H. Heidelbergensis follows at 600,000. These are followed by the Big Kahuna of all pre-humans, H. Neanderthalensis, the Neanderthals, early forms of which appeared at 300,000 years ago.

Neanderthal lived alongside Early Modern Humans and Cro-Magnons for 150,000 years. [Early Modern Humans appear 200,000 years ago, and Cro-Magnons at 60,000 years ago.]

Stone age

The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted roughly 2.5 million years, and ended between 4500 and 2000 BC with the advent of metalworking. Stone Age artifacts include tools used by humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well, but are more rarely preserved in the archaeological record. The Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use.

The Stone Age is the first of the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods:

  • The Stone Age
  • The Bronze Age
  • The Iron Age
  • Historical significance

    The Stone Age is nearly contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception possibly being at the very beginning, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System, especially toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands. The closest relative among the other living Primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and also north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia.

    Starting from about 3 mya a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, and across Asia to China, which has been called "transcontinental 'savannahstan'" recently.[1] Starting in the grasslands of the rift, the ancestors of man found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it. Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, became a "tool equipped savanna dweller."[2]

    Beginning of the Stone Age

    The oldest known stone tools have been excavated from several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. All the tools come from the Busidama Formation, which lies above a disconformity, or missing layer, which would have been from 2.9-2.7 mya. The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6-2.55 mya.[3] One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene. Rogers and Semaw, excavators at the locality, point out that:[4]

    "...the earliest stone tool makers were skilled flintknappers .... The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include ... gaps in the geological record."

    The excavators are confident that more tools will be found elsewhere from 2.9 mya. The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown. Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus[5] and Homo, possibly Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the oldest tools.[6]

    End of the Stone Age

    Innovation of the technique of smeltingore ended the Stone Age and began the Age of Metals. The first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of which was smelted separately. The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age. The Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age and is unquestionably part of the Age of Metals. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age. During this entire time stone remained in use in parallel with the metals for some objects, including those also used in the Neolithic, such as stone pottery.

    The transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia. The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6thmillennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek, Yarmovac and Pločnik (a copper axe from 5500 BCE belonging to the Vincha culture, though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.[7] and the Rudna Glava mine in Serbia. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a copper axe and a flint knife.

    In regions such as Subsaharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age. The Middle East and southeastern Asian regions progressed past Stone Age technology around 6000 BC. Europe, and the rest of Asia became post–Stone Age societies by about 4000 BC. The proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BC, when gold, copper and silver made their entrance, the rest following later. Australia remained in the Stone Age until the 17th century. Stone tool manufacture continued. In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, and still are in many parts of the world.

    Lower Paleolithic

    The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (from Greek: παλαιός, palaios, "old"; and λίθος, lithos, "stone" lit. "old stone," coined by archaeologist John Lubbock and published in 1865) is the earliest division of the Stone Age. It covers the greatest portion of humanity's time (roughly 99% of "human technological history,"[17] where "human" and "humanity" are interpreted to mean the genus Homo), extending from 2.5 or 2.6 million years ago, with the first documented use of stone tools by hominans such as Homo habilis, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BCE.[17] The Paleolithic era ended with the Mesolithic, or in areas with an early neolithisation, the Epipaleolithic.

    Lower Paleolithic

    The Lower Paleolithic (or Lower Palaeolithic) is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan ("mode 1") and Acheulean ("mode 2") lithics industries.


    Middle Paleolithic

    The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. The term Middle Stone Age is used as an equivalent or a synonym for the Middle Paleolithic in African archeology.[1] The Middle Paleolithic and the Middle Stone Age broadly spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago. There are considerable dating differences between regions. The Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age was succeeded by the Upper Paleolithic subdivision which first began between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago.[1]

    During this time period Homo neanderthalensis thrived in Europe between 300,000 and 30,000 years ago, and the earliest anatomically modern humans appeared around 195,000 years ago. Phylogenetic separation of modern humans dates to this period, mitochondrial Eve to roughly 150,000 years ago, Y-chromosomal Adam to roughly 90,000 years ago; see single-origin hypothesis.[1] Additionally, according to the Out of Africa Hypothesis, modern humans began migrating out of Africa during the Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic around 100,000 or 70,000 years ago and began to replace earlier pre-existent Homo species such as the Neanderthals and Homo erectus.[2]

    Origin of behavorial modernity

    The earliest evidence of behavioral modernity first appears during the Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age; undisputed evidence of behavioral modernity, however, only becomes common during the following Upper Paleolithic period.[1]

    Middle Paleolithic burials at sites such as Krapina, Croatia (c. 130,000 BP) and Qafzeh, Israel (c. 100,000 BP) have led some anthropologists and archeologists, such as Philip Lieberman, to believe that Middle Paleolithic cultures may have possessed a developing religious ideology which included belief in concepts such as an afterlife; other scholars suggest the bodies were buried for secular reasons.[3][4] According to recent archeological findings from H. heidelbergensis sites in Atapuerca the practice of intentional burial may have begun much earlier during the late Lower Paleolithic but this theory is widely questioned in the scientific community. Cut marks on Neanderthal bones from various sites such as Combe-Grenal and Abri Moula in France may imply that the Neanderthals, like some contemporary human cultures, may have practiced ritual defleshing for (presumably) religious reasons.

    Also the earliest undisputed evidence of artistic expression during the Paleolithic period comes from Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age sites such as Blombos Cave in the form of bracelets,[5] beads,[6] art rock,[7] ochre used as body paint and perhaps in ritual,[1][7] though earlier examples of artistic expression such as the Venus of Tan-Tan and the patterns found on elephant bones from Bilzingsleben in Thuringia may have been produced by Acheulean tool users such as Homo erectus prior to the start of the Middle Paleolithic period.[8] Activities such as catching large fish and hunting large game animals with specialized tools connote increased group-wide cooperation and more elaborate social organization.[1]

    In addition to developing other advanced cultural traits such as religion and art, humans also first began to take part in long distance trade between groups for rare commodities (such as ochre, which was often used for religious purposes such as ritual[7][9]) and raw materials during the Middle Paleolithic as early as 120,000 years ago.[1][10] Inter-group trade may have appeared during the Middle Paleolithic because trade between bands would have helped ensure their survival by allowing them to exchange resources and commodities such as raw materials during times of relative scarcity (i.e., famine or drought).[10]

    Social stratification

    Evidence from archeology and comparative ethnography indicates that Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age people lived in small egalitarian band societies similar to those of Upper Paleolithic societies and (some) existent Hunter gatherers such as the !Kung san and the Mbuti.[1][11] Both Neanderthal and modern human societies took care of the elderly members of their societies during the Middle Paleolithic.[12]Christopher Boehm (1999) has hypothesized that egalitarianism may have arisen in Middle Paleolithic societies because of a need to distribute resources such as food and meat equally to avoid famine and ensure a stable food supply.[13] Typically, it has been assumed that women gathered plants and firewood and men hunted and scavenged dead animals through the Paleolithic.[14] However, recent archaeological research done by the anthropologist and archaeologist Steven Kuhn from the University of Arizona suggests that this gender-based division of labor (presumably) did not exist prior to the Upper Paleolithic in Middle Paleolithic societies (Modern humans before 40,000 or 50,000 BCE and Neanderthals) and evolved relatively recently in human prehistory. The gender-based division of labor may have evolved to allow humans to acquire food and other resources more efficiently and thus may have allowed Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens to out-compete the Neanderthals in Europe.[14]


    Although gathering and hunting comprised most of the food supply during the Middle Paleolithic, people began to supplement their diet with seafood and began smoking and drying meat to preserve and store it. For instance the Middle Stone Age inhabitants of the region now occupied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo hunted large 6-foot (1.8 m) long catfish with specialized barbed fishing points as early as 90,000 years ago,[1][15] and Neanderthals and Middle Paleolithic Homo sapiens in Africa began to catch shellfish for food as revealed by shellfish cooking in Neanderthal sites in Italy about 110,000 years ago and Middle Paleolithic Homo sapiens sites at Pinnacle Point, in Africa.[1][16]

    Anthropologists such as Tim D. White suggest that cannibalism was common in human societies prior to the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, based on the large amount of “butchered human" bones found in Neanderthal and other Middle Paleolithic sites.[17] Cannibalism in the Middle Paleolithic may have occurred because of food shortages.[18] However it is also possible that Middle Paleolithic cannibalism occurred for religious reasons which would coincide with the development of religious practices thought to have occurred during the Upper Paleolithic.[19][20] Nonetheless it remains possible that Middle Paleolithic societies never practiced cannibalism and that the damage to recovered human bones was either the result of ritual post-mortem bone cleaning or predation by carnivores such as Saber tooth cats, lions and hyenas.[20]


    Around 200,000 BP Middle Paleolithic Stone tool manufacturing spawned a tool-making technique known as the prepared-core technique, that was more elaborate than previous Acheulean techniques.[21] This method increased efficiency by permitting the creation of more controlled and consistent flakes.[21] This method allowed Middle Paleolithic humans correspondingly to create stone-tipped spears, which were the earliest composite tools, by hafting sharp, pointy stone flakes onto wooden shafts. Paleolithic groups such as the Neanderthals who possessed a Middle Paleolithic level of technology appear to have hunted large game just as well as Upper Paleolithic modern humans[22] and the Neanderthals in particular may have likewise hunted with projectile weapons.[23] Nonetheless Neanderthal usage of projectile weapons in hunting occurred very rarely (or perhaps never) and the Neanderthals hunted large game animals mostly by ambushing them and attacking them with mêlée weapons such as thrusting spears rather than attacking them from a distance with projectile weapons.[12][24] An ongoing controversy about the nature of Middle Paleolithic tools is whether there were a series of functionally specific and preconceived tool forms or whether there was a simple continuum of tool morphology that reflect the extent of edge maintenance, as Harold Dibble has suggested.[25]

    The use of fire became widespread for the first time in human prehistory during the Middle Paleolithic and humans began to cook their food c. 250,000 years ago.[26][27] Some scientists have hypothesized that hominids began cooking food to defrost frozen meat which would help ensure their survival in cold regions.[27]Robert K. Wayne, a molecular biologist, has controversially claimed, based on a comparison of canine DNA, that dogs may have been first domesticated during the Middle Paleolithic around or even before 100,000 BCE.[28] Christopher Boehm (1999) has hypothesized that egalitarianism may have arisen in Middle Paleolithic societies because of a need to distribute resources such as food and meat equally to avoid famine and ensure a stable food supply.[13]


    Cave sites

  • Axlor, Spain
  • Petralona, Greece
  • Le Moustier, France — see alsoMousterian
  • La Quina, France
  • Neanderthal, Germany
  • Goyet, Belgium
  • Grotte de Spy, Spy, Belgium
  • Open-air sites

  • Biache-Saint-Vaast, France
  • Rheindahlen, Germany
  • Maastricht-Belvédère, The Netherlands
  • Veldwezelt-Hezerwater, Belgium

    Upper Paleolithic

    The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic, and also in some contexts Late Stone Age) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly, it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of agriculture. The terms "Late Stone Age" and "Upper Paleolithic" refer to the same periods. For historical reasons, "Stone Age" usually refers to the period in Africa, whereas "Upper Paleolithic" is generally used when referring to the period in Europe.


    Modern humans (i.e. Homo sapiens) are believed to have emerged about 195,000 years ago in Africa.[1][2] Though these humans were modern in anatomy, their lifestyle changed very little from their contemporaries, such as Homo erectus and the Neanderthals. They used the same crude stone tools. Archaeologist Richard G. Klein, who has worked extensively on ancient stone tools, describes the stone tool kit of archaic hominids as impossible to categorize. It was as if the Neanderthals made stone tools, and were not much concerned about their final forms. He argues that almost everywhere, whether Asia or Africa or Europe, before 50,000 years ago all the stone tools are much alike and unsophisticated.

    About 50,000 years ago, there was a marked increase in the diversity of artifacts. For the first time in Africa, bone artifacts and the first art appear in the archeological record. The first evidence of human fishing is also noted, from artifacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. Firstly among the artifacts of Africa, archeologists found they could differentiate and classify those of less than 50,000 years into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, and drilling and piercing tools. These new stone-tool types have been described as being distinctly differentiated from each other, as if each tool had a specific purpose. 3,000 to 4,000 years later, this tool technology spread with people migrating to Europe. The new technology generated a population explosion of modern humans which is believed to have led to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The invaders, commonly referred to as the Cro-Magnons, left many sophisticated stone tools, carved and engraved pieces on bone, ivory and antler, cave paintings and Venus figurines.[3][4][5]

    This shift from Middle to Upper Paleolithic is called the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. The Neanderthals continued to use Mousterianstone tool technology, but were probably extinct by about 22,000 BC. This period has the earliest remains of organized settlements in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. These were often located in narrow valley bottoms, possibly to make hunting of passing herds of animals easier. Some sites may have been occupied year round, though more generally, they seem to have been used seasonally; peoples moved between them to exploit different food sources at different times of the year. Hunting was important, and caribou/wild reindeer "may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting."[6]

    Technological advances included significant developments in flint tool manufacturing, with industries based on fine blades rather than simpler and shorter flakes. Burins and racloirs were used to work bone, antler and hides. Advanced darts and harpoons also appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamp, rope, and the eyed needle.

    Artistic work blossomed, with Venus figurines, cave painting, carvings and engravings on bone or ivory (such as the Swimming Reindeer), petroglyphs and exotic raw materials found far from their sources, which suggests emergent trading links. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity[citation needed]. These group identities produced distinctive symbols and rituals which are an important part of modern human behavior.

    The changes in human behavior have been attributed to the changes in climate during the period, which encompasses a number of global temperature drops. This meant a worsening of the already bitter climate of what is popularly (but incorrectly) called the last ice age. Such changes may have reduced the supply of usable timber and forced people to look at other materials. In addition, flint becomes brittle at low temperatures and may not have functioned as a tool.

    Some scholars have argued that the appearance of complex or abstract language made these behavior changes possible. The complexity of the new human capabilities hints that humans were less capable of planning or foresight before 40,000 years, while the emergence of cooperative and coherent communication marked a new era of cultural development.[7] This theory is not widely accepted, since human phylogenetic separation dates to the Middle Palaeolithic (see Pre-language). While the latter view is better supported by phylogenetic inference, the material "evidence" is ambiguous[citation needed].

    Changes in climate and geography

    The climate of the period in Europe saw dramatic changes, and included the Last Glacial Maximum, the coldest phase of the last glacial period, which lasted from about 24,500 to 18,000–17,000 BC, being coldest at the end, before a relatively rapid warming (all dates vary somewhat for different areas, and in different studies). During the Maximum, most of Northern Europe was covered by an ice-sheet, forcing human populations into the areas known as Last Glacial Maximum refugia, including modern Italy and the Balkans, parts of Iberia and areas around the Black Sea. This period saw cultures such as the Solutrean in France and Spain. Human life may have continued on top of the ice sheet, but we know next to nothing about it, and very little about the human life that preceded the European glaciers. In the early part of the period, up to about 30,000 BC, the Mousterian Pluvial made northern Africa, including the Sahara, well-watered and with lower temperatures than today; after the end of the Pluvial the Sahara became arid.

    The Last Glacial Maximum was followed by the Allerød oscillation, a warm and moist global interstadial that occurred around 11,500 to 10,800 BC. Then there was a very rapid onset, perhaps within as little as a decade, of the cold and dry Younger Dryas climate period, giving sub-arctic conditions to much of northern Europe. The Pre-Boreal rise in temperatures also began sharply around 9600 BC, and by its end around 8500 BC had brought temperatures nearly to present day levels, though the climate was wetter. This period saw the Upper Paleolithic give way to the start of the following Mesolithic cultural period.

    As the glaciers receded sea levels rose; the English Channel, Irish Sea and North Sea were land at this time, and the Black Sea a fresh-water lake. In particular the Atlantic coastline was initially far out to sea in modern terms in most areas, though the Mediterranean coastline has retreated far less, except in the north of the Adreatic and the Aegean. The rise in sea levels continued until at least 5,500 BC, so evidence of most of the no doubt busy human activity along Europe's coasts in the Upper Paleolithic is therefore lost, though some traces are recovered by fishing boats and marine archaeology, especially from Doggerland, the lost area beneath the North Sea.


    50 000 BC

    50,000 BC

    start of the Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa


    At Ksar Akil in Lebanon, ornaments and skeletal remains of modern humans are dated to this period.

    40 000 BC

    40,000—35,000 BC

    Cro-Magnon appear in Europe, early cultural center in the Swabian Alps, earliest figurative art (Venus of Schelklingen), beginning Aurignacian

    the first flutes appear in Germany

    39,000 BC

    Most of the giant vertebrates and megafauna in Australia have gone extinct, due to the arrival of humans.[8]

    35,000 BC

    Zar, Yataghyeri, Damjili and Taghlar caves in Azerbaijan.

    32,000 BC

    Europeans understand how to harden clay figures by firing them in an oven at high temperatures.

    30,000 BC

    Invention of the bow and arrow.[9]

    end of the Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa

    30,000 BC—26,000 BC

    Lion-Human, from Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany created. It is now in Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany.

    30 000 BC

    29,000—25,000 BC

    Venus of Dolní Věstonice. It is the oldest known ceramic in the world. The Red Lady of Paviland lived around 29-26,000 years ago. Recent evidence has come to light that he was a tribal chief.[citation needed]

    28,000 BC

    People start to live in Japan.

    25,000 BC—17,000 BC

    Wall painting with horses, rhinoceroses and aurochs, Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardéche gorge, France, is made. Discovered in December 1994.

    24,000 BC

    start of the second Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa.

    23,000 BC

    Venus of Petřkovice (Petřkovická venuše in Czech) from Petřkovice in Ostrava, Czech Republic, was made. It is now in Archeological Institute, Brno.

  • 22,000 BC

    Neanderthals believed to have become extinct in Europe.

    Last Glacial Maximum: Venus of Brassempouy, Grotte du Pape, Brassempouy, Landes, France, was made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.

    Venus of Willendorf, Austria, was made. It is now at Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna.

    20,000 BC

    end of the second Mousterian Pluvial in North Africa.

    20 000 BC

    18,000 BC—15,000 BC

    Last Glacial Maximum. Mean Sea Levels are believed to be 110 to 120 meters (361 to 394 ft) lower than present,[10] with the direct implication that many coastal and lower riverine valley archaeological sites of interest are today under water.

    18,000 BC

    Spotted Horses, Pech Merle cave, Dordogne, France are painted. Discovered in December 1994.

    18,000 BC—11,000 BC

    Ibex-headed spear thrower, from Le Mas d'Azil, Ariege, France, is made. It is now at Musee de la Prehistoire, Le Mas d'Azil.

    18,000 BC—12,000 BC

    Mammoth-bone village in Mezhirich, Ukraine is inhabited.

    17,000 BC

    Spotted human hands, Pech Merle cave, Dordogne, France are painted. Discovered in December 1994.

    17,000 BC—15,000 BC

    Hall of Bulls, Lascaux caves, is painted. Discovered in 1940. Closed to the public in 1963.

    Bird-Headed man with bison and Rhinoceros, Lascaux caves, is painted.

    Lamp with ibex design, from La Mouthe cave, Dordogne, France, is made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.

    16,500 BC

    Paintings in Cosquer cave, where the cave mouth is now under water at Cap Margiou, France were made.

    15,000 BC

    Bison, Le Tuc d'Audoubert, Ariege, France.

    15 000 BC

    15,000 BC-12,000 BC

    Paleo-Indians move across North America, then southward through Central America.

    Pregnant woman and deer (?), from Laugerie-Basse, France was made. It is now at Musee des Antiquites Nationales, St.-Germain-en-Laye.

    14,000 BC

    Paleo-Indians searched for big game near what is now the Hovenweep National Monument.

    Bison, on the ceiling of a cave at Altamira, Spain, is painted. Discovered in 1879. Accepted as authentic in 1902.

    Domestication of Reindeer.[11]

    13,000 BC

    Beginning of the Holocene extinction.

    earliest evidence of warfare

    12 000 BC

    11,500 BC—10,000 BC

    Wooden buildings in South America (Chile), first potteryvessels (Japan).

    11,000 BC

    First evidence of human settlement in Argentina

    The Arlington Springs Man dies on the island of Santa Rosa, off the coast of California.

    Human remains deposited in caves which are now located off the coast of Yucatán.[12]


    The Upper Paleolithic in the Franco-Cantabrian region:

    • The Châtelperronian culture was located around central and south western France, and northern Spain. It appears to be derived from the earlier Mousterian culture, and represents the period of overlap between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. This culture lasted from approximately 33,000 BC to 27,000 BC.
    • The Aurignacian culture was located in Europe and south west Asia, and flourished between 32000 BC and 21,000 BC. It may have been contemporary with the Périgordian (a contested grouping of the earlier Châtelperronian and later Gravettian cultures).
    • The Gravettian culture was located across Europe. Gravettian sites generally date between 26,000 BC to 20,000 BC.
    • The Solutrean culture was located in eastern France, Spain, and England. Solutrean artifacts have been dated to around 19000 BC before mysteriously disappearing around 15,000 BC.
    • The Magdalenian culture left evidence from Portugal to Poland during the period from 16,000 BC to 8000 BC.

    From the Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures:

    central and east Europe:

    north and west Africa, and Sahara

    central, south, and east Africa:

    • 50,000 BC, Fauresmithian culture
    • 30,000 BC, Stillbayan culture
    • 10,000 BC, Lupembian culture
    • 9000 BC, Magosian culture
    • 7000 BC, Wiltonian culture
    • 3000 BC, beginning of hunter-gatherer art in southern Africa

    West Asia (including Middle East):

    south, central and northern Asia:

    • 30,000 BC, Angara culture
    • 9000 BC, Khandivili culture

    east and southeast Asia:

    See also

  • Late Glacial Maximum
  • Neolithic
  • Neolithic Europe
  • Behavioral modernity
  • Cro-Magnon 1
  • Sungir


    Bronze Age begins approx. 3300BC

    — The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloybronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age. The term Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore, the term Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron ore and the term Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material. Their arrangement in the archaeological chronology reflects the difficulty of manufacture in the history of technology.

    Iron Age begins approx. 1300 BC

    — The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles. The Iron Age as an archaeological term indicates the condition as to civilization and culture of a people using iron as the material for their cutting tools and weapons.[1] The Iron Age is the 3rd principal period of the three-age system created by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen for classifying ancient societies and prehistoric stages of progress.[2]

    In historical archaeology, the ancient literature of the Iron Age includes the earliest texts preserved in manuscript tradition. Sanskrit literature and Chinese literature flourished in the Age. Other text includes the AvestanGathas, the Indian Vedas and the oldest parts of the Hebrew Bible. The principal feature that distinguishes the Iron Age from the preceding ages is the introduction of alphabetic characters, and the consequent development of written language which enabled literature and historic record.[1]

    The beginning of the Iron Age in Europe and adjacent areas is characterized by certain forms of implements, weapons, personal ornaments, and pottery, and also by systems of decorative design, which are altogether different from those of the preceding age of bronze.[1] The work of blacksmiths[3]—developing implements and weapons—is hammered into shape, and, as a consequence, gradually departed from the stereotyped forms of their predecessors in bronze, which were cast, and the system of decoration, which in the Bronze Age consisted chiefly of a repetition of rectilinear patterns, gave way to a system of curvilinear and flowing designs.[clarification needed][1] The term "Iron Age" has low chronological value, because it didn't begin simultaneously across the entire world.[4] The dates and context vary depending on the region, and the sequence of ages is not necessarily true for every part of the earth's surface. There are areas, such as the islands of the South Pacific, the interior of Africa, and parts of North and South America, where peoples have passed directly from the use of stone to the use of iron without the intervention of an age of bronze.[1]






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