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1.5: Summary

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    The story of world civilizations really begins six to eight million years ago when ancestors of modern humans began to walk upright. Millions of years of evolutionary response to changing climates and environment led to the existence of our species, Homo sapiens. While other hominids migrated out of Africa, had language, and made fire and tools, it was Homo sapiens who were able to navigate open oceans and eventually populate the entire planet. Over the last 50,000 years or so, Homo sapiens became modern humans by improving their hunting, their building techniques, their community living, and their food gathering and storage. About 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic Era began. Humans began to live in larger, permanent settlements where a permanent food source needed to be nearby. These were the beginnings of agriculture. This “agricultural revolution” deeply affected gender relationships, class distinctions, and economic priorities as most humans left their foraging days behind them, the importance of which will be discussed in later chapters.

    Key Terms

    • Abu Hureya
    • Beringia
    • Çatalhüyük
    • Dolni Vetoniçe
    • Holocene
    • Homo erectus
    • Homo habilis
    • Homo sapiens
    • Ice Age
    • Jericho
    • Natufians
    • Neanderthals
    • Neolithic
    • Oldowan Industry
    • Paleolithic
    • Pleistocene

    Works Consulted and Further Reading

    Bradley, Bruce and Dennis Stanford. “A Possible Paleolithic Route to the New World.” World Archaelolgy 36 no. 4 (Dec., 2004): 459-478.

    Dillehay TD, Ocampo C, Saavedra J, Sawakuchi AO, Vega RM, Pino M, et al. (2015) “New Archaeological Evidence for an Early Human Presence at Monte Verde, Chile.” PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141923. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0141923

    Estalarrich, Almudena and Antinio Rosas. “Division of Labor by Sex and Age in Neandertals: An Approach Through the Study of Activity-Related Dental Wear.” Journal of Human Evolution 80 (March 2015): 51-63.

    Fawcett, Percy. Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z. New York: The Overlook Press, 2010.

    Gamble, Clive. Timewalkers: Prehistory of Global Colonization. Bath, Avon: The Bath Press, 1993.

    Grann, David. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. New York: Vintage Books, 2010.

    Mithen, Steven. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5,000 BC. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003.

    Ristvet, Lauren. In the Beginning: World History from Human Evolution to the First States. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007

    Scarre, Chris, ed. The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of Human Societies. 2nd ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009.

    Smithsonian Institution, Human Origins Initiative. species/homo-habilis

    Sutton, J.E.G. “Archeology and Reconstructing History in the Kenya Highlands: The Intellectual Legacies of G.W.B. Huntingford and Louis S.B. Leakey.” History in Africa 34 (2007), pp. 297-320

    Strayer, Robert. Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources, 2nd. Ed. New York, Bedford St. Martins, 2013.

    Wayland Barber, Elizabeth. Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years – Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times. New York: Norton, 1995.

    Links to Primary Sources

    Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

    Oldowan & Acheulean Stone Tools

    Dolni Vetoniçe

    Natufian site of Eyan/Ain Mallaha


    1.5: Summary is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Eugene Bergers.

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