Ancient History/Human Evolution

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Introduction- Ancient Peoples

An ancient cave painting of a bird, discovered in modern-day Brazil. Cave paintings have been found in many places around the world, including France, Spain, the Americas, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.

Where did humans come from? The prominent theory is that humans evolved from primates over millions of years, but then what? How exactly did the human race come into being from evolution to prehistory? This question has been pondered by many archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians alike. Today there are two main theories to answer this question: the Recent African Origin theory and the Multi-regional Origin theory. We will discuss both of these theories, but first we should discuss some of the tools and techniques scientists can use to research these theories.

For a more detailed discussion of evolution and ancient peoples, be sure to read Introduction to Paleoanthropology.

Prehistory is divided into a three-age system, based on advancements in tool technology. The first of the three ages is the stone age, divided into the Paleolithic age (old stone age), the Mesolithic age (middle stone age), and the Neolithic age (new stone age). The stone age was followed by the bronze age, where tools were no longer made from stone but from copper and bronze. The last of the three ages was the iron age, when metallurgy developed. This section examines the development of humanity as a whole throughout prehistory. More specific cultural information can be found in later chapters.

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Section 1- Human Origins

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Section 2- The Recent African Origin Theory

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Section 3- The Multiregional Origin Theory

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Section 4- The Paleolithic Age

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Section 5- The Neolithic Age

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