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Earliest Human Societies
Transcript of Earliest Human Societies
The first humans were hunters and gathers that lived the nomadic life, following the animals they hunted.
After the Ice Age, animals moved north and humans followed.
Most early humans lived in tents.
Some historians believe humans developed language to communicate while hunting.
Developing language let early humans create relationships and resolve issues about distributing resources.
The Paleolithic Period (Stone Age) started 2.5 million years ago and lasted until 12,000 BCE.
Humans developed simple tools made of stone, clay, and wood.
Wooden sticks were used to dig roots and tubers, spears to hunt animals, and stone axes to cut down trees.
Early humans came together to form small nomadic and tribal communities.
There was no government, they just chose strong leaders.
These communities were formed for protection and for easier and safer hunting.
Fire was very important to early humans.
It allowed people to cook and heat their shelters.
Cave paintings was an early art form that tells modern anthropologists what life was like for the earliest humans.
Early humans developed in Africa, then moved to SE Asia, China, Japan, and Europe
Eventually they migrated to every continent except Antarctica
40,000 years ago, the sea level was 100m lower than it is today.
People crossed a land bridge from SE Asia to Australia, and from NE Asia to the Americas.
Earliest Human Communities
The earliest modern humans (homo sapiens) appeared in Africa in about 200,000 BCE
They were hunters and gatherers
The first fossil evidence of human ancestors comes from Ethiopia over 7 million years ago
Agriculture first developed in the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age) --> 8000 BCE.
It developed independently in different areas of the world at different times.
First example of agriculture found in the Middle East (The Fertile Crescent)
Deliberately planted crops like wheat and barley
Hunter/gatherer society started changing to agricultural society
Domestication was important to early agricultural societies.
Through trial and error, humans learned the best types of crops to grow, and then would only plant those.
Domestication allowed people to breed animals instead of hunt them.
Selective breeding: breeding animals with favorable traits.
stronger, produce more meat or milk, tamer
First domesticated animals were goats and sheep
Agriculture led to the development of the plow and the sickle.
Plow was used to break up soil.
Sickle was used to cut crops while harvesting.
As societies developed, humans began using metal for tools.
Slash and burn was a technique used to clear fields for agriculture.
It was also used by hunter/gatherers to change landscapes to encourage useful plants to grow.
Agriculture led to the development of permanent settlements.
People no longer needed to move to hunt food.
People began building permanent buildings and structured communities.
People began to feel they belonged to a certain location.
Territories began to have definite boundaries.
The earliest agricultural city was Catal Huyuk, in modern-day Turkey (Middle East).
Population of city may have been as high as 10,000.
A channel was cut from a nearby river to irrigate farmland.
A major problem for early societies was diseases humans could catch from animals.
Over time, humans became immune to diseases pass from domesticated animals.
This map shows many of the first ancient civilizations.
Most developed near a major source of water.
Rivers and lakes provided water for crops, irrigation, and later, transportation.
Division of labor evolved, allowing workers to specialize in different tasks.
Improved farming led to food surpluses, so fewer farmers were needed.
People started creating pottery or tools, became religious leaders, or worked for developing governments.
Surpluses also allowed for the development of standing armies.
Ancient Egypt was known as the "Gift of the Nile."
Most of Egypt is a dry desert, but people thrived because they lived near the Nile River.
The river flooded every year to make the ground fertile so people could grow crops.
The river was also used for irrigation.
This shows the importance of early civilizations evolving near major bodies of water.