The period of time before there was writing.


An early ancestor of humans.


A relative who lived in the past.

Mary Leakey

An archaeologist who found bones in East Africa that were more than 1.5 million years old and believed that the bones belonged to a hominid.


One of the earliest ancestors of humans.

Donald Johanson

Anthropologist who found bones that were 3 million years old and named his find Lucy; she was small and had walked on 2 legs.

Tim White

Anthropologist found remains of a hominid about 4.4 million years old.

Homo habilis

Hominid remains that were believed were more closely related to modern humans than Lucy and had a larger brain, called "Handy Man".

Homo erectus

Hominids who are believed to have walked completely upright like modern people do, called "Upright Man".

Homo sapiens

Hominids that developed characteristics of modern humans, called "Wise Man"'; every person alive today belongs to this group.

Stone Age

Long period of time when the first humans lived; this age was divided into 3 periods based on the kinds of tools used at a time.


Any handheld object that has been modified to help a person accomplish a task.

Paleolithic Era

The first part of the Stone Age; the people used stone tools.


The first tools made which were mostly used to process food; the sharp edge could be used to cutk chop, or scrape roots, bones or meat and the unsharpened side could be used as a handle.


A mineral used to make the hand ax; it is easy to shape and can be very sharp.


An example of a tool made by attaching a wooden handle to the stone point; this allowed hunters to be farther away from animals they were hunting and they could hunt larger animals like deer, horses, bison and mammoths.


People who hunt animals and gather wild plants, seeds, fruits and nuts to survive.


A community of people who share a common culture; these societies developed cultures with languages, religions and art.


The most important development of early Stone Age culture; it made hunting in groups easier, helped form relationships and made it easier to resolve issues liek how to distribute food.


To move

Ice ages

Long periods of freezing weather about 1.6 million years ago; this period ended about 10,000 years ago.

Land bridge

A strip of land connecting two continents.

Land bridge

The strip of land that allowed Stone Age people ot migrate around the world.

Ice age

Period of time when huge sheets of ice covered much of the earth's land, formed from ocean water, leaving ocean levels lower than they are now which exposed dry land that connected the continents.

Ice Age Migration

Humans began to migrate from East Africa to southern Africa and southwestern Asia and from there to Australia and north into Europe. Moving from northern Asia, people crossed a land bridge and reached North America and journeyed south to South America.

Environmental Adaptation

The changes the people had to make to survive in the new lands. For example, while fire kept them warm, they needed more protection, so they learned to sew animals skins to make clothing and learned to build shelters. First shelters were in caves and then built the first human-made shelters called "pit houses" which were in the ground with roofs of branches and leaves. Later, they built homes above ground using animal skins as tents, and then more permanentstructures of wood, stone, clay and even bones from large animals.

Mesolithic Era

The Middle Stone Age in which smaller and more complex tools were made; people found new uses for bone and stone tools such as hooks, fishing spears, and bows and arrows.

Mesolithic Era

Period of time in the Stone Age where new technologies were developed such as learning to make canoes by hollowing out logs which allowed them to travel on rivers and lakes; they began to make pottery, had the first pets; dogs were used for hunting and protection.

Neolithic Era

New Stone Age in which people learned to polish stones to make tools like saws and drills; how to make fire (previously fire was started by lightening).

Neolithic Era

Period of time that ended about 5000 years ago when toolmakers began to make tools out of metal.

Neolithic Revolution

The shift from food gathering to food producing which occurred first in the societies of Southwest Asia.

Neolithic Era

Period of time during which the Ice Age came to an end and new plants began to grow in some areas; wild barley and wheat plants spread and people came to depend on these plants for food.


The process of changing plants or animals to make them more useful to humans


This led to the development (creation) of agriculture, or farming, then people could produce their own food and this changed human society forever.




Hunters didn't have to follow wild herds anymore, so farmers could keep sheep and goats for milk, food and wool, use large animals like cattle to carry loads or to pull large tools used in farming.


Huge stones used as monuments or as the sites for religious gatherings.

Neolithic Revolution

The change in society that greatly increased people's chances of survival. For example, domestication of plants and animals enabled people to use plant fibers to make cloth and made it possible to use wol from goats and sheep and skins from horses for clothes; the people built permanent settlements and as they controlled food production, the population grew from communities to towns.

Neolithic Religion

People believed in gods associated with the 4 elements: air, water, fire and earth or with animals and some prayed to their ancestors.

Earliest Humans

These people began in East Africa and then moved in many directions.

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