Big History Unit 6

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Terms in this set (...)

What are the key disciplines in this unit?
Anthropology and archaeology
How long ago were the first humans though to have evolved?
At least 200,000 years ago
What has made us the most powerful species on the planet?
Our talent for preserving and sharing information, passing it from one generation to the next.
What makes humans different from primates?
We might share a lot with our primate cousins, but our bigger brains, our ability to walk upright, and other physical "improvements," are all adaptations that make humans unique.
What is an unique aspect of humans?
You may think you can talk to the animals, but our ability to use language separates us from other species. Without it, we wouldn't have the ability for collective learning, which allows us to dominate the biosphere.
Adaptation
A fundamental ability of living organisms enabling them to change from generation to generation, becoming better suited to their environment.
Anthropology
The scientific study of human culture including beliefs, customs, and archaeological records.
Archaeology
The scientific study of humans and their ancestors by excavation and examination of material remains.
Bipedalism
The ability to walk on two rear legs.
Collective learning
The ability to share, preserve, and build upon ideas over time.
Foraging
Relying on nature for sustenance; hunting and gathering.
Homo sapiens
The scientific name for human beings, a member of the hominine tribe thought to have evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 300,00 years ago.
Migration
Movement of animals from one place to another, often in search of more abundant resources.
Primates
A member of the order of mammals appearing between 60 million and 70 million years ago that is characterized by a relatively large brain, hands with multiple movable fingers, and eyes positioned to enable stereoscopic vision.
What makes humans uniquely powerful?
Our ability to use symbolic language to store and circulate information that would otherwise disappear when individuals die. This allows us to manipulate and react to our environments like no other species on the planet.
What are the Ingredients for this Unit?
Powerful Brains and Precise and versatile symbolic language.
What are the Goldilocks Conditions for this Unit?
Interactions between individuals and between communities, that enable the transfer and storage of information.
What is the New Complexity for this Unit?
A new species, Homo sapiens, that uses collective learning to connect with each other in new ways, adapt to their environment without changing genetically, and pass information from generation to generation.
What is Taxonomy?
A branch of science which seeks to show the relationships between living things.
What does Taxonomy use to classify living things?
Fossils and Genetic Evidence
What does Taxonomy tell us?
It tells us that humans are related to other animals, and we are most closely related to primates.
When did the dinosaurs become extinct?
65 million years ago
What did the extinction of dinosaurs enable?
It enabled mammals (and eventually primates) to assume a larger role on Earth.
When did humans and chimpanzees diverge from a common ancestor?
About 7 million years ago (this is different than saying we descended from apes).
What is a key difference between humans and chimps?
Humans walk on two feet (bipedalism) and chimps typically walk on all four.
When did humans begin to exhibit unique behaviors and show evidence of collective learning?
Sometime between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago.
What did Homo sapiens begin to do?
Move into new environment, make sophisticated tools, and wear clothing; during this time, we also migrated out of Africa.
What makes humans unique in the animal world?
Collective learning :What does Collective learning means for humans?= That unlike other animal species, we are not limited to evolving as a result of genetic changes. Our species also evolves as a result of collective learning.
What other species displays the same degree of creativity or set of behaviors as humans.
None
What does human language gives our species?
A unique ability to communicate about a wide range of complex topics, and it also allows us to preserve and pass on this knowledge.
What is Human culture a product of?
Human culture isn't the product of individual geniuses; rather, our culture has been slowly built over time by millions of people.
What does Collective learning depend on?
The ability to access and share information. Humans are able to pass on their discoveries and innovations because of the power of language.
What gives humans infinite capacity for memory and allows us to work in teams?
Collective learning
What do Archaeologists look for?
Evidence of collective learning, such as evidence of tool-making in early humans.
What era did the earliest humans live in?
The Paleolithic era.
What does the name Paleolithic mean and why was it chosen for this era?
The word root paleo means old, and lithos means stone, so the name literally means old stone age. This name was chosen because stone tools were the first type of tools that early humans used.
Fill in the blank: Humans were _____ during the Paleolithic era, gathering local ____ and ____ or _____ for animals.
Humans were foragers during the Paleolithic era, gathering local plants and hunting or scavenging for animals.
During this time, humans were also what?
Humans were also nomads during this time, moving from place to place over a large area to access these plants and animals.
Fill in the blank: Evidence suggests that early _____ tended to live in small groups of __-__ people and believed in a world inhabited by ______.
Evidence suggests that early humans tended to live in small groups of 15-30 people and believed in a world inhabited by spirits.
How long have humans and their ancestors existed?
For approximately 7 million years
When did humans begin farming?
10,000 years ago, which means that humans have spent most of their time on earth as foragers.
Are there any human societies have maintained the foraging lifestyle into recent times?
Yes, some including the Bushmen of Botswana, the Aborigines of Australia, and the Yanomami of the Brazilian rainforest have maintained the foraging lifestyle. However, pressure from modern agricultural and industrial societies has forced many of these groups to modify their traditional practices.
Anthropologists continue to study what?
Modern Foraging Peoples
What do Anthropologists continue to debate about the foraging people?
Gender roles in foraging societies, the physical and mental health of foragers, and the impact of foragers on their environments.