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Early humans


The time before writing

Radiocarbon Dating

A method of dating once living things through radioactive carbon, because scientists know the the rate of carbon decay.


Human beings and the human-like creatures that preceded them

Ice age

A time when earth experienced long ages of cold climate

Paleolithic Age

The first part of the stone age, beginning 2.5 million years ago with the first toolmaking by homo habilis

Mesolithic Age

The middle of the stone age, dating 12,000 BC to 8000 BC

Neolithic Age

The New Stone Age, lasting from 8000 BC to 5000 BC


People who move constantly in search of food


someone who collects things that have been discarded by others


a member of a nomadic group whose food supply depends on hunting animals and collecting plant foods.


The first prehuman hominids, 4.4 million years old, found in Southern Africa. No evidence that they ever used tools.

Homo Habilis

Lived 2.5 - 1.5 million years ago, and were first to use tools. Had larger brains then Australopithecus and were more physically and mentally advanced. Lived in Africa.

Homo Erectus

Lived 1.8 million - 30,000 years ago. Mostly scavengers and first to make fire and clothing. Originally lived in Africa but some migrated to Europe and Asia.


The first homo sapiens, lived 200,000 to 29,000 years ago. Mostly nomadic hunter-gatherers, had more sophisticated tools, and were culturally advanced.


Earliest Homo Sapiens Sapiens - aka humans, hunter-gatherers. Had first cave paintings in Lascaux cave

Homo Sapiens Sapiens

Modern humans, originated in Africa 50,000 years ago

Homo Floresiensis

A species of human, 3 feet tall, found on a remote Indonesian Island. Lived 13,000 years ago. They had small brains but sophisticated tools and were intelligent.

Single Species Hypothesis

A belief that only one hominid species could live at a time, now known to be false.

Species longevity

The persistence of species for long periods of time

Symbolic thought

ability to represent and think about external objects and events in one's mind

Instrumental meaning

When calls act as stimuli to trigger desired responses from others about what is happening in the present


A gene effecting speech, Only non-fossilizable indicator of speech

Click Languages

Possibly the first spoken language, over 30 different click languages in Africa.

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