17 terms

Worlds Together, Worlds Apart Chapter 1: Becoming Human

Key Terms
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adaptation
Ability to alter behavior and to innovate, finding new ways of doing things.
australopithecines
Hominid species that appeared 3 million years ago and, unlike other animals, walked on two legs. Their brain capacity was a little less than one-third of a modern human's or about the size of the brain capacity of today's African apes. Although not humans, they carried the genetic and biological material out of which modern humans would later emerge.
bipedalism
Walking on two legs, thereby freeing hands and arms to carry objects such as weapons and tools; one of several traits that distinguished hominids.
cognitive skills
Skills such as thought, memory, problem-solving, and-ultimately-language. Hominids were able to use these skills and their hands to create new adaptations, like tools, which helped them obtain food and avoid predators.
domestication
Bringing a wild animal or plant under human control.
evolution
Process by which the different species of the world-its plants and animals-made changes in response to their environment that enabled them to survive and increase in numbers.
hominids
Humanlike beings who walked erect and preceded modern humans.
Homo erectus
Species that emerged about 1.5 million years ago and had a large brain and walked truly upright. Homo erectus means "Standing man."
Home habilis
Scientific term for "Skillful man." Toolmaking ability truly mad Homo-habilis the forerunners, though very distant, of modern humans.
Homo sapiens
The first humans; they emerged in a small region of Africa about 200,000 years ago and migrated out of Africa about 100,000 years ago. They had bigger brains and greater dexterity than previous hominid species, whom they eventually eclipsed.
hunting and gathering
Lifestyle in which food is acquired through hunting animals, fishing, and foraging for wild berries, nuts, fruit, and grains, rather than planting crops, vines, or trees. As late as 1500, as much as 15 percent of the world's population still lived by this method.
innovation
Creation of a new method that allowed humans to make better adaptations to their environment such as the making of new tools.
language
System of communication reflecting cognitive abilities. Natural language is generally defined as words arranged in particular sequences to convey meaning and is unique to modern humans.
migration
Long-distance travel for the purpose of resettlement. In the case of early man, the need to move was usually a response to an environmental shift, such as climate change during the Ice Age.
pastoralism
Herding and breeding of sheep and goats or other animals as a primary means of subsistence.
settled agriculture
Application of human labor and tools to a fixed plot of land for more than one growing cycle. It entails the changeover from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to one based on agriculture, which requires staying in one place until the soil has been exhausted.
species
Group of animals or plants possessing one or more distinctive characteristics.
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