Humans arose from earlier hominids and developed distinctive characteristics such as large brains, long infancy, tool use, and control of fire. Our species, Homo Sapiens, first appeared about 200,000 years ago. The Upper Paleolithic period (40,000-10,000 years ago) is the first time human cultures became distinct from one another in their art and tools. During the Neolithic period (10,000-5,000 years ago), humans first domesticated plants and animals. The first civilizations around 5,000 years ago marked the origin of writing, specialized work, and centralized.