Abenteuer Menschheit
(Settlers of the Stone Age)

News on Prehistoric Humans:

Timeline of Human Evolution
WhenEvent (M = Million Years Before Present (BP))
10-5MBi-pedalism begins as global climate becomes drier, forests shrink, grasslands expand and primates move out of trees and onto the ground. Permits walking and running, frees hands for carrying, possibly reduces heatstroke.
7-5MPredecessors of Australopith in East Africa.
6.5-5MGlobal temperature decline. Mediterranean nearly empties. Forests contract.
3.5-2.5MMultiple bi-pedal species appear.
2.5MFirst flaked tools permit eating animal flesh and marrow.
2MAustralopith in South Africa.
1.7MStone axes.
From this point, at least 17 glaciations to 700K.
First departure from Africa.
1MAustralopith goes extinct, either due to competition with modern humans or a decline in rainfall.
Different physical types existing on different continents.
1.65MFirst appearance of cleavers, i.e. axes that are sharp all the way around..
1.5MHomo ergaster using cleavers, lanky bodies, more forward projecting nose and lack of body hair is first to colonize arid regions.
1MHomo ergaster has spread to the northern and southern margins of Africa. Sahara is occasionally more moist than today.
K = Thousand Years BP
900-800KPossible first attempt at colonization in Europe.
800KEarliest found European human habitation.
800-600KHeavy glaciation in Europe.
Signs that nutritional stress sometimes led to cannibalism.
800-750KHomo erectus arrives in China.
700KStart of 8 Glaciations continuing to present.
690-550KLast common ancestor between Neanderthals and modern humans.
600KLarger brain, better axes/cleavers and tools.
Possible major advance in language.
500KDNA study indicates this is the approximate point of divergence of Neanderthals and modern humans. New technology makes possible first permanent colonists in Europe as Neanderthals begin to evolve there.
400-360KNeanderthals use thrusting spears in Germany to kill horses.
250Modern humans and Neanderthals diverge.
Fire invented (but possible evidence for 1.5M BP, see above).
200K"Eve", ancestor of all humans on earth today, is born.
200-50K"Adam", ancestor of all humans on earth today, is born.
130-50KPopulations in Africa and Europe very sparse.
120-60KAridity forces humans in southern Africa to abandon region.
100KModern man in Africa, probably beginning in East Africa as the climate had been favorable for 130K and it shows the earliest evidence. Begins to arrive in the Middle East.
75KStart of more or less continuous ice age to 9.3K. Humans in Middle East disappear and are replaced by Neanderthals, perhaps because the latter are better adapted for cold weather?
73.5KMt. Toba erupts in Sumatra. Worldwide intense cold for 1K.
60K Southern Africa very arid.
First indication of possible use of boats.
50KLate Stone Age.
Start of cultural evolution.
Possible beginning of fully modern language.
Some African ancestors of modern humans begin migration from Africa to Eurasia and start to replace Neanderthals.
Use of beads made from ostrich shells as reciprocity gifts.
Ostrich eggshell canteens permitted movement away from rivers.
Wide variety of new tools appear.
Fishing with grooved stones for weighting hooks and lines and bone splinters as baited hooks.
Throwing spears mean hunting of large animals is safer and requires fewer calories.
"Houses" permit living in colder areas.
Tailored clothing appears.
Improved fireplaces.
Indonesia inhabited by homo erectus.
45-43KLate Stone Age reaches Western Asia.
40-38KLate Stone Age reaches Eastern Europe.
40KModern humans arrive in Europe and replace Neanderthals very quickly.
Last Neanderthals appear to borrow modern human technology.
Last Neanderthals appear to live in southern Iberia or perhaps it was just that its aridity meant no one was living there.
Neanderthals never penetrate Africa.
38-37KLate Stone Age reaches Central and Western Europe.
37-36KJewelry appears in Europe.
30KAll people are modern humans.
25KLate Stone Age reaches Central Siberia.
20KUse of bow and arrow enchances hunting birds and larger animals.
18KGlacial maximum. Sea levels drop 130 meters and there are extensive tropical deserts.
14KEnd of the Last Glaciation.
Late Stone Age reaches northeast corner of Siberia.
14-12KHumans cross to America.
13.5KShort warming and new cold period.
11.5KHumans filter through the Americas.
11KYounger Dryas period lasts 1300 years. It is colder and drier which makes wild cereals and other food plants scarcer. The human reaction is to start seeding as well as to domesticate sheep, goats, cattle and pigs. This prompts changes in social and economic relations. Population density increases.
9.3KClimate improves.
9KSplinter groups bring agriculture from Spain to Pakistan. Steve Olson (see below) feels that agriculture started spontaneously in many multiple places. My own feeling is that the technology was passed from group to group, but it happened very quickly because all of the groups were so advanced that they were extremely ready to adapt the practice very quickly.
8KStarting point of the game Civilization.

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