Kung San who live similarly to their Paleolithic predecessors. Most known hominin fossils dating earlier than one million years before present are found in this area, particularly in Kenya , Tanzania , and Ethiopia.
Southern Caucasus was occupied by c. By the end of the Lower Paleolithic, members of the hominin family were living in what is now China, western Indonesia, and, in Europe, around the Mediterranean and as far north as England, southern Germany, and Bulgaria.
Their further northward expansion may have been limited by the lack of control of fire: Very little fossil evidence is available at known Lower Paleolithic sites in Europe, but it is believed that hominins who inhabited these sites were likewise Homo erectus. There is no evidence of hominins in America, Australia, or almost anywhere in Oceania during this time period.
Fates of these early colonists, and their relationships to modern humans, are still subject to debate. According to current archaeological and genetic models, there were at least two notable expansion events subsequent to peopling of Eurasia c. In the Middle Paleolithic, Neanderthals were present in the region now occupied by Poland. Both Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis became extinct by the end of the Paleolithic. Descended from Homo Sapiens, the anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens emerged in eastern Africa c.
Multiple hominid groups coexisted for some time in certain locations. Homo neanderthalensis were still found in parts of Eurasia c. DNA studies also suggest an unknown degree of interbreeding between Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens denisova.
For the duration of the Paleolithic, human populations remained low, especially outside the equatorial region. Excavations in Gona, Ethiopia have produced thousands of artifacts, and through radioisotopic dating and magnetostratigraphy , the sites can be firmly dated to 2. Evidence shows these early hominins intentionally selected raw materials with good flaking qualities and chose appropriate sized stones for their needs to produce sharp-edged tools for cutting.
It was completely replaced around , years ago by the more complex Acheulean industry, which was first conceived by Homo ergaster around 1. Although they appear to have used hand axes often, there is disagreement about their use. Interpretations range from cutting and chopping tools, to digging implements, to flaking cores, to the use in traps, and as a purely ritual significance, perhaps in courting behavior.
Calvin has suggested that some hand axes could have served as "killer Frisbees " meant to be thrown at a herd of animals at a waterhole so as to stun one of them. There are no indications of hafting , and some artifacts are far too large for that. Thus, a thrown hand axe would not usually have penetrated deeply enough to cause very serious injuries. Nevertheless, it could have been an effective weapon for defense against predators. Choppers and scrapers were likely used for skinning and butchering scavenged animals and sharp-ended sticks were often obtained for digging up edible roots.
Fire use[ edit ] Fire was used by the Lower Paleolithic hominins Homo erectus and Homo ergaster as early as , to 1. However, this hypothesis is disputed within the anthropological community. In addition to improving tool making methods, the Middle Paleolithic also saw an improvement of the tools themselves that allowed access to a wider variety and amount of food sources.
This was a lunar calendar that was used to document the phases of the moon. Genuine solar calendars did not appear until the Neolithic. Please help this article by looking for better, more reliable sources. Unreliable citations may be challenged or deleted. February Learn how and when to remove this template message Humans may have taken part in long-distance trade between bands for rare commodities and raw materials such as stone needed for making tools as early as , years ago in Middle Paleolithic.
The social organization of the earliest Paleolithic Lower Paleolithic societies remains largely unknown to scientists, though Lower Paleolithic hominins such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus are likely to have had more complex social structures than chimpanzee societies. For most of the Lower Paleolithic, human societies were possibly more hierarchical than their Middle and Upper Paleolithic descendants, and probably were not grouped into bands ,  though during the end of the Lower Paleolithic, the latest populations of the hominin Homo erectus may have begun living in small-scale possibly egalitarian bands similar to both Middle and Upper Paleolithic societies and modern hunter-gatherers.
Bands sometimes joined together into larger "macrobands" for activities such as acquiring mates and celebrations or where resources were abundant. Much evidence exists that humans took part in long-distance trade between bands for rare commodities such as ochre , which was often used for religious purposes such as ritual   and raw materials, as early as , years ago in Middle Paleolithic.