Paleolithic Age Facts
The Paleolithic Age refers to a time period in history, from approximately 2.6 million years ago to roughly 10,000 years ago. The Paleolithic Age covers the period from when stone tools were first used by man to the beginning of the Mesolithic Age. The Paleolithic Age is divided into three divisions, including the Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic periods. During the Paleolithic Age man evolved from his former apelike existence to become a human. During this period many human cultures emerged, and community living became a way of life. During this time man began to use fire for cooking, develop early religions, and create art as can be seen in cave paintings dating back to this time.
The Paleolithic Age is also known as the Old Stone Age. In 1865 an archeologist John Lubbock created the term ‘Paleolithic’. It is derived from Greek words ‘palaios’ meaning ‘old’, ‘lithos’ meaning ‘stone’. Together these words were meant to represent ‘Old Stone Age’. During the Paleolithic Age man hunted and gathered for food. This meant that diet was varied. Food could include meat from animals, fish, fruit, wild vegetables, insects, nuts, and legumes.
The Paleolithic Age man did not experience the same famine and malnutrition as later man because they ate a wide variety of food. Later man relied on crops, which were less diverse not as nutritionally adequate for the human body.
During the Paleolithic Age man began to develop spiritual and religious beliefs. This is evident in images in their cave art, burial sites, and human and animal bone discoveries that suggest rituals. Patterns and designs found on Paleolithic Age bones and tools, as well as on cave walls and other items, as well as jewelry made from stones and beads, is evidence of the art forms developed during this time period.
Some believe that division of labor was flexible between men and women while others believe that men were hunters and women were gatherers. Others believe that roles were even reversed in some cultures.
During the Paleolithic Age tools were developed that made it easier for man to survive. These tools included hand axes, stone-tipped spears, harpoons, and bow and arrows.Animals such as dogs are believed to have been first domesticated during the Paleolithic Age. The use of calendars during the Upper Paleolithic Age made it possible for man to track migration of animals for hunting purposes. This also made it possible for man to know what animals would be available and when.
Paleolithic Age had no shelters but lived in groups to provide protection from the animals. It is estimated that there were only about one million people living during the Paleolithic Age. They were spread out and not contained in cities as they moved to ensure availability of food. The Paleolithic Age ended when the last ice age ended and the earth warmed up.