Old Stone Age

The Paleolithic ...

The Old Stone Age or that Paleolithic describes the earliest phase of prehistory and human evolution and began about 2.6 million years before Christ's birth. Scientists define the beginning of the Paleolithic Age, which also marks the first phase of the Stone Age, through the ability of man to use stones as tools for different purposes. In Europe, the Paleolithic is in three phases, namely those of the Lower Palaeolithic, of Middle Paleolithic and of Upper Palaeolithic divided. In Africa, where people from the Stone Age gradually migrated to other regions, scientists differentiate between the Early Stone Age and the New Stone Age. These terms, which are commonly used today on an international level and whose time limits differ from those of the European division, were coined by the English anthropologist John Lubbock. Lubbock referred to the way in which stones were processed, which were brought into the desired shape in the Early Stone Age only by hitting, in the New Stone Age by grinding.

The evolution of man in the Paleolithic:

The Paleolithic period describes the longest period of the Stone Age and is characterized by the discovery of the stone as a tool and by that of the fire. The first ancestor of humans who deliberately used tools made of beaten stones was probably Homo rudolfensis. His name refers to the Rudolfsee, today Lake Turkana in East Africa, near which scientists made finds of his bones. He already inhabited Africa two and a half million years ago, had monkey-like facial features, but with shorter arms and long legs already had human body proportions and reached a height of no more than one and a half meters. The tools that Homo Rudolfensis used were the so-called chopperwho had a cutting edge knocked off and allowed humans to cut animal bones to expose the bone marrow trapped within. The sharp-edged choppers could also be used deliberately to cut the coat of the killed animals.
As a possible ancestor of Homo erectus also Homo habilis, the second early species of the genus Homo occurred in Africa in the ancient Palaeolithic about 2.3 million years ago and lived long time at the same time as Homo rudolfensis. Its name comes from Latin and can be translated as "skilled man". Skeletal finds from Tanzania suggest that Homo habilis already possessed a pronounced grip ability and was therefore able to process stones specifically for the production of hand axes. With the Neanderthal man, probably around 135,000 years before the birth of Christ, probably the closest relative of Homo sapiens, who was adapted by his ability to not only use fire, but also to make himself, was adapted to more severe weather conditions.
The appearance of Homo sapiens, the only surviving species of hominid (next to chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan), also dates back to the Palaeolithic period. The brain volume of Homo sapiens is about three times that of the early species of the genus Homo.

Diet of man in the Paleolithic:

Since the people of the ancient Palaeolithic lived as "primitive" nomadic hunters and gatherers, scientists long suspected that they must have led a very depriving rich life. However, skeletal evidence shows that early humans were much healthier than the sedentary people of the late Stone Age. Since they were constantly on migrations, their food spectrum was much wider (stone age nutrition). In addition to collecting berries, fruits, mushrooms, legumes, wild cereals, seeds and nuts, the hunting of big game was important. For a long time scientists assumed that the men were primarily responsible for hunting, whereas the women were responsible for gathering vegetable food. Today, however, it is believed that women often participate in the hunt. While the hunters were excellent trackers among the Paleolithic people and had a great deal of knowledge about the behavior of their prey animals, the collectors knew exactly which plants were edible and which were poisonous. Both tasks were therefore associated with highly specialized skills and equally significant for the group.

Accommodation and way of life:

As humans followed the ever-wandering herds of animals, they lived exclusively nomadic in the Paleolithic Age and only temporarily resided in mobile dwellings. These were usually made in the form of tents made of animal skins and plant material to protect against attacks, cold and darkness. While the early hominids could only use existing fires, the Neanderthals gained the ability to make them themselves by chopping stones and ores (flintstone). As a result, he was able to travel to more northern regions and protect himself from the cold. With climate change, which led to a temperature drop of ten to fifteen degrees, people increasingly moved into caves and grottos where they lived in clans. The Neanderthals are known to have buried their dead in their own tombs, to care for the sick and injured within their clan, and to sew warm clothing from animal skins.
Around 60,000 BC, people began to make stone tools and weapons in addition to stone to develop better hunting techniques. In order to kill mammoths, they used wood lances and bows and arrows in the Middle Palaeolithic. In addition, with permanent residence in caves and caves, people began to express their experiences in artistic form. In addition to the everyday utensils, the cave walls were painted with natural and hunting scenes. The world's oldest paintings were found in the El Castillo Cave in Spain and the Chauvet Cave in southern France and each comprise several hundred depictions of animals and different symbols. Whether the paintings were made for religious motives or served only the treatment of everyday experiences, is still not clear. In order to be able to occupy themselves artistically in the darkness, people used vessels filled with animal fat as light sources, which were provided with a wick like candles. From this time also finds of chains, which were made of animal teeth, processed ivory and shells come. Archaeologists were able to prove that the Cro-Magnon man in the Upper Palaeolithic already made music, carved from bird bones and ivory musical instruments such as flutes and masks made.