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Western Civilization I - Europe to 1700
Early Humans and the Neolithic Revolution

This recorded lecture focuses on certain points discussed in this section that have arisen ambiguity, conflicting opinions, or extensive discussion among the historians.
(coming soon) for 30 min.

Section Outline
  • The Human Race (3.5 m.y.a-300.000 B.C.)
  • The Paleolithic (Old Stone) Age (3000.000-7000 B.C.)
  • The Neolithic (New Stone) Age (7000-3100 B.C.)
  • The Primitive Society

    m.y.a. stands for million years ago.
    B.C. (sometimes abbreviated as BC) stands for "Before Christ" and is used to date events before the birth of Jesus.
    A.D. or AD is the abbreviation for the Latin phrase "anno Domini" (in the year of our Lord) and is used for dates after Jesus's birth.

    This system of dating has been used for years by historians and archaeologists. Recently, though, two new terms are also in use: B.C.E. which stands for "Before the Common Era" and C.E. used for "Common Era." They are exactly the same as B.C. and A.D. but can be used to date both Christian and non Christian cultures and civilizations. In this course we use B.C. and A.D. as a convenient and widely known dating system.

    Reading/Study Material
  • Prehistory.
  • The Neolithic Age. Read the introduction only.
  • Human Prehistory: An Exhibition
  • Study the Migration Patterns of Early Humans. map and then print this blank World Map. Draw on the blank map some of the main lines marked in blue in the Migration Patterns of Early Humans above to show the "out of Africa" pattern.
  • Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter IV, Natural Selection. Paragraph three only, which begins with "We shall best understand the probable course of natural selection..."
  • Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter IV, Illustrations of the action of natural selection, or the survival of the fittest. Read the first four paragraphs of this section.
  • Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, Chapter II. Using the search function of your browser, search for and read the paragraph beginning with "Man in the rudest state" and a few paragraphs down the one beginning with "If it be an advantage to man to stand firmly". Although only two paragraphs of reading are required, you may wish to read the rest of the chapter after our second selection. Review Questions
  • List the basic "Ages" of human evolution.
  • What were the main routes of the human race when they left Africa?
  • What are the main differences between the Old Stone (Paleolithic) and the New Stone (Neolithic) Age?
  • What is natural selection?
  • How does natural selection affect the animals?
  • What is the "survival of the fittest"?
  • What distinguishes humans from other species according to Darwin?
  • How does the evolutionary theory apply to humans according to Darwin? Test Yourself Questions
  • Describe in a couple of paragraphs Darwin's theory of human evolution.
  • Describe in a short essay changes in human life from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic Age. Complementary Material
  • Charles Lyell
  • Charles Darwin
  • Human Evolution
  • Homo
  • Homo habilis
  • Homo erectus
  • Neanderthal
  • Cro-Magnon
  • Archaic Homo sapiens
  • Homo sapiens sapiens (Modern Human) Further Reading
  • Tattersall,Ian et al., Eds. Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. 2nd ed. New York: 2000. An encyclopedic work on human evolution and prehistory updated with the latest solid developments in the field.
  • Hublin, Jean-Jacques. "The Quest for Adam." Archaeology 52 (July/August 1999): 26-35. A survey of the latest theories on human evolution. Abstract. Chronology
    Early Humans and The Neolithic Revolution
    Emergence of the human race3.5 m.y.a - 300.000 B.C.
    Paleolithic (Old Stone) Age3000.000 - 7000 B.C.
    Neolithic (New Stone) Age7000 - 3100 B.C.
    (all dates are approximate)

    Major Rulers of Mesopotamia