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Chapter 1

MMW 11 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Neolithic, Human Taxonomy, Paleolithic

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 11
Edmond Chang

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Critical Transitions in Early Human Evolution
(A History of World Societies-McKay pg 1-14)
Chapter 1: The Earliest Human Societies (to 2500 B.C.E)
-When does history begin?
oEarly historians’ answer: “when writing begins” = 3200 BCE in Tigris and
Euphrates River Valleys of Mesopotamia (current Iraq)
oModern historians’ answer: formation of the universe
-Africa: the beginning when humans evolved from a primate ancestor
Evolution and Migration
Understanding the Early Human Past
-Individuals in species resemble each other but can become dissimilar over time
-Humans caused many species to become so different
-Before humans, dissimilarity due to natural selection
oMore advanced individuals  more successful breeding  more distinct
individuals in species  new species
-Natural selection is less influential than human action in changes in the biosphere
-Classification of humans: (kingdom, order, family, genus)
oAnimal, Primates, Hominidae, Homo
Primates: hands that can grasp, eyes facing forward, large brains
Hominid family (chimps, gorilla…) 98% DNA similarity = ancestors
-Genetic analysis:
oTests to evaluate bones & body parts
oTest to analyze radioactive isotope of carbon C-14
C-14 in all alive things & breaks down at a known rate
Measure the amount of C-14 left in object = age of object
-Periodization: classification distinguishing time periods rather than creatures
oStone Age (Old Stone Age & Paleolithic & New Stone Age), Bronze Age, Iron
Paleolithic era: people used stone/bone to make tools & foraged
hunting and gathering
Neolithic era (New Stone Age): agriculture + animal domestication
Started around 9000 BCE
-Human species history
oHolocene epoch: last 12,000 years
oPleistocene: started 2.5 million years ago- glaciers + continental ice sheets
Ice Age migration
Hominid Evolution
-Most primates lived in trees but a group of East Africa hominids spent more time on the
oArdipithecus: combo of 2-limbed movement & 4-limbed movement in trees &
canine teeth & less male combat
oAustralopithecus: earliest fully bipedal hominids living in southern/eastern Africa
Left bones in Great Rift Valley (Ethiopia to Tanzania)
Carried and used things – better survival & brain development
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