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Facts About The Paleolithic Period For Kids


The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered, and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by Hominins such as Australopithecines, 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP.

  • During the Paleolithic, humans grouped together in small societies such as bands, and subsisted by gathering plants and hunting or scavenging wild animals.
  • Surviving artifacts of the Paleolithic era are known as paleoliths.
  • Humankind gradually evolved from early members of the genus Homo such as Homo habilis – who used simple stone tools – into fully behaviorally and anatomically modern humans during the Paleolithic era.
  • Like contemporary hunter-gatherers, Paleolithic humans enjoyed an abundance of leisure time unparalleled in both Neolithic farming societies and modern industrial societies.
  • At the end of the Paleolithic, specifically the Middle and or Upper Paleolithic, humans began to produce works of art such as cave paintings, rock art and jewellery and began to engage in religious behavior such as burial and ritual.
  • Very little fossil evidence is available at known Lower Paleolithic sites in Europe, but it is believed that hominids who inhabited these sites were likewise Homo erectus.
  • Around 500,000 BP, a group of early humans, frequently called Homo heidelbergensis, came to Europe from Africa and eventually evolved into Neanderthals.
  • The most recent Lower Paleolithic (Acheulean) implements completely vanished from the archeological record around 100,000 years ago and were replaced by more complex Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age tool kits such as the Mousterian and the Aterian industries.
  • Thanks to their technology and their advanced social structures, Paleolithic groups such as the Neanderthals who had a Middle Paleolithic level of technology, appear to have hunted large game just as well as Upper Paleolithic modern humans and the Neanderthals in particular may have likewise hunted with projectile weapons.
  • Anthropologists have typically assumed that in Paleolithic societies, women were responsible for gathering wild plants and firewood, and men were responsible for hunting and scavenging dead animals.
  • Early examples of artistic expression, such as the Venus of Tan-Tan and the patterns found on elephant bones from Bilzingsleben in Thuringia, may have been produced by Acheulean tool users such as Homo erectus prior to the start of the Middle Paleolithic period.
  • Upper Paleolithic humans produced works of art such as cave paintings, Venusfigurines, animal carvings and rock paintings.
  • Upper Paleolithic cultures appear to have had significant knowledge about plants and herbs and may have, albeit very rarely, practiced rudimentary forms of horticulture.