Social Studies Origins of Man



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Social Studies

Origins of Man

I STRONGLY suggest you check out this website for your project! Did I say STRONGLY suggest? Good, 'cause I STRONGLY suggest you use this website.

http://earlyhumans.mrdonn.org/index.html

(Free Clip Art http://clipart.mrdonn.org/earlyhumans.html)



  • You will use this resource as the base of your project for Origins of Man. You have learned about the theory of evolution and how all life has evolved over millions of years. Now you will study how evolution has lead to us, homo sapiens.

  • You will follow the instructions for each section.

*If you chose, you may use only this resource to help you complete the assignment. It is fine if you do so, but you cannot achieve a FULLY MEETS or EXCEEDS.

In order to achieve FULLY MEETS or EXCEEDS you must go beyond this resource. You MUST use outside sources and cite them.

Citations - Citations will be made at the end of each section you answer. If you produce a PPT, PowToon or other media choice, you will include slides citing your sources at the end of each section. If you use direct quotes (which I encourage you to do), you will cite that quote with a number in brackets, like this (1). On your slide or at the end of your section, you will put that number in brackets and the source from where you got your quote.

This project may be done individually or in groups of up to 3 (do not ask for more).

Due for presentation: Week of March 7 - 11

(Modified - Do sections 1-4 only.)

Part 1. Introduction

Assignment: Describe and define the terms highlighted in bold.

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you describe and define the terms. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Homo Habilis, Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, these are some of the forms early man took. Some scientists believe that man in some form began about 3 million years ago. Unlike what the movies show, early man did not live at the same time as the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago.

In your study of early man there are going to be many new terms and words for you to learn. Here are three very important vocabulary words to start you out.


  • Hominids is a kind of slang term among scientists. It means mankind and anything that looks and acts like mankind.

  • Fossils are remains of living things (plants, animals, people) that have been turned into stone or have left an impression in the stone. Anything that man has made is not a fossil.

  • Artifacts are remains of things that were made, not remains of living things.

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Part 2. Hunter/Gatherer - Nomads to Farmers

Assignment: Explain the terms: Hunter/Gatherer and Nomad.

Explain why early man had to move around so much.

Explain how early man is believed to have gotten to the Americas.

Explain what farming did for nomads and why.

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Hunter/Gatherer

What is a hunter/gatherer? Hunter/gatherer refers to how a group of people get their food. They find it growing wild or hunt and fish for it. They do not grow any food. Another name for a hunter/gatherer is a nomad.

As early humans left Africa and spread throughout the globe, they found fruits and nuts that were edible. They gathered seeds and roots. They became adept at catching fish. Fishing was done using spears, bow and arrow, nets, and even fish hooks. As time went on, some early humans built canoes and rafts to go out into deeper water to catch larger fish.

They became good hunters. Hunters mostly went after herd beasts such as deer, wooly mammoth, and saber-toothed tigers! They had bows and stone tipped arrows, stone spears, stone knives and axes, and they built snares and pits to catch animals. Over time, early man learned how to smoke and preserve meat to help feed themselves during the long cold winters. During the summer months, they would follow the herds and hunt. During the winter they returned to their winter camps.

It took a long time for man to settle down and learn how to plant and harvest crops. For millions of years, man was a hunter and gatherer.

Nomads to Farmers

Many historians and scientists believe that the earliest people in North America may have traveled here from the continent of Asia many thousands of years ago. At that time, Earth was experiencing an Ice Age. Much of the water that separates the northern parts of Asia and North America would have been frozen at the time. It may have formed an ice bridge that people were able to walk across.

Perhaps they were hunters following their food. Perhaps they were adventurous and wanted to explore. We do not know for sure. Their migration to North America, however, may make them the ancestors of the people we call Native Americans. We do know that the earliest North Americans were nomads.

They traveled from place to place instead of settling in one place. Eventually, these nomads began to establish permanent settlements. They had already learned to gather plants growing in the wild. After a time, they began to learn about agriculture. Agriculture is raising plants and animals for human use. With more reliable sources for food, they didn’t need to move around so much.

As they began to look for more permanent homes, they paid attention to the resources of specific locations. They wanted to live near water sources, such as streams or rivers. This helped ensure that they could water their crops and take care of the water needs of humans and animals. It’s not surprising, then, to discover that most early villages were located very close to water sources. People moved around less often than before.

However, they were still slowly migrating to other areas. Every time a group or tribe moved into a different natural environment they had to adapt to the climate and resources of that area. The clothing they wore, the kind of houses they built and even the kind of food that they ate depended upon the region in which they lived.

Over time, four major cultural regions developed in North America: the Eastern Woodlands, the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and the Desert Southwest.

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Part 3. Upright Man

Assignment: Explain Lucy: why was she special?

Explain the effects of tools, weapons and fire on early man.

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Lucy

About 3 million years ago, along with many other animals, the higher primates, including apes and early man, first appeared.

The differences between apes and man.


  • Human-like hominids stood upright. Apes cannot.

  • Ape hands are made for climbing and clinging. Early man's hands were made for not only using tools, but making tools as well.

Remains of polished bones have been found in South Africa, which may have been the tools of early man.

Very early man probably ate mostly plants, fruit, nuts and roots that they found. Any meat they got was by scavenging after other animals.

Much of what we know about very early man has been learned from a skeleton was found in Africa in 1974. This skeleton was of a young female who was about 20 when she died. Lucy, as the skeleton has been named, was about 4 foot tall and probably weighed about 50 pounds when she died. Her skeleton showed she walked upright and her brain was about the size of an orange. There were no signs on her skeleton to show how she died, so scientists are still puzzling over that and many other questions. The archeologists who found Lucy has gone back to the same area many times looking for further proof that early man lived in this area. It was the discovery of Lucy that has convinced scientists that early man first appeared in Africa.

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Part 4. Early Man, Movement and Fire

Assignment: Explain how fire changed the lives of early man.

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Approximately one million years ago, early humans started to leave Africa and spread to other continents. This happened during one or more of the Ice Ages. with the sea level lowered, early humans were able to cross land bridges between continents. They crossed into these new lands, probably following herds of animals or in search of food.

These early people were not quite like modern day humans. They were a little smaller, and only had about 2/3 the brain that modern man had. Still, the Homo Erectus species was the first to look like ... people, because their teeth and jaws were shaped somewhat like ours are today. You might think this change in appearance happened over time because their discovery of fire allowed them to cook their food. But, according to Anthropologist, Dr. John J. Shea, that's not true at all. Dr. Shea told us: "The reduction of teeth and jaws due to cooking is a popular idea, but not evolutionarily plausible. If you relax selective pressure for massive jaws--say by cooking food--you get greater variability, not reduced robusticity. Jaw reduction probably had something to do with changes in respiration, maybe speech." (In other words, they looked far more like people do today because that's how they looked!)

They were tool users. They had stone axes and knives and were probably the first hunters as well as gatherers.


These early people had fire!


The discovery and use of fire was very important to early man for many reasons.

First, they discovered most animals are afraid of fire. So a campfire gave some protection to the group or tribe.

Second, they could camp in better locations. A fire allowed them to pick where they camped. They no longer had to look for trees to climb into or rocks and cliffs to shelter under.

Third, it kept them warm. This goes with the second reason. They could move into colder climates and hunt the animals that lived there. They could then return to their campfire to warm up.

Fourth, it was a healthier way of life. Cooked food is less likely to carry disease. These people began to cook their food consistently. As a result, it would have been easier for the young and the old to survive.

Fifth, it was a more social grouping. They could now gather in large groups, feeling safer and more secure. This allowed them to exchange stories, and just talk to other people.

There were other reasons that having a fire was an improvement in their lives. Can you think of any?

How do we know so much about Homo Erectus? There have been discoveries of the skeletons of Homo Erectus, most notably the one found near Peking (Beijing) China, which is called the Peking Man. Archeologists have also found tools and weapons from this time period in other places, which gives a better understanding of how they lived and where they lived.

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Part 5. The Stone Age

Assignment: Explain The Stone Age

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Early man did not have sharp claws or strong sharp teeth. He was not larger or stronger than other animals. He could not run like deer or antelope. So how did early man survive?

He had to use the things that animals did not have, reason and invention. Early man invented and created stone and bone weapons and tools. With these tools, early man could kill and trap those animals he needed for food. With stone axes and spears, he could defend against those animals that thought he might be food. Since many of the tools he created were made out of stone, this is called the Stone Age.

The Stone Age is considered to have begun about two million years ago, and ended sometime after the end of the last ice age about ten thousand years ago.

During the Stone Age, Homo Habilis appeared. These early people were mostly vegetarian, eating fruits, nuts, berries and occasionally fish and animals they hunted. They were not great hunters due to the crude construction of their spears and axes, but they did get the job done. Early man used the tools he created to hunt in groups for large animals such as wooly mammoths and wooly rhinoceros.

Some scientists believe that Homo Habilis did not know how to start a fire. Homo Habilis did use fire and made campfires, but these were probably started by finding something that was already burning from a lightning strike.

Campfires were very useful to Homo Habilis since fire keeps most animals away, so a campfire would be watched carefully to keep it going. Some people have called Homo Habilis cave men. This is probably not true. Since they had to move constantly to find food to eat, they could not settle down in one place. Caves are also home to some very mean predators such as bears and lions so Homo Habilis probably avoided caves.

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Part 6. From Trees to Huts

Assignment: Explain the progression from trees to huts.

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

TREES & SHELTERS: Very early humans learned to stay away from caves as shelters. Caves were often already occupied by dangerous animals. Instead, they looked for trees to climb into, or rocks and cliffs to shelter under. The discovery of fire had a huge effect on early humans. A fire allowed them to pick where they camped. Animals were afraid of fire. And fire could be used to drive animals out of caves.

CAVES: From remains found, scientists have discovered that Neanderthals lived in caves and had fires in which they cooked their food. Neanderthals preferred caves as sleeping places and temporary homes. They were good hunters. They removed any dangerous animals, and then moved in. Neanderthals, like other early people, were hunters and gatherers. They did not plant crops. They gathered food and followed the herds.

HUTS: Some early humans, like Cro-Magnon Man, had two homes, one they brought with them, and one they left behind them in a more permanent location. These early people were hunters and gatherers. In the summer months, while following the herds, these early people lived in easy to pack and set up tents or teepees. The summer tents were set up by either stringing them between two trees, or by covering some sticks tied together with the tanned hides of animals. During the winter months, they lived in larger more permanent type huts. The winter huts were usually in a permanent location and were built much sturdier. They would be roomy enough for a family to stay in. They were also made from tanned hides that had been sewn together and wrapped around logs which had been placed into holes that they dug. They had an opening in the top to let out smoke, and were weighted at the bottom with rocks or dirt to keep them anchored during storms.

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Part 7. Neanderthal Man

Assignment: Tell us about Neanderthal Man

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Homo sapiens is different from Homo Erectus. The skull of Homo Sapiens is larger with a more pronounced forehead allowing the brain to be much larger.

Like Homo Erectus, Homo Sapiens was a hunter/gatherer, meaning that they gathered up much of their food from available vegetation and they did some hunting and fishing to eke out their diet. To do this they created stone and bone tools, needles and fish hooks. They tanned animal skins to make clothing and boots.

One of the earliest discoveries of early man was found under the ground of a Tal, or small hill, near the village of Neander. Thus we get the Neanderthal man or Homo Neanderthalensis. You might also see it spelled as Neanderthal. either spelling is correct and each is used in noted archeology. The skeleton discovered was of a male. Archaeologists first thought that Neanderthal was the link between ape and man since the skeleton showed a being that walked with bent knees, a thick neck and head stuck out forward much like an ape.

As scientific techniques improved, it was found that Neanderthal was actually an old man who had disfiguring arthritis, which caused him to be bent into the shape he was.

Later discoveries showed that Neanderthal man was actually taller than modern humans with a larger skull (and larger brain), and very strong (thick bones). From remains found, scientists have discovered that they lived in caves and had fires in which they cooked their food. They were good hunters.

Another interesting fact about Neanderthal is that they buried their dead. They also had some sort of ceremony because they painted the bodies of the dead.

Neanderthals disappeared around 30,000 BCE. We don't know if they were killed off by another branch of Homo Sapiens or if they intermingled with other groups and gradually merged with them. But disappear they did.

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Part 8. Cro-Magnon Man

Assignment: Tell us about Cro-Magnon Man

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Early man left Africa and spread throughout the globe. They developed into good hunters, and quickly found those fruits and nuts and other plants that were edible. Cro-Magnon had plenty of food and shelter, and from what we can tell many of them lived long lives.

Their diet was pretty varied. They ate the fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and roots that they could gather, as well as the animals they could hunt. They also became adept at catching fish.

Fishing was done using spears, bow and arrow, nets, and even fish hooks. Some built canoes and rafts to go out into deeper water to catch larger fish.

Hunters mostly went after herd beasts such as deer. However, Cro-Magnon was a good hunter and would take any animal they could get including mammoths and saber tooth Tigers. They had bows and stone tipped arrows, stone spears, stone knives and axes, and they built snares and pits to catch animals. They learned how to smoke and preserve meat to help feed themselves during the long cold winters. During the summer months, they would follow the herds and hunt. During the winter they returned to their winter camps.

Cro-Magnon built two different types of houses. During the summer month, while following the herds, they lived in easy to pack and set up tents or teepees. During the winter months, they lived in larger more permanent type huts.

The summer tents were easily set up by either stringing them between two trees, or by covering some sticks tied to together teepee style with the tanned hides of animals.

The winter huts were usually in a permanent location and were built much sturdier. They would be roomy enough for a family to stay in. They were also made from tanned hides that had been sewn together and wrapped around logs which had been placed into holes that they dug. They had an opening in the top to let out smoke, and were weighted at the bottom with rocks or dirt to keep them anchored during storms.

In the winter months and in areas with a colder climate, Cro-Magnon man learned to make clothing from the skins of animals. In summer months and warmer climates, clothing consisted of woven grass or bark. Cro-Magnon wore jewelry made from shells, bone, and animal teeth. Sometimes Cro-Magnon would dye their bodies or even tattoo themselves.

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Bonus Section on next page

Bonus Section: Homo Sapien Sapien

Assignment: Explain differences between Homo Sapien Sapiens (us), and other animals/creatures. What makes us unique?

Extension: Go beyond this resource to help you. You must include the source (citation) from where you got your information. Put it in your own words, and use quotation marks when you quote a source.

Taken from: http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/ho/Homo_sapiens

Homo sapiens compared to other species

Humans often consider themselves to be the "dominant" species on Earth, and the most advanced in intelligence and ability to manage their environment. This belief is especially strong in Western culture, and is based in part in the Biblical Creation story in which Adam is explicitly given dominion over the Earth and all of its creatures.

Biologists and scientists in general, though, do not consider "dominant" to be a useful term, because the adaptive value of any trait or complex of traits depends on the niche and is highly mutable. From a scientific standpoint, Homo sapiens certainly is among the most generalized species on Earth. Smaller and simpler animals such as bacteria and insects greatly surpass humans in population size and diversity of species, but few single species occupy as many diverse environments as humans. Many other species, for example, are adapted to specific environments, whereas humans rely on tools such as clothing and manufactured shelter, which are themselves often produced and used through complex social interactions.

The use of tools and the ability to alter their environment (building shelter, weaving fabrics for clothing, language, and the development of complex social relationships and structures, etc.) has been cited as a characteristic which distinguishes humans from other animals. This difference, however, is not absolute, as ethologists have recorded such behaviors in many species. Apes and even birds, for example, are known to "fish" for insects using blades of grass or twigs, and even to shape the tools for that purpose. No other animal uses tools to the same degree or with the same flexibility as Homo sapiens. Similarly, other animals often have simple methods of communication, but the degree to which humans create and use complex grammar and abstract concepts in language has not been seen in any other species, despite much effort to find it.



Chomskian linguistics holds that a distinguishing feature of humans is that we are the only extant species with a language instinct - a genetic predisposition that produces a brain mechanism whose function is to acquire a language by observing those around us.

Some anthropologists think that these readily observable characteristics (toolmaking and language) are based on a less easily observable mental process that might be unique among humans: the ability to think symbolically. That is, humans can think abstractly about concepts and ideas. They can question, use logic, understand mathematical concepts, and so on in ways that no other animals are known to do, although several species have demonstrated some ability in this area. Nor have other animals demonstrated any remotely comparable ability to plan their actions. This belief is why the species was named Homo sapiens, sometimes translated as "Man the Thinker". Note, however, that the extinct species of the Homo genus (e.g. Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus) were also adept tool users and there is some evidence that they may have had linguistic skills. Moreover, there are many other animals alive today which use tools, so the idea that making and using tools is often considered outdated.



While humans have all these characteristics, from the biological viewpoint "what distinguishes humans from all other animals?" is an odd question: there's no one thing that makes cats, dolphins, or song sparrows unique. Finding other species that shape tools or can use sign language may shed light on human evolution; it does not erase the differences between humans and related species.


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