The LOWER PALEOLITHIC (or LOWER PALAEOLITHIC) is the earliest
subdivision of the
Paleolithic or Old
Stone Age . It spans the time
from around 3.3 million years ago when the first evidence for stone
tool production and use by hominins appears in the current
archaeological record , until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the
Oldowan ("mode 1") and
Acheulean ("mode 2") lithics industries.
In African archaeology, the time period roughly corresponds to the
EARLY STONE AGE, the earliest finds dating back to 3.3 million years
ago, with Lomekwian stone tool technology, spanning Mode 1 stone tool
technology, which begins roughly 2.6 million years ago and ends
between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago, with Mode 2 technology.
Paleolithic followed the Lower
Paleolithic and recorded
the appearance of the more advanced prepared-core tool-making
technologies such as the
Mousterian . Whether the earliest control of
fire by hominins dates to the Lower or to the Middle Paleolithic
remains an open question.
* 2 Calabrian
* 4 Transition to the Middle
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Homo habilis , and
Paleolithic began with the appearance of the oldest stone
tools in the world, roughly 3.3 million years ago in eastern Africa,
which were produced by an as-yet undetermined hominin. The Gelasian
Lower Pleistocene ), some 2.5 million years ago, saw the appearance
Homo genus (
Homo habilis ), possibly developing from
australopithecine forebears (such as
Australopithecus garhi ). These
early members of the
Homo genus produced primitive tools, summarized
Oldowan or Mode 1 horizon, which remained dominant for
nearly a million years, from about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago. Homo
habilis is assumed to have lived primarily on scavenging , using tools
to cleave meat off carrion or to break bones to extract the marrow .
The move from the mostly frugivorous or omnivorous diet of hominin
Australopithecus to the carnivorous scavenging lifestyle of early Homo
has been explained by the climate changes in
East Africa associated
Quaternary glaciation . Decreasing oceanic evaporation
produced a drier climate and the expansion of the savannah at the
expense of forests. Reduced availability of fruits stimulated some
proto-australopithecines to search out new food sources found in the
drier savannah ecology.
Derek Bickerton (2009) has designated to this
period the move from simple animal communication systems found in all
great apes to the earliest form of symbolic communication systems
capable of displacement (referring to items not currently within
sensory perception) and motivated by the need to "recruit" group
members for scavenging large carcasses.
Homo erectus appeared by about 1.8 million years ago, via the
Homo ergaster .
Calabrian (stage) and
Homo erectus moved from scavenging to hunting , developing the
hunting-gathering lifestyle that would remain dominant throughout the
Paleolithic into the
Mesolithic . The unlocking of the new niche of
hunting-gathering subsistence drove a number of further behavioral and
physiological changes leading to the appearance of Homo
heidelbergensis by some 600,000 years ago.
Homo erectus migrated out of Africa and dispersed throughout Eurasia.
Stone tools in
Malaysia have been dated to be 1.83 million years old.
Peking Man fossil, discovered in 1929, is roughly 700,000 years
In Europe, the
Olduwan tradition (known in Europe as
split into two parallel traditions, the
Clactonian , a flake
tradition, and the
Acheulean , a hand-axe tradition. The Levallois
technique for knapping flint developed during this time.
The carrier species from Africa to Europe was undoubtedly Homo
erectus . This type of human is more clearly linked to the flake
tradition, which spread across southern Europe through the
appear relatively densely in southeast Asia . Many
Mousterian finds in
Paleolithic have been knapped using a Levallois technique,
suggesting that Neanderthals evolved from
Homo erectus (or, perhaps,
Homo heidelbergensis; see below).
Monte Poggiolo , near
Forlì , Italy, is the location of an Acheulian
littoral handaxe industry dating from 1.8 to 1.1 million years ago.
Middle Pleistocene Further information: Homo
heidelbergensis and Archaic
The appearance of
Homo heidelbergensis about 600,000 years ago
heralds a number of other new varieties, such as
Homo rhodesiensis and
Homo cepranensis about 400,000 years ago.
Homo heidelbergensis is a
candidate for first developing an early form of symbolic language .
Whether control of fire and earliest burials date to this period or
only appear during the Middle
Paleolithic is an open question.
Also, in Europe, a type of human appeared that was intermediate
Homo erectus and
Homo sapiens, sometimes summarized under
Homo sapiens , typified by such fossils as those found at
Swanscombe , Steinheim , Tautavel , and