On the Trail of the Earliest People

Humans evolved from apes around 1,500 million years ago. Charles Darwin propounded the theory that humans evolved from apes in his book “On the origin of Species”. In his proposal of Theory of Natural Selection, Darwin believed that an animal species may change over time as the best-adapted members survive and the less successful members die out.

Paleolithic is the first phase of human evolution in which humans made crude stone tools from bones, stone, horns and wood. The evidence of these tools is found in the valleys around rivers like Son, Narmada, Godavari and Tungabhadra. The cultivation of crops was unknown to them. Early man was nomadic and moved from place to place in search of food, water resources, etc. There are numerous cave paintings at Altamira in Spain, France and in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

The discovery of fire was one of the most important discoveries. Paleolithic people worshipped their ancestors after their death. This age was followed by Middle Stone Age or the Mesolithic Age which extended from 10,000-8,000 BC. The span of this period was not much as it was a transitional phase. There was slight advancement in tool making techniques as compared to the Paleolithic age. Some of the important sites of this period are found in Rajasthan, Deccan, etc. The Neolithic age is called the new Stone Age which started about 10,000 years ago. There are evidences of painted potteries, weapons, food, drink, etc.

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