Directions: Read the following passages and answer the essential questions in complete sentences. The Birth of Society How did the formation of societies improve the lives of early humans?



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*This reading can be accessed in your Social Studies Techbook under unit 1.2 (pages 3-5)

Directions: Read the following passages and answer the essential questions in complete sentences.

The Birth of Society

How did the formation of societies improve the lives of early humans?

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As you read about early human societies, record information about their government, religion, economics, art and architecture, science and technology, environment, and social and cultural values.

As you read about early human societies, record information about their government, religion, economics, art and architecture, science and technology, environment, and social and cultural values.

Early hunter-gatherers most likely began to work together in social groups over time. Scientists have found evidence all over the world to support this belief.

Kanjera is an area in western Kenya. In Kanjera, scientists found stone tools made with rocks. No similar rocks were found in the immediate area, but they were common seven miles away. This suggests that groups carried rocks to Kanjera in order to create tools.

A hearth is a stone fireplace. Hearths were used for cooking food. They also provided warmth and safety. Hearths dating to 800,000 years ago have been found in Israel. This suggests that early humans gathered together at hearths for food and comfort. Scientists also have lots of evidence that early peoples hunted together and shared shelters. In France, shelters have been found that are at least 400,000 years old. Some shelters are 50 feet long. This suggests that large groups lived together.

Scientists also believe that early hunter-gatherers took care of members of their groups. There is strong evidence that people cared for the old and sick. One example is the Old Man of La Chapelle. Scientists found most of his skeleton in France. The “old man” was probably about 30 years old, and he had lost many of his teeth. He probably could not have lived so long without help to eat his food.

Scientists also have evidence that early humans buried the dead carefully. Graves have been found throughout the world. One well-known example is at Legar Velho in Portugal. The body of a child was found buried there. The child was buried with pine branches, animal teeth, and decorated shells. In Russia and Italy, stone tools have been found in graves. These items suggest that the people believed in life after death. They may have placed tools in the graves of people who were especially respected. The care that went into burials suggests growth in the size and complexity of early social groups.


Hunting in Groups

How did living in groups improve early humans’ ability to hunt?

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Living together in groups was also important for hunting. To learn more about how early humans hunted, scientists study the remains found in caves and ancient campsites. Animal bones with marks, chips, and holes provide clues. They suggest the types of tools that hunters used to kill and butcher the animals. The bones also help scientists identify what types of animals the people hunted. For example, large amounts of reindeer and mammoth bones suggest these animals were often hunted. These large animals were most likely popular because they were common in the area. They could provide a lot of meat with a single kill. Other parts of the animal were also used. Animal skins were used to make clothes. Bones were used to make weapons and tools.
Hunting Tools

Even in a group, hunting could be very dangerous. Early humans used hunting tools like spears and knives. These tools worked well when hunters could get close to the animals. They worked less well at a distance. The bow and arrow would not be invented for thousands of years! Most hunters were injured frequently. Scientists can tell this from the patterns of breaks and chips on the bones of ancient humans. They are nearly identical to those of modern rodeo riders.

After some time, fire became an important hunting tool. Some groups of early humans in Europe may have used fire to drive large animals into swamps. They left the animals to die rather than risking injury by trying to kill them. Of course, fire served other purposes too. It provided warmth and a way to cook. It provided protection from animals or enemy humans. Fire also turned meals into social gatherings.


Making Tools

What improvements did early humans make to their tools as they migrated?

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The first tools were very simple. They were spears and stone blades. Spears have been found with the earliest human remains. The first examples were simple sticks made with sharp points. Then people used fire to make the sticks harder. Sometime later, people made better spears by attaching stone blades to sticks. The improvement of tools shows the development of human thinking. People were becoming better at solving problems and using reason.

Stone blades appeared in the Paleolithic Age. This was around 40,000 years ago. Stone blades were perfected over the next 10,000 years. The Paleo-Indians of North America were very good at making stone blades. Flint and obsidian were the most common stones used to create blades. Scientists have found stone blades that are still sharp after 30,000 years. Stone chisels allowed early humans to cut and carve bone into tools.

Long, thin pieces of bone were carved out to form needles. These needles were used to make better clothing. Larger pieces of bone were made into sharp hooks. These could be used in hunting and fishing. Early humans also used chisels to carve the horns of deer and other animals into wedge-shaped tools. These wedges could be used to create long, thin pieces of bone that could be used for spears.

The improvement of tools shows the different ways hunter-gatherers were getting smarter. These new tools were designed for special purposes. The tools also were made in very similar ways throughout a variety of areas. This suggests that information was being shared across groups.



Tools of Early Humans

Directions: Using your reading titled “Making Tools,” complete this graphic organizer to show your knowledge of the different tools early humans used.

What type of tool?

What material was it made of?

What was it used for?















































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