Seven Million Years Ago

The first human-like beings appeared about seven million years ago. These creatures came down from the trees in which they has lived like other apes. They walked on two legs and used tools. As they evolved their brains grew larger and their legs and arms grew longer making it easier for them to walk upright and to use tools and weapons with their hands.

Prehistoric peoples: the first humans

The first humans might have looked like this. Neanderthal man iStock photos

The first humans might have looked like this. Neanderthal man iStock photos

The first prehistoric humans who looked most like us lived in parts of Africa nearly two million years ago. They are called Homo habilis or 'handy man' by scientists.

A million years later, another species called Homo erectus or 'upright man' appeared and spread out of Africa and into Europe and Asia.

These early humans walked on two legs so they could see over the tall grass and look out for wild animals.

About 600 000 years ago they made tools and weapons out of stone, bone and wood.

They hunted wild animals and caught fish.

They made clothes out of the fur of the animals they hunted.

They collected and ate fruits and nuts.

They lived in caves and built shelters.

About 200 000 years ago prehistoric humans learned how to make fire.

Groups of prehistoric humans spread out to live in many different places on the Earth. Small groups of people lived in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Paintings on the walls of caves show us the kinds of animals that prehistoric people hunted. iStock photos

Paintings on the walls of caves show us the kinds of animals that prehistoric people hunted. iStock photos

Prehistoric people hunted woolly mammoths © Getty Images

Prehistoric people hunted woolly mammoths © Getty Images

Those people who lived in hot places had darker skin than those who lived in cold places.

Some of the people painted pictures on the walls of their caves.

In parts of Europe where it was very cold, the people built houses made of the bones of the woolly mammoth which they covered with the skins of the mammoths and other animals that they hunted.

 

Could prehistoric Neanderthals talk? Watch a video here

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Many scientists believe that Homo Sapiens 'wise man' evolved from these early human species and that Neanderthals and Modern people lived side by side in many parts of the world. However, about 20 000 years ago Neanderthals had died out, leaving Homo Sapiens living on all the continents of the world.