The Paleolithic Era
The Paleolithic period, or era, is a period of time beginning about 2.6 million years ago, and coming to an end around 10,000 years ago. Paleolithic is a term coined by an architect named John Lubbock, it derives from the Greek language, and literally means “old age of the stone”.
While this news may not be particularly exciting, a point I’d like to highlight is that this Paleolithic Era began at a point where humans began to use stone tools. These very early human forms were distant ancestors of homo sapiens sapiens (you, me, and every other human who currently inhabits the world), and were known as Australopithecenes.
Over a very long period of time, these human forms eventually evolved to become Neanderthals, Homo Habilis (handy man), Homo Erectus, and then eventually the Homo Sapiens form of today.
The Stone Age
Why is this important to know?
Humans began using stone tools about 2.6 million years ago, but had been steadily evolving for a long period of time before that. In fact, we have fossil evidence of hominid forms dating back 7 million years! Evolution is a very long and slow process, and YOU are a result of million years worth of genetic evolution.
The Paleolithic Diet
The humans that inhabited the world in the Paleolithic Era were hunter-gatherers, and were quite often nomadic, travelling to different parts of the lands in search of food and shelter from the elements. Life was simple, but very tough. Survival was not easy but food was often plentiful, and human intelligence continued to increase dramatically to overcome the challenges of the harsh outside world, as well as the physical limitations we had compared to other animals (yes, you may not like to admit it, but we are still animals).
The Paleolithic Era covered a large period of time, and many different species of humans. For most of that time, our use of tools and communication was limited, we did not yet have control of fire, and we did not do much fishing.
The Paleolithic Diet, or The Paleo Diet as is more commonly referred to, will focus more closely on the latter stages of the Paleolithic Era, when man did evolve to the stage of controlling fire, tools were more advanced, communication of new hunting skills was passed on through teaching the next generations, and human population expanded to cover greater regions of the earth.
The End Of The Paleolithic Era
The Paleolithic Era ended about 10,000 years ago with the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution. Humans exchanged hunting-gathering lifestyles for farming, moved from nomadic beings to settling down and growing crops of grains. Nutritionist Dr Loren Cordain has said that the Agricultural Revolution was “the worst event in human history”. We are still suffering the effects of this today.
Today has been a very quick little history lesson on our distant past, and how humans evolved through the Paleolithic Era. In future posts we will go into much more detail about the impact of the agricultural revolution, as well as more specifics about what allowed humans to dominate and conquer the world throughout the Paleolithic Era.
Hint: It mostly had to do with what we put in our mouths…
If there’s anything specific you want to learn about in upcoming posts, please let me know in the comments below.
Aussie Health And Fitness Consultant