The Stone Age
iPhoneOgraphy – 30 Apr 2016 (Day 121/366)
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 6000 BC (or BCE) and 2000 BC (BCE) with the advent of metalworking.
Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, and possibly by the earlier partly contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are rarely preserved in the archaeological record. The Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use.
The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception possibly being at the very beginning, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System, especially toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands. The closest relative among the other living Primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into Southern Africa and also north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia.
Starting from about 3 million years ago (mya) a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, and across Asia to modern China, which has been called “transcontinental ‘savannahstan'” recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a “tool equipped savanna dweller.”