Emergence of Humans: Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site found in Tanzania, a country in East Africa. The site explains the evidence of the existence of ancestors. When archeologists visit the site, they find fossils and some stone tools in the location hence concluding that there existed human beings in the past. The fossils found are believed to have lived more than 2000 years ago. Olduvai comes from a Maasai word, which is spelled as Oldupai. The word Oldupai means wild sisal that grows mostly around the area. Louis Leakey and his wife Mary are said to be the first paleontologists to discover the Olduvai Gorge site. Louis was born in Kenya since his parents had come to Kenya as missionaries. He used to uncover the stone tools while on his adventures and later developed the interest of studying more about fossils. He then discovered the upper teeth and some parts of a skull that they had not seen before.

Have any questions about the topic? Our Experts can answer any question you have. They are avaliable to you 24/7.
Ask now

After some time, Leakey’s found an almost full skull, in which by use of dating techniques, he discovered that it had lived for more than 1.6 million years. There was a foot fossil that had arches that were found preserved by Leakey during his operation. The arches on foot suggested that hominins were able to walk uprightly. His son later found a tiny hominin in which through observations, they discovered it could make and use tools. Leaky and his son named the hominin Homo habilis meaning the handy or able human. Later, Peter Nzube found a skull with molars teeth that was approximately 1.9 million years ago and named it twiggy. Peter believed twiggy was an adult before dying. American archeologists also discovered more than 300 bones in the site of which they interpreted was for a female who lived like 1.8 million years ago. Therefore, Olduvai Gorge remains a vital historical resource for many archaeologists.

SPREAD OF MODERN HUMAN: HOMO SAPIENS

History explains that modern humans descended from Homo sapiens and spread in Asia and Europe. The fossils of Homo sapiens were found in Greek and Israel at around 180000 years ago. The early spread of Homo sapiens did not persist that much, but their range in the sub-Saharan somehow contributed to the finish Acheulean industries. A scientist by the name Charles Darwin discovered that if a species is separated, there are some variations that develop to their respective genes. Therefore, according to Charles, the separation of the Homo sapiens species caused four groups to emerge. The four groups that emerged were the Khoisan, who were said to be Africans, the Aboriginal said to be Australians, Caucasian referred to the Europeans. Mongolian described as the Chinese and American Indian. From then on, the four groups started migrating from Africa to different parts of the world, and they did not move at the same time. Some moved to Asia in search of food while others moved to the south reaching India and China.

The Aboriginal is believed to be the first people who started hunting. The Homo sapiens who were first to reach Europe is said to have moved from Africa through the east, where they walked through the Middle East and came to the north. Their lifestyle changed upon reaching Europe, whereby they invented the first spears in the world. Approximately after 50000 years, Homo sapiens started using tools in making ornaments like carving needles that were made from bones. Some ornaments were found in their graves, such as necklaces. Some people began having pale skin that assisted them in the production of enough vitamin D that was useful in the formation of bones to adapt to the ice sheets that were swept from the north. Homo sapiens reached Britain using the France route since there were no floods in France. The ice spreadsheet led to a massive decrease in the population of Europe.

DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURE: CHILDE’S AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION

Childe’s agricultural revolution explains how agriculture was invented in the Neolithic revolution and the social consequences that resulted after that. An Australian archaeologist by the name v. Gordon Childe, came up with the Neolithic revolution to describe the period when humans started to cultivate plants, rearing of animals, and building their permanent settlements. The archeologists use the Çatalhöyük site, found in southern Turkey, to explain how humans moved from being nomads and starting the gathering of plants. The Çatalhöyük is said to have respected spirituality since if someone died, he was buried under the floors, and their houses had drawings of men hunting.

Another archeological site that archeologists used was the Tell Abu Hureyra found in Syria. The grinding stones tools found in the location suggested that they were harvesting grains. But initially, they are said to have been hunters. The first cereals that were grown were wheat, peas, and lentils since they preferred plants which were cheap in harvesting. Archeologists also discovered the rice paddies that were found at Chinese swamps showing that later, they started growing rice and millet in Asia. The first animals like sheep, goats, and pigs were domestically kept mainly to provide them with milk and meat that was useful to their diet, but at times, they got diseases like chickenpox from the animals. After humans began to trade, animals like camels and donkeys were used in the transportation of their goods. The revolution helped in creating more innovations, and through their trading activities, the Neolithic civilization emerged.

FIRST CIVILIZATION/EMERGENCE OF STATES: EGYPT

Many years ago, two main kingdoms evolved along the river Nile. The two territories constituted the upper and lower Egypt. They kingdoms settled mainly along the River Nile, which used to flood, providing fertile conditions for cultivation. However, sometimes, the river did not flood resulting in low food production, thus contributing to political disunity. At around 6000BC, there was a massive expansion of the Sahara Desert. Some archeologists think the tilt of the earth caused the enlargement. The development was essential to human civilization as the human settlement was drifted closer to the river so that they would easily access the sources of water.

At about 3100BC, an archeologist by the name Narmer brought together Egypt in a political manner when he got a chance to control the upper and lower Egypt. He also used the pyramid of Khufu in Egypt and also the Sphinx as a reference to the origin of Egypt that was created by some rulers. The pyramids were built by peasants who did that when they are off. Each family could provide one member to do the job. The working of the peasants showed forced labor, as the elites enjoyed. The Egyptians started constructing ships using planks and ropes for trading. The female ruler called Hatshepsut, came up with a trade route to boost Egypt’s wealth and repaired damaged temples that were destroyed in the time of Hyksos. War increased famine, and due to political divisions, the military force in Nubia conquered Kush, lower Egypt, and also upper Egypt. Then Kushites were removed from Egypt by Assyrians, who came up with a client state. By 656BC, Egypt reunited and separated with the control of Assyrians and had peace with the king of Persia.

THE COLLAPSE OF STATES: MAYA

The collapse of the Maya states constitutes the decline of the Mesoamerican culture owned by the people of Maya. The Maya civilization started in 250CE, and 900CE is believed to be the final year of the literature. The enlightenment was characterized by the unique monuments built by the Mesoamericans. The building of the monuments occurred in 500, of which the building rate increased gradually up to 900. The pillars acted as the primary evidence of the existence of the culture of Maya. Another proof of the survival of the Maya customs is the recordings of the Maya kings in Altar Q, which is based in Copan. The recordings show that the kings reigned between 426 and about 760. However, the two last kings of Maya who are not recorded include Ukit Took and Jade Sky.

The Maya collapse is believed to have taken place around 900CE. In Seibal, located in Peten, the archaeological proof found to suggest the invasion of the Toltec contributed to the fall of the Maya community. However, foreign invasion causes of the fall of Maya cannot be proved since there were no military actions that took place. The theory that has some basis in explaining the collapse of Maya is the drought theory, which demonstrates that severe drought caused the collapse of the Maya customs. In 1931, Thomas and J. Thompson associated drought with the destruction of Maya. Later, in 1995, three paleoclimatologists, Brenner, Hodell, and Curtis, recorded findings from Lake Chichancanab, which is found in the Yucatán Peninsula. The results indicated that there was a terrible drought that took place around 900 AD. This period coincides with the collapse of the Maya custom. Other factors complement the drought theory since the cause of other non-environmental factors can be attributed to the drought theory.