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Early Humans and their Environment Essay

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Early Humans and their Environment


Humans have been present on this Earth for nearly 3.5 million years when “Homo erectus” first evolved with an upright posture enabling the use of hands (Ponting). “Homo erectus” evolved into “Homo sapiens” one hundred thousand years ago and both lineages lived in small, mobile groups. For nearly two million years, their way of life was based around hunting and gathering food until ten to twelve thousand years ago when agriculture evolved. Early humans depended upon their knowledge of crops and seasons in order for survival. Eventually, as brain size increased and more humans adapted to different environments, advances were made in human technology. Humans began to work with and occasionally against their environment to create a stable way to acquire food as well as a more stable lifestyle. On the other hand, the environment, the climate in particular, definitely dictated the movement and survival methods of early humans.

The seasonal changes, climate, and other atmospheric conditions created many challenges for early humans. Modern examples that demonstrate what life might have been like thousands of years ago show that seasons determine where humans can survive. For example, the Bushmen of Southwest Africa live in a consistent climate. They move five or six times a year, but never travel more then ten to twelve miles. On the other hand, the Gidjingali Aborigines in northern Australia eat water lilies from full swamps during the wet season, but move to another area during dry season to hunt yam and geese. The Netsilik Inuit living in Canada use their environmental surroundings for all the necessities of life. Their houses are made from snow and ice while their clothing, kayaks, sledges, a...


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...the small mobile groups could begin to reside in one area. Agriculture was a turning point in early human life because humans began to alter their surroundings for survival (Ponting). The relationship between early humans and their environment is extremely complex. On one hand, the human race survived and prospered despite the climatic difficulties. On the other hand, the blossoming of early humans directly caused the extinction or near-extinction of many species as well as possibly affecting the atmosphere and climate.


Sources Cited

Grossman, Daniel. “Extinction of Large Animals in Australia” News Report. NPR News.

Joyce, Christopher. “Australian Anthropogenic Climate Change” News Report. NPR
News.

Ponting, Clive. A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of
Great Civilizations. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1991. (pp 18-65).


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