Paleolithic


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Paleolithic

[‚pā·lē·ō′lith·ik]
(anthropology)
The prehistoric period when people made stone tools exclusively by chipping or flaking; frequently defined by the time range from about 2,500,000 years ago to around the final retreat of the ice sheets about 10,300 years ago.

Paleolithic

 

(or Old Stone Age), the first of two main periods of the Stone Age. The Paleolithic was a period in which fossil man and fossil, now extinct, animal species existed. It coincides with the first great stage of the Quaternary geological period— the Pleistocene. The climate, vegetation, and animal life of the earth in the Paleolithic period differed significantly from what they are today. Paleolithic man used only chipped stone tools, not yet knowing how to polish them or fashion clay vessels. He was a hunter and gatherer, only beginning to learn to fish. Land cultivation and stock raising were unknown.

The beginning of the Paleolithic period over two million years ago coincides with the appearance on earth of the first apelike men, the Archanthropinae of the Oldowayan type, Homo habilis. The end is dated to approximately 12,000 to 10,000 years ago, at the time of transition to the Mesolithic—the period between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. The Paleolithic is divided into the Lower and Upper Paleolithic. The former is further subdivided into the Oldowayan (pre-Chellean, or pebble, culture), which marks the beginning of human history; the early Acheulean (Abbevillian, or Chellean, culture); the middle and late Acheulean; and the Mousterian periods. Subdivisions of the Upper Paleolithic are confined to specific locales; there are no subdivisions that would be found everywhere.

This periodization of the Paleolithic is not universal and is only partially applicable to South Africa, southern and Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Many researchers accept a three-stage rather than a two-stage division of the Paleolithic, distinguishing the Mousterian culture as Middle Paleolithic. Homo habilis existed during the Oldowayan period; Archanthropinae, including Pithecanthropus and Sinanthropus, existed in the early, middle, and late Acheulean; and Neanderthal man (Palaeoanthropus) existed in the Mousterian period. Modern man, Homo sapiens (Neoanthropinae), appeared and spread during the transition to the Upper Paleolithic.

REFERENCES

Kamennyi vek na territorii SSSR. Moscow, 1970.
Boriskovskii, P. I. Drevneishee proshloe chelovechestva. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Bordes, F. Le Paléolithique dans le monde. Paris, 1968.

P. I. BORISKOVSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
Probably as much as half of the Paleolithic people who ever lived in Europe were Iberians.
The similarity in the arrangement of vertical and horizontal figures (or rather, explicit compositions) on panels located on two different floors indicates a profound connection between the ideas expressed by the Paleolithic artists.
The study reports findings that a paleolithic diet improves fat mass and metabolic parameters, including insulin sensitivity, glycaemic control and leptin, in subjects with T2DM after 12 weeks intervention, and noted that supervised exercise combined with this dietary change did not seem to enhance the effects on these outcomes, but did result in an increase in cardiovascular fitness.
The majority of literature on Paleolithic nutrition is anecdotal and reflects two opposite view points.
Modern symbology, with instant recognition (such as a green neon exit sign with a person walking up the stairs) is not that different from ancient rock art, which had common meanings to different groups in the Paleolithic times, explains Antonio.
The rest is history, although it wasn't until 1902 that the paintings were officially authenticated as examples of Paleolithic art.
Things began to change after the end of the Paleolithic Era, when we transitioned to an agricultural society, says Giebel.
Several years after the birth of prehistory as a scientific discipline, the existence of some form of Paleolithic religiousness became accepted.
He starts off by arguing that music has always been a crucial part of human existence, and examines the archaeological evidence that shows that even in the Upper Paleolithic Age, beats were an important part of life.
Survey results are presented in six chronologically organized analytical chapters covering the Paphlagonian past from the Paleolithic period through the Ottoman era, concluded by a final chapter (chapter eight) of summary and synthesis.
Guest lecturer is Dr Chantal Conneller, lecturer in upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic archaeology at the University of Manchester, who is also joint director of the excavation.
11 -- At least 200 Paleolithic tombs were announced to have been discovered in Mahweet in 1996, according to the governorate's deputy governor Hamoud Shamlan.