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World History: The Paleolithic Age

Homo sapiens first arose on the Earth between 400 and 250 thousand years ago during the Palaeolithic period. This occurred after a long period of evolution. Ancestors of humans, such as Homo erectus, had been using simple tools for many millennia, but as time progressed, tools became far more refined and complex. At some point, humans had begun using fire for heat and for cooking. Humans also developed language sometime during the Paleolithic, as well as a conceptual repertoire that included systematic burial of the dead and adornment of the living. During this period, all humans lived as hunter-gatherers, who were generally nomadic.

Modern humans spread rapidly over the globe from Africa and the frost-free zones of Europe and Asia. The rapid expansion of humankind to North America and Oceania took place at the climax of the Ice Age, when temperate regions of today were extremely inhospitable. Yet, humans had colonised nearly all the ice-free parts of the globe by the end of the Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago.

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