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Early Humans

Early Humans

We see humans all around us. But when was the first human seen? Early humans did not leave behind any written records. However, they left behind many paintings on the walls of the caves that they lived in. These paintings tell us about their life, their food, and their homes in those days. Many remains such as bones and teeth, pots and pans, and tools have been discovered by archaeologists that tell us about these early humans. These records tell us that these early humans were very different from us. They looked like apes and walked on four limbs instead of two like we do today.

It was only many years later that they learnt to stand and walk on two legs and began to look like us. Also, early humans were hunters and gatherers. Since they did not know how to cook, they used to depend on hunting wild animals and gathering nuts, roots, wild berries, and other fruits when they felt hungry. They did not live at one place but moved from place to place in search of food and water. They also did not have proper clothes so they used leaves, barks of trees, and animal skins to cover their bodies. Sometimes, they lived in caves, on trees, and under big rocks.

Early humans did not have any tools so they found whatever they could for hunting. They used stones, horns of animals, and sharp pieces of wood to dig, hunt, and cut their food. They also used these to protect themselves from animals and sometimes they needed tools to catch fish from the rivers that they lived near. Over a period of time, they learnt to make their own tools. Since stones were used to make tools, this age was called Stone Age.

With time, tools made of bones and stones were replaced with those made of metals. Copper was the first metal to be used. Tools made of metals were stronger, sharper, and long-lasting. Metals were also used for farming and making weapons and utensils.

The first fire that the early humans noticed was natural fire caused by lightning. They might have also noticed sparks while striking two stones against each other to make tools. Perhaps, they noticed the fallen leaves and branches catching fire from these sparks. Over a period of time, these early humans discovered fire by rubbing two stones and bringing them close to a pile of wood or leaves.

The discovery of fire was an important event in their lives as fire helped them in many ways. Early humans could now light up dark cave shelters. They could also use fire to keep themselves warm during cold weather. They used fire to roast the meat and to cook the food or vegetables that they ate. They realised that food became easier to chew and tasted better, if cooked properly. They also noticed that fire would scare animals away.

Early humans would have also noticed new trees growing from the seeds that fell to the ground from the fruits. This probably gave them the idea that they could make their own food which led to farming. The first grains that they thought of cultivating were clearly wheat and barley.

With the beginning of farming, early humans began to settle down in one place for a longer time. Instead of living in caves, they started living on farms and near their fields. As groups of people started settling down in the same place, the first villages came up. Gradually with time, the farming methods improved. People started to grow a lot of food crops. With this food, people had to look for ways to store it. Thus, they started making pots and weaving cane baskets. Later, when the pottery wheel was invented, pottery became smoother and better.

Domestication of animals was a major event in human history that changed the life of the early humans. The wild dogs were probably the first animal to be domesticated. With time, goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, and horses were kept. This led to herding. Milk, meat, and wool came from these animals. Moving heavy loads was a difficult task for the early humans. They used domestic animals such as horses and donkeys to carry loads. Then they probably saw logs of wood floating in the river. They realised that they could tie a few logs together and use it like a boat for transporting people and goods. This is how rafts were made, which made it easier to cross rivers.