The word culture is used to describe more than one topic, referring to knowledge, art, beliefs, customs, and values of a society. Culture shows how a society acts around each one of these topics, ideas that define a society’s meaning based on what these people know, what kind of religion is followed, and what is valued above all else. Objects that existed in these times are known as artifacts, items that were created back in a society’s time. These artifacts can reveal information about the culture, information about the way these people lived. Artifacts are objects such as pottery, coins, and other important objects. Mary Leakey and Louis Leakey were two anthropologists who found many important artifacts back in the 1900’s. Mary found skull fragments in 1959. These fragments were found deep in East Africa and were very old, over 1.75 million years old, and when put together, the skull showed a very old human being. Along with this discovery, she found very old footprints as well, footprints that were also very ancient. Together, the two anthropologists found another fossil, another hominid which describes a very early species of human beings, though it was proven to be a different species all together. Donald Johanson, another anthropologist, was credited for finding a partial Australopithecine skeleton in 1974. Research was done and the skeleton, nicknamed Lucy, was discovered to have been a very old hominid that walked upright. This skeleton was also written to be around only four feet tall overall, a very short height.
Leading into the Stone Age was the Paleolithic Era. This era was known to be the first part of the Stone Age. It also is called the Old Stone Age, lasting for around 2.4 million years, a very long Era. The people of this time were called nomads. These nomads were known to move from place to place. The reason for this movement was because these people followed the animal herds as resources. They had to live off what they could find, living as hunters-gatherers, in small groups. They hunted for food as well as using what they could find, gathering items such as berries and other foods they could find. These people had their own form of religion, their own belief system as well. Anthropologists believe they followed animism, believing that all things in nature had spirits, and that these people may have honored these spirits through different practices.
Nutcracker Man, 1959
The Nutcracker Man, discovered by Mary Leakey in 1959, was found in Africa, the remnants of a hominid skull. This discovery was one of the first discoveries pointing back to 1.75 years ago, showing some of the first images of what humans could have looked like back then.
Lucy, discovered by Donald Johanson, was found in 1974. Lucy was a partial Australopithecine skeleton, and she was very important to proving that hominids walked upright over 3 million years ago, an important discovery to show how people lived.
Laetoli Footprints, 1970s
Mary Leakey was also credited for finding the Laetoli Footprints in the 1970’s, footprints that provided very similar evidence to Lucy just dating farther back. These footprints prove that even over 3.5 million years ago, hominids were walking upright.
Chad Fossils, 2001
The Chad Fossils, skulls discovered by a scientific team sometime in 2001, was an important find due to the different features it shared. The features pointed to both that of a chimpanzee and a Australopithecine, from somewhere between 7 million to 6 million years ago. This skull was one of the oldest fossils found at the time.
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