Approximately one million years ago,
early humans started to leave Africa and spread to other
continents. This was during one or more of the Ice Ages. With the sea level lowered, early humans were able to cross
land bridges between continents. They crossed into these new lands
probably following herds of animals or in search of food.
These early people were not quite like
modern day humans. They were smaller, and they only had about 2/3
the brain that modern man had. But, they were tool users.
They had stone axes and knives and were hunters as well as
early people had fire!
The discovery and use of fire was
very important to early man for many reasons.
First, they discovered most animals are afraid of fire. So a campfire
gave some protection to the group or tribe.
Second, they could camp in better
locations. A fire allowed them to pick where they
camped. They no longer had to look for trees to climb into
or rocks and cliffs to shelter under.
Third, it kept them warm.
This goes with the second reason. They could move into
colder climates and hunt the animals that lived there. They
could then return to their campfire to warm up.
Fourth, it was a healthier way of
life. Cooked food is less likely to carry disease
Fifth, it was a more social
grouping. They could now gather in larger groups, feeling
safer and more secure. This allowed them to exchange
stories, and just talk to other people.
There were other reasons that
having a fire was an improvement in their lives. Can you
think of any?
There have been other discoveries
of Homo Erectus, most notably the one found near Peking (Beijing)
China, which is called the Peking Man. Archeologists have
also found tools weapons from this time period in other places,
which gives a better understand of how they lived and where they