History of the Universe

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Out of Africa 50 kya

Modern people came out of Africa about 50 kya and spread. Within a few thousand years they replaced the Neanderthals in Europe and Asia and spread to Siberia, North America and as far as Australia.

Upper Paleolithic 50 kya

Homo sapiens improved the tools used by Neanderthals and developed specialized tools for different jobs. This new technology is called Upper Paleolithic meaning "most recent old stone age".

Their stone tools were made from long thin blades rather than the short flakes found in the older Acheulian technology. But new objects such as bone needles for sewing skins into clothes, baking of clay, oil lamps, harpoons and a wealth of others created a revolution in their way of life compared to the Neanderthals, who became extinct by about 22 kya.


But the thing which really set Homo sapiens apart from Neanderthals was their use of art and decoration.

Cave paintings, beads, clay statuettes, carvings on the handles of tools, all show a more developed sense of art than Neanderthals ever did. The earliest known paintings date from about 40 kya.

Many animals were hunted to extinction and people spread around the world.

Glacial Maximum

From about 24 kya to about 12 kya the temperature was very low and much of Northern Europe, were many humans lived, was covered in ice. Because they often lived on ice, they left few remains behind and following humanity's development at this period is very difficult.

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