Beginning of Times
Question 1: Look at the diagram showing the positive feedback mechanism on page 13. Can you list the inputs that went into tool making? What were the processes that were strengthened by tool making?
Answer: Bipedal walking freed the hands for handling and making tools. In due course of time, the early humans developed more dexterity. This also helped in increasing the brain size; because of better use of brain for conceptualizing and memorizing complex processes involved in tool making.
Question 2: Humans and mammals such as monkeys and apes have certain similarities in behavior and anatomy. This indicates that humans possibly evolved from apes. List these resemblances in two columns under the headings of (a) behavior and (b) anatomy. Are there any differences that you think are noteworthy?
|Similarities between humans and monkeys|
|Complex social life||Similar body design|
|Capability to make tools||In monkeys, forelimbs used for many other tasks; apart from locomotion.|
|Non-verbal communication||Voice box more developed than other groups of animals.|
|Omnivorous diet||Some degree of dexterity in hands.|
Differences: Monkeys have tails which are missing in humans and apes. Limbs of monkeys are suited to arboreal life.
Question 3: Discuss the arguments advances in favor of the regional continuity model of human origins. Do you think it provides a convincing explanation of the archaeological evidence? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: The observation which is in favor of the regional continuity model of human origins is the wide variation in different races of modern humans around the world. But this does not match with the archaeological evidence. The earliest fossil of modern human has been found in Africa; which contradicts the regional continuity model of human origins.
Question 4: Which of the following do you think is best documented in the archaeological record: (a) gathering, (b) tool making, (c) the use of fire?
Answer: Tool making is best documented in the archaeological record because plenty of stone tools have been found from different sites around the world.
Question 5: Discuss the extent to which (a) hunting and (b) constructing shelters would have been facilitated by the use of language. What other modes of communication could have been used for these activities?
Answer: Both hunting and constructing shelter needs team effort. A good communication among the team members is essential for accomplishing the task. It may have been verbal or non-verbal communication or a combination of both which would have helped in accomplishing the required tasks during hunting and constructing shelter. As explained by some scholars, cave paintings also served as important tool for imparting knowledge about hunting. Such paintings may also have been used while planning for mass killing of animals.
Question 6: Choose any two developments each from Timelines 1 and 2 at the end of the chapter and indicate why you think these are significant.
Answer: Two developments from Timeline 1:
Branching out of hominoids and hominids (6.4 mya)
Significance: This development paved the way for emergence of human like creatures; which subsequently led to the emergence of the modern humans.
Beginning of the Ice Age (2.5 – 2.0 mya)
Significance: Climate change during the Ice Age resulted in extinction of Australopithecus as they could not adapt to the changed climate. This cleared the way for species which was more suited to the changed conditions.
Two developments from Timeline 2:
Early evidence of burials (300,000 years ago)
Significance: This shows that complex social life had already developed among humans.
Development of voice box (200,000 years ago)
Significance: This paved the way for development of language as an important means of communication. Use of language for communication enabled humans to pass the acquired knowledge through generations.