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Ch1-The Birth of Civilization - CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 3:57...

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The Birth of Civilization 1 1 S CIENTISTS ESTIMATE THAT THE EARTH MAY BE AS many as 6 billion years old and that the first humanlike creatures ap- peared in Africa perhaps 3 to 5 million years ago. Some 1 to 2 million years ago, erect and tool-using early humans spread over much of Africa, Europe, and Asia (see Map 1–1 on page 4). Our own species, Homo sapiens , probably emerged some 200,000 years ago, and the earliest remains of fully modern humans date to about 100,000 years ago. The earliest humans lived by hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. Only some 10,000 years ago did they learn to cultivate plants, herd animals, and make airtight pottery for storage. These discov- eries transformed them from gatherers to producers and allowed them to grow in number and to lead a settled life. Begin- ning about 5,000 years ago a far more A carved or etched limestone statue , from about 2500 B . C . E ., believed by scholars to be a king or a priest from Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus valley in present-day Pakistan. Early Humans and Their Culture Early Civilizations in the Middle East to about 1000 B . C . E . Ancient Near Eastern Empires Early Indian Civilization Early Chinese Civilization The Rise of Civilization in the Americas CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 1
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Then, from about 7000 B . C . E ., innovations began. Hu- mans learned to till the soil, domesticate animals, and make pots for the storage of food. A few millennia later, bronze was discovered, and the so-called river valley civi- lizations formed along the Nile, the Tigris-Euphrates, the Indus, and the Yellow rivers. Cities arose. Writing was in- vented. Societies divided into classes or castes: Most members engaged in farming, a few traded, and others as- sumed military, priestly, or governmental roles. As these civ- ilizations expanded, they became richer, more populous, and more powerful. The last millennium B . C . E . witnessed two major develop- ments. One was the emergence, between roughly 600–300 B . C . E ., of the religious and philosophical revolutions that would indelibly mark their respective civilizations: monotheistic Ju- daism from which would later develop the world religions of Christianity and Islam; Hinduism and Buddhism in southern Asia; the philosophies of Greece and China. The second de- velopment was the rise of the Iron Age empires—the Roman, The way of life of prehistoric cave dwellers differed immensely from that of today’s civilized world. Yet the few millennia in which we have been civilized are but a tiny fraction of the long span of human exis- tence. Especially during the recent millen- nia, changes in our culture/way of life have far outpaced changes in our bodies. We retain the emotional makeup and motor reflexes of prehistoric men and women while living highly organized and often sedentary lives.
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