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Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 From the Beginning of Time

  • The origin of human beings can be divided into many stages.
  • Subgroup of a larger group of mammals is known as Primates.
  • About 36-24 mya, Primates existed in Asia and Africa.
  • The existence of Hominoids can be traced by about 24 mya.
  • Apes came under Hominoids and had comparatively smaller brain.
  • Hominoids had four legs. Although they moved on their four paws but were unable to walk erect. Hominids which
  • evolved from Hominoids originated in Africa in 5.6 mya.
  • The Hominids belonged to Hominidae family.
  • Hominids are further subdivided into branches known as genus.
  • Homo is originally a Latin word which means ‘man’. Homo came into existence approximately in 2.5 mya. Their fossils
  • date back to 2.2 mya to 1.8 mya.
  • Homo habilis were more intelligent in comparison to Australopithecus.
  • Homo erectus were familiar with the art of walking.
  • In many parts of Asia and Africa, fossils of Homo erectus have been found.
  • Homo sapiens were the modern men. They were intelligent and wise.
  • Homo sapiens came into existence between 0.19 to 0.16 mya.
  • Fossils of Homo habilis have been found at Omo in Ethiopia and at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. The fossils of Homo
  • erectus have been found in Africa and Asia.
  • Homo sapiens were quite intelligent. They used sophisticated tools and languages.
  • Homo neanderthalensis were also called Neanderthal men. Because their fossils have been found in Neander valley in Germany.
  • Terra Amata in Southern France gives the most important evidence. The hut was made of thatch.
  • The life of early men underwent a sea change due to the discovery of fire.
  • Chesowanja in Kenya and Swartkrans in South Africa are the places where the traces of the use of fire have been found.
  • The tools of early men were made of stones. The tools constituted hand axes, choppers and flake tools.
  • The earliest evidence of stone tools were found in Ethiopia and Kenya.
  • About 21,000 years ago, sewing needle was invented.
  • The art of speech helped the man to develop culturally.
  • The early human beings painted the pictures of flora and fauna, sun, moon, rivers and their daily activities.
  • Paintings were done on the walls and roofs of the caves. Altamira, Lascaux and Chauvet are considered to be the earliest famous cave paintings.
  • The early humans also made small sized sculptures.
  • The Hadza were also fond of hunting and lived around the salty lake, Lake Eyasi.
  • Altamira is a cave site in Spain.
  • Marcelino Sanz deSautula and his daughter Maria brought into notice the cave paintings.
  • Mary and Louis Leakey identified Otduvai.
  • Some historians think that ethnographic data cannot be used without understanding of the past society.
  • Ethnography stands for the analytical study of contemporary ethnic society.
  • The early humans were completely dependent on nature.
  • They gathered food by fishing and hunting.
  • Hooks and harpoons were used to gather small and large fishes.
  • Early men lived on trees, in caves and later on in huts.
  • Early men began to live in caves around 400,000 years ago.
  • Cave Lazaret is the earliest example of cave dwelling. It is in Southern France.

Important terms:

  • Fossils: The remains of ancient plants, animals and humans which have become hard and turned into rock.
  • Species: A group of organisms that can be bred to produce healthy and fertile offspring which are divided smaller than Genus.
  • Primates: They are subgroup of a larger group of mammals, and have a long gestation period followed by birth, mammary glands, different types of teeth, and ability to maintain a constant body temperature.
  • Artefacts: Objects made by human beings such as tools, painting, sculpture, engravings, etc.
  • Anthropology: A branch of science which deals with human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology.
  • Ethnography: The study of contemporary ethnic group. It studies the modes of livelihood, gender, political institutions, social customs, etc.
  • Australopithecus: Southern apes.
  • Homo: A Latin word which means man.
  • Homo erectus: Human who could walk erect on their legs.
  • Homo sapiens: Wiseman, also known as modern humans.
Timeline 1 (mya)
36-24 mya Primates; Monkeys in Asia and Africa
24 mya (Superfamily) Hominoids; Gibbons, Asian orang-utan and African apes (gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo or ‘pygmy’ chimpanzee)
6.4 mya Branching out of hominoids and hominids
5.6 mya Australopithecus
2.6-2.5 Earliest stone tools
2.5-2.0 Cooling and drying of Africa, resulting in decrease in woodlands and increase in grasslands
2.5-2.0 mya Homo
2.2 mya Homo habilis
1.8 mya Homo erectus
1.3 mya Extinction of Australopithecus
0.8 mya ‘Archaic’ sapiens, Homo heidelbergensis
0.19-0.16 mya Homo sapiens (modern humans)


Timeline 2 (years ago)
Earliest evidence of burials 300,000
Extinction of Homo erectus 200,000
Development of voice box 200,000
Archaic Homo sapiens skull in the Narmada valley, India 200,000-130,000
Emergence of modern humans 195,000-160,000
Emergence of Neanderthals 130,000
Earliest evidence of hearths 125,000
Extinction of Neanderthals 35,000
Earliest evidence of figurines made of fired clay 27,000
Invention of sewing needles 21,000


Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 From the Beginning of Time 1

Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 From the Beginning of Time 2

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