The Developement Of Civilization Essay Research Paper

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The Developement Of Civilization Essay, Research Paper According to Webster?s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, civilization is ?a relatively high level of cultural and technological development, specifically the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained?. Other sources trace the meaning of civilization to political, economic, military and social structures as well as the heightened intellectual and artistic aspects of life (Spielvogel,xxxi). Civilization developed as the crises of everyday life necessitated change. As history progresses, we study our past in search of guidance and other crucial information to help us along the way. The study of civilization also plays as an agent to defer us from duplicating past blunders.

Before recent finds in East Africa, paleoanthropologists thought civilization began in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, often referred to as the fertile crescent. In the year 1959, Mary Leaky, coming from a prestigious paleoanthropological family, found a nearly complete human like skull which dated back to before the fossils of any Southeast Asian finds. In 1972, a team led by her son Richard found the remains of a skeleton over 200,000 years older (Lerner,4-5). These ancient people are known as Australopithecines and wandered through East and South Africa (Spielvogel,3) The tools of these people were very crude. They seem to have been made for agricultural purposes. From this human like species, also referred to as Homo habilis, another group sprouted. They represent the second

stage of human life and are called Homo erectus (Lerner,6-7). The finds in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley date at about 1.5 million years old. Migrants from Africa, also part of the Homo erectus group, they began to apply the use of larger and more sophisticated tools (Spielvogel,3). They were not only physically advancing in their height, compared to the pygmy sized Homo habilis, but had an increased brain capacity as well. It is taken from the fossils of these people that language may well have began in this form of human (Lerner,8). They had enlarged cavities in the front of the neck. Soon different dialects would run rampant. These people, the Neanderthals, were also nomadic. They followed the herds along their migratory patterns and gathered other sustenance consisting mostly

of plants and their roots along the way. It is believed that approximately 400,000 years ago, Homo erectus learned to use fire (Lerner,9). They also began to travel farther distances, for the earliest evidence of the wheel used in travel was found to be in 35,000 BCE (Calder,54). There is conflicting information as to when the Homo erectus began evolving into the Homo sapien. Some say it was in 28,000 BCE (Lerner,9), others say it was between 18,000 and 13,000 BCE (Spielvogel,3). Facts would point to the earlier years, where the Sumerian city-states, Egyptian Civilization (especially the Old Kingdom), and cuneiform began to emerge. ?Groups of people advanced beyond their old hunting grounds at a rate of only two or three miles per generation (Spielvogel,3).? They began making

waterproof shelters of their own. With this new advance in addition to the discovery and use of fire, man was able to move to climates other than the reasonably comfortable settlements of Africa and Southeast Asia (Calder,49). Thousands of years later, in between 9,000 and 8,000 BCE, man began to take its first steps toward domesticating animals. In the area of early Iran, men began herding sheep and goats (Lerner,16). They also learned how to preserve meat by using methods of smoking, salting and drying, and in the colder climates, refrigeration (Calder,56). This would provide an emergency food stock in case their primary food source was somehow cut off. The major employment of agriculture as a mainstay of life occurred in about 10,000 BCE. This major transition from hunting,