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Long Questions with Answers: From The Beginning Of Time | History Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

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Q.1. How would early humans have obtained food?

Early humans would have obtained food in a number of ways. These ways included gathering, hunting, scavenging, and fishing.

  1. Gathering. The process of gathering includes the collection of plant foods like berries, seeds, nuts, tubers, and fruits. We can generally assume about the process of gathering because very few pieces of evidence are available about it. Enough amounts of fossil bones are available, but fossilized plants are rarely found. The only way to gather information about plant intake would be if plant remains were accidentally burnt. Carbonization takes place with this burning. In this way, organic matter is preserved for a long time. But so far, archaeologists have not found enough evidence of carbonized seeds for this very early period.
  2. Hunting. Probably hunting began later, around 500,000 years ago. From two sites of Boxgrove in southern England (500,000 years ago) and Schoningen in Germany (400,000 years ago), the earliest clear evidence for planned, deliberate hunting and butchery of large mammals have been found.
  3. Scavenging. The early hominids scavenged for meat and marrow from the carcasses of those animals which had died naturally or had been killed by other larger animals (predators). It is quite possible that small mammals like birds, rodents, reptiles, and even insects were also eaten by early hominids.
  4. Fishing. Fishing was also an important way of obtaining food for early humans. It is evident from the discovery of fish bones at different sites.

Q.2. Discuss the residence of early humans in caves and open-air sites.

Caves and open-air sites began to be used between 400,000 and 125,000 years ago. Evidence of these has been found from the sites in Europe.

  1. A 12 × 4 meter shelter was built against the cave wall in the Lazaret cave in southern France. Two hearths and evidence of many food sources like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, bird eggs, and freshwater fish, etc., have been found from these caves.
    Another site is Terra Amata which is situated on the coast of southern France. Here flimsy shelters with roofs of grasses and wood were built. These shelters were built for short-term seasonal visits.
  2. Pieces of burnt bone and baked clay along with stone tools have been found at Chesowanja in Kenya and Swartkrans in South Africa. These are dated between 1.4 and 1 million years ago. It is not known whether these were the result of a natural bushfire or the result of any volcanic eruption. It is also not known that whether they were produced through the deliberate and controlled use of fire or not.

On the other hand, hearths are the indicators of the controlled use of fire. This had many advantages.

  • They could have used to provide warmth and light inside the caves.
  • They could have been used for cooking.
  • Except for this, the fire was used to harden wood like the tip of the spear.
  • The heat was also used to facilitate the flaking of tools.
  • More importantly, the fire could be used to scare away dangerous animals.

Q.3. Could the information about present hunter and gathering societies be used to understand past societies?

There are two opposing views on the issue of whether the information about present hunter and gathering societies could be used to understand past societies. These views are given below:

  1. First View. One group of scholars have directly used specific data of present-day hunter-gatherer societies to interpret the archaeological remains of the past societies. For example, few scholars are of the view that hominid sites, which are 2 million years old, along the margins of Lake Turkana, probably were the dry season camps of early humans. It is so because such a practice has been observed among the Kung San and the Hadza people.
  2. Second View. On the other hand, some scholars are of the view that ethnographic data cannot be used to understand past societies. According to them, they both are very much different from each other. For example, present-day hunter-gatherer societies are engaged in many other economic activities along with hunting and gathering. These activities include the exchange and trade in minor forest produce. Few societies are working as paid laborers in the fields of neighboring farmers. Except this, the conditions in which they live are very much different from the conditions of early humans.The living style of modern hunter-gatherer societies is also different. There are conflicting data on many issues. For example, present hunter societies give different importance to hunting and gathering. Their sizes are also different, i.e., larger or smaller. Their activities are also different.There is no consensus about the division of labor in the procurement of food. It is also true that most women gather and men hunt. But few examples of those societies are also there where both women and men hunt, gather, and make tools. Maybe this ensures a relatively equal role for both women and men in present-day hunter-gatherer societies. So it is quite difficult to draw a conclusion about the past in the present condition.

Q.4. Whether modern humans originated from one region or several regions simultaneously? Explain logically.

There are two divergent views about the origin of modem humans:

  1. Regional continuity model (with multiple regions of origin) and
  2. Replacement model (with a single origin in Africa).
  • According to the former view, modern humans evolved at different rates in different regions. This is the reason variations in the first appearance are found. It has been seen that there are differences in populations of Homo erectus and Homo Heidel biogenesis of the same region.
  • The latter view favors complete replacement everywhere of all older forms of humans with modern-looking humans. Genetic and physiological similarity supports this view. Fossils found at Omo in Ethiopia support this view.

Q.5. Describe any aborigine society at present which can throw light on the hunting-gathering societies of the past.

  • The living memories of Hazda aborigine in Tanzania (Africa) throw light on the hunting-gathering societies millions of years ago. We see thorn scrub and acacia trees grown in Eastern Hazda, a dry land rocky Savanna. There is no dearth of wild foods in this Savanna. Animals live elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wiser back, gazelle, warthog, lion, leopard, and hyenas are amply found here.
  • Apart from the flesh of these animals, Hazda society enjoys its food of roots, berries, baobab fruit, etc. Smaller animals for food are also available here. These are- porcupine, hare, jackal, tortoise, etc. Seven species of bees are also found here, and honey is eaten. They make their home in the trees and caves in the rocks. They assert no rights over land, and every individual of society is free to live where he desires. They do frequent change and shift in their camps or dwelling places.

Q.6. Describe the gradual evolution of modern-looking humans in the sequence.

  • While going over the pedigree of earlier societies, we observe that they are classified into the group, the superfamily, family, genus, and species according to gradual changes in their physical forms. The order of group contains primates in which the earliest apes/monkeys of the world in Africa and Asia are kept. At time scale, it refers to 36 – 24 million years ago (mya). The second step of evolution which took place during 24mya, is put underclass – superfamily. It was the period of Hominids consisting of Gibbons, orangutan, and African apes (viz. gorilla, Chimpanzee, and bonobo or pygmy Chimpanzee).
  • The Hominoids thereafter classified in the family during 6.4mya. These were only early humans known as Hominids. The so-called time i.e., 5.6mya grouped as a genus consisting of Australopithecus and Homo. The change in their physical features and activities during the period 2.2mya, 1.8mya, and 0.8mya were grouped in species because “Homo” had got three simultaneous growing species i.e. Habilis, Erectus, and archaic Sapiens respectively. Finally, during 0.19 to 0.16mya certain specific changes in body, mind, motors, and instincts were seen, and the historians as also archaeologists had declared the resultant Homo as Sapiens sapiens or the modem-looking humans.

Q.7. When did the primates begin the use of caves and open-air sites? Give your answer with archaeological evidence.

  • On the basis of archaeological evidence, it can be stated that the primates should have used to live in caves and open-air sites sometime between 4 and 1-j lakh years ago. Two hearths, shelter 12 x 4metre and flimsy shelters had been discovered. The sites from where artifacts and other things found are Kilombe and Olorgesailie in Kenya (dated between 71akh and 51akh years ago) and Terra Amata in France (Dated between 4 lakh and 1- lakh years ago).
  • Construction of huts, post holes, tents, storage pits and circular pattern of dwelling places started around 35,000 years ago as traces of likewise construction has been discovered by Archaeologists. The evidence of hearth can be understood as the best evidence for the use of fire by primitive people during 1-lakh years ago. Such evidence is found at Chesowanja, Kenya, and Swartkrans in South Africa.

Q.8. How can you say that the Homo heidelbergensis and Homo Neanderthalensis primates found in Germany were migrated from Africa?

  • The first and foremost ground is that the group of African apes is most closely related to hominids. Secondly, the earliest hominid fossils are present in East Africa from about 5.6mya. While those found outside Africa are no earlier than l.Omya. One more thing that supports our assumption is that the early hominid fossils belong to the genus Australopithecus. 
  • The fossils of Homo heidelbergensis and Homo Neanderthalensis of Germany pertain to 0.8 and 0.1 mya i.e. after 4 -mya of the fossils found in Africa. Fossils of Neanderthals discovered from Europe, Western and Central Asia belong to roughly 1,30,0 to 35,000 years ago. On these premises, we can state that the earliest societies migrated from Africa to other continents including Asia and Europe.

Q.9. What questions have been raised regarding printing, engraving, and female-male figurines discovered in remains dated 30,0 years ago? Write the explanations to them also.

We know that several remains of artifacts, including painting, engraving, etc. have been discovered in the cave of Altamira in Northern Spain, Dolni Vestonice, Predmosti, Lascaux cave, and Grotte Chauvet in France dated back 50,000 years ago.
The questions raised about them are-

  • Why do some areas of caves have paintings and not others?
  • Why some animals were painted and not others?
  • Why men were painted individually and in groups?
  • Why women depicted were only in groups?
  • Why men were painted near animals but never women? And
  • Why groups of animals were painted in the areas of caves where sounds carried well?


  • Paintings of animals were associated with ritual and magic because of the importance of hunting,
  • It might have possible that those caves were meeting places for small groups of people or locations for group activities,
  • It is difficult to tell something certain about the function of female figurines.

Q.10. Whether the information about living hunters and gatherers can be used to reconstruct the life of humans in the remote past?

  • Currently, there are two opposing views on this issue. A group of scholars applies existing data of hunting-gathering societies for interpretation of the remains of the past. They say the hominid sites dated 2mya of Turkana lakeside could have been dry season camps of early humans. Some other scholars refuse this view. According to them, likewise, ethnographic data cannot be used for understanding the past societies as the two are absolutely different e.g., present-day societies pursue some other economic activities simultaneous to hunting and gathering.
  • They do exchange and trade minor forest produce or work as paid labor in the fields of neighboring farmers. There is also little consensus on the division of labor in food procurement. Somewhere we see women engage them in gathering and men hunt, but at some other places, both of them are equally engaged in gathering, hunting, and tool making. However, we can say it with confirmation that women had a predominant role in contributing to the food supply in such societies. In such a circumvent position, it is difficult to make any such reference for the past.

Q.11. Write the stages of development of language in earliest societies? Do you think humans know a fully developed language from the outset?

  • We see every manner, effort, and application of physical organs as also mental intuitions/ instinct among primates started in a seriatim and never it got a windfall or phenomenon with the pace of increase in needs, the man had ab-initio did invention or forage. The exact time for spoken language cannot be stated as there is lying certain controversy. The fossils of Homo habilis (dated between 2.2 and 2mya) discovered from Omo in Ethiopia, and Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (dated between 1.85 and 1.6mya) had certain features that would have made it possible for them to speak. Hence, we associate that period with the beginning of spoken language among primitive people.
  • The vocal tract was developed in them 21akh years ago. Some relate the beginning of spoken language to 40,000 to 35,000 years ago when they learned art and painting. Among hominids, the language was in the form of gestures and hand movements. According to some other scholars, the primates learned first singing and humming. It was vocal but non-verbal communication. It has been considered that humans may have possessed a small number of speech sounds in the initial stage, and gradually, it would have developed in straightforward language.

Q.12. Mention the name of sites and the period, the earliest fossils of modern humans discovered by archeologists.

The human fossils were found first in Ethiopia (Africa) at Omo Kibish I. These fossils relate to the period 1.951akh to 1.60lakh years ago. The fossils found in Border cave, Die Kelders, and Klasies River mouth (Africa) are 1.20 lakh – 50,000 years ago. Human fossils discovered at Dares Solton in Morocco relate to 70,000 – 50,000 years ago. Similarly, the fossils at Qafzeh Skhul in Israel relate to the period 1 lakh – 80,000 years ago. Fossils found at Niah cave in Borneo dated to 40,000 the others at Lake Mungo in Australia dated to 45,000 – 35,000 years ago, that of Liujiang and Zhoukoudien in China dated to 20,000 – 15,000 years ago and that of Cro-Magnon (near Les Eyzies) in France dated to 35,000 years ago.

Q.13. When did the earliest form of humans evolve, and where? Why are there opposing views about the time period of evolution of the earliest form of humans, the ways of their obtaining food, certain changes in physical features, etc.?

Human fossils, stone tools, artifacts, and paintings are the only source of information regarding the beginning of human existence. It has been estimated on the basis of these sources of information that the earliest form of humans had evolved from chimpanzees in Africa. Different sites were excavated under the supervision of archaeologists in Africa. These were:

  • Bahr el Ghazal, Chad
  • Hadar and Omo in Ethiopia,
  • Laetoli, Tanzania
  • Allia Bay and Kanapoi in Kenya and
  • Lothagam in Kenya.

The fossils found in Lothagam (Kenya) are dated to 5.6mya. On the basis of this information, it has been estimated that the earliest human form would have evolved in 5.6million years ago. Excavation of sites started in the year 1859 when Charles Darwin’s works – “On The Origin Of Species” got published. It had clarified the evolution of humans from animals a long time ago and it was not at all God’s specific creation.
The gradual process of evolution started as early as 24 mya from the old-world monkeys of Asia and Africa. They were called Primates. Hominids (comprising gibbons, Asian orang-utan, and African apes) evolved during 24mya. Hominids (early humans) evolved far back 6.4mya named as family. Australopithecus evolved from hominids 5.6mya and named Genus. Then there evolved Homo, which took certain physical changes in three stages, i.e., Habilis, Erectus, and archaic sapiens. Finally, dated to 0.19 – 0.16mya, the sapiens or modern-looking humans came into existence.
Reason for Controversy:

  • An investigation on primal forms of humans started in 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s book. Till then, nothing was done as the man had been considered specific creation. of god. Hence, it is usual to construct divergent views on several aspects relating to the evolution of human forms. The fossil of the earliest human was discovered on 17th July 1959 at Olduvai George in Tanzania by Mary and L.S.B. Leakey. Maximum information was thus, gathered from the human fossils found there. There are divergent views on the integration of the genus Australopithecus from Africa to Europe and Asia.
  • This genus was of an earlier time than Homo habilis, but there is sufficient resemblance in two. Homo erectus resembles Homo sapiens, and it was found both in Africa and Asia. On the V basis of that resemblance, some scholars confirm their migration from Africa to Asia while some others argue that Homo erectus did not leave Africa until one million years ago. They assume it automatic change in archaic forms of Homo sapiens after 0.5mya. Again, we see divergent views about the origin of modem humans (i.e. Homo sapiens sapiens). Some scholars say its evolution at one place i.e. Africa while some others say its simultaneous origin in several countries i.e. Africa, Asia, and Europe.
  • In a nutshell, we would like to state that owing to the most ancient period when the evolution process of humans started, the different missions of archaeologists to investigate about past history of humans, certain study manners on the fossils, artifacts, tools, and many other diverse pieces of evidence gathered by them are the causes for divergent views on each aspect of the earliest human societies. However, it remains to state that proper analysis has been made and a generalized view is supported in the process. The generalization of views finally leads us to the facts about the earliest human forms. Hence, divergen1 views are all possible while working out the things of so long past.

Q.14. What do you understand by the term Paleolithic?

The term Paleolithic is derived from the Greek terms Palaios meaning ancient and Lithos meaning stone. Archaeologists refer to the period between 2.5mya and 9000 years ago as the Paleolithic or the old stone age in Europe. Stone tools were used first dated to 2.5mya and agriculture began dated to 9000 years ago.

Q.15. What were the ways of obtaining food among early societies?

As per evidence obtained by archaeologists, there were four ways of obtaining food prevalent among early societies of primates. These were:

  • gathering
  • hunting
  • scavenging and
  • fishing.

Collection of edible seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, and tubers denote gathering activity. The archaeologists say, “there is very little evidence for gathering activity”. There is controversy about scavenging or foraging for meat and marrow activity adopted by hominids. The majority of opinions establish eating of the dead animals by them. It is equally possible that rodents, eggs, birds, reptiles, and insects may have been eaten by hominids. Hunting activity was adopted after a long period of scavenging activity. It came into existence around 5 lakh years ago. Evidence of hunting activity was collected from Boxgraove in England and Schoringen in Germany.

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Long Questions with Answers: From The Beginning Of Time | History Class 11 - Humanities/Arts


Long Questions with Answers: From The Beginning Of Time | History Class 11 - Humanities/Arts