The Stone Age is a period of history that started more than 2 million years ago and lasted until about 5,000 years ago. It’s called the Stone Age because the ape-like people, known as ‘hominins’, who lived at that time used stone materials to make tools and weapons.
But my 5-year-old wants to know where Stone Age people came from. So let’s find out more about our ancestors and human evolution…
Human evolution was a topic of conversation at the dinner table. My 9-year-old declared that “humans used to be monkeys a long, long time ago”; my 4-year-old worried that she might have monkey children when she grows up.
I explained, as in my answer to Why do monkeys still exist?, that humans have evolved over millions of years, and that monkeys and apes and all other creatures have evolved over millions of years too. I showed her a book called The Story of Life and said that, like other animals, humans have evolved over a long, long time.
She didn’t like the thought of being an animal, so we had a think about what being an animal means…
Bedtime is one of my favourites times of the day. For me, going to bed is a time to get comfy and snuggle down under my duvet, head on pillow, for a good night’s sleep. Lovely.
But my daughters have other ideas at their bedtimes – they want to stay up late, read books, watch TV or play games. I insist on a routine of calming down (no TV or games!), cleaning teeth and brushing hair, maybe a bath, a short story and getting off to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible.
And our cat sleeps for most of the day and the night – he thinks sleeping is great!
So why is it so important to go to bed? What good does sleep do?
Hair is a normal and natural part of the human body. Many people have hair on their heads and it could be yellow (blonde), red/orange, brown, black or grey/white in colour. And you may choose to wear your head hair long or short or style it in different ways.
But have you thought about the hair on other parts of your body? Like your eyebrows or nose hairs or toe hairs? My friend’s daughter has and she wants to know why do people have hairy arms and why are grown-ups hairier than children? So let’s find out…
Humans, like you and me, have existed on Earth for about 200,000 years. We are a species of animal called Homo sapiens, which means ‘wise man’. And just like all animals, we have to eat and drink in order to stay alive.
But what did the first humans eat?
It’s hard for us to know for sure exactly what humans were eating thousands of years ago because we weren’t there! But we do have some ideas based on fossilised remains that scientists have found. So let’s find out more about the early humans’ diet…
My 7-year-old says that humans are part of nature because we drink the same water as animals and plants. We eat and drink and wee and poo like animals. We grow our food in nature (and sometimes animals and birds eat it too). And we evolved from a common ancestor – a very simple creature that lived millions of years ago.
So what is ‘nature’? How are humans a part of nature? And what can we do to look after our natural world?
My three-year-old loves imagination play. Her favourite activity is creating stories and role playing with little figures. Sometimes she invites me or her sister to play along, but she gets frustrated if we don’t do it right. A few days ago, when I was clearly playing the game all wrong, she looked at me and sighed and asked “Can you see my imagination, Mummy?”
Unfortunately, I can’t. All I can do is watch as she turns imagination into reality through a game. But her question got me thinking: what is imagination? And how did our brains develop to allow us to be so creative?
Humans like you and me (from the species Homo sapiens) are thought to come from a group of people that lived in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Fossils have helped scientists to work out when Homo sapiens first evolved from other human-like species and how they travelled across the world. But where did the first modern humans live and who had the first idea to build a house?