Talk:Paleolithic/Archive 1

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Archive 1

Stone Age

Shoud it murged? -- ChongDae 2 July 2005 13:59 (UTC)

Merged? No, because it also includes Epipaleolithic etc. --Joy [shallot] 2 July 2005 15:44 (UTC)

Dating of Upper Paleolithic Revolution

I'm not sure, but I think putting the boundary between the middle and upper Paleolithic at 40,000 years ago rather than 30000 would be closer to the mark. --arkuat [[User_talk:Eric Forste|(talk)]] 06:14, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Unverified(?) and unsourced assertions

Article as of April 17 2006 (saying that the Paleolithic runs from 2,500,000 BCE - 10,000 BCE, approx) contains many assertions which would seem to be difficult to prove and are not sourced, e.g. paleolithic religious beliefs, mythology, social stuctures, technology, and herbalism. Please folks, either cite your sources for these or remove them. -- 04:37, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Right on! I've added a few {{Fact}} tags, but not nearly as many as are needed. --arkuat (talk) 01:56, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Just about anything concerning behavior or thoughts or social structures, etc., this far back in history is necessarily speculation. I'm not sure that it belongs in an article that should be limiting itself to established facts. Agateller 23:39, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


I'd argue that "paleolithic religious beliefs, mythology, social stuctures, technology, and herbalism" are virtually unable to be proven, particularly the tripe about equality of the sexes. Now sexual equality is all fine and good, but there is no evidence at all that such "enlightened" notions were gerenally or specifically held by any Paleolithic groups.

What's your evidence that they weren't? Penfold 18:08, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
There's no evidence either way, and so speculation on these details is unwarranted. Agateller 23:40, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
That's fine but you are assuming sexual inequality in the absence of evidence to the contrary, and in consequence your two comments are contradictory. Penfold 09:55, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
No, he's not saying he has evidence of sexual inequality, just that there's none in support of sexual equality. So the claim should be removed until someone can bring proof. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. 13:54, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of "Provable," who here as any cold, hard, definite (not 'aproximate) proof that the 'paleolithic era' ever existed? I don't, and I don't know anyone who does. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Invmog (talkcontribs) 03:02, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

i have to agree that the use of the language in this article is less than appropriate. First of all, as someone said before, you can't say "there was equality among the sexes" because there is no scientific data that would proof this statement and it would also be a valoration of a situation through today's morality. The only possible way of putting it out is that: according to comparative studies, it is very possible that the division of the work would be that women would recolect and men would hunt". It's a probability, not a fact, since work don't leave any trace behind, nor other types of social relations. In fact, comparative studies have been critisized by many scholars lately. I also consider bold to say that they had some sort of religion, again, is a matter of giving certain values to something that might not have been. Like my prehistory professor said: "imagine ten thousand years from now, some archaeologists find the sit of a WC, all round and white and decide that it's a necklace and that it's so big because they only used it for rituals". Same thing here. We can't be certain that they had any kind of religion,in fact, the cave paintings and the venus of Willendorf are the only religion-related artifacs/art, the venus is from a very late period, and the caves have not been asigned to any culture. For all we know, they could have been done by Neanderthals, therefor, not homo sapiens sapiens.

The herbs are quite documented, you only need to add that this wide knowledge of herbs was confirmed with the finding of the Similaun Man or Ötzi the Iceman(wikis article uses this last term), in the Alps, the man was frozen and he had with him a bag with herbs. Nemi 00:58, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Its true that the archeological evidence proves that there was sexual equality in the Paleolithic (i have three sources to prove it[1][2][3]]. In fact according to the Museum of Antiquites web site the archeological evidence indicates that women played equally important roles in Paleolithic life and evidence from burials and art indicates a number of individual women had high status within their bands. Also in addition the anthropologist Jared Diamond proposes in his essay the Worst mistake in the history of the human race that the status of women declined during the adoption of agriculture.--Fang 23 (talk) 16:15, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done

Dead link

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

    • In Perpetual motion on Fri Jun 30 14:32:18 2006, Non-ASCII Characters in URL: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\u0107' in position 25: ordinal not in range(128)
    • In Paleolithic on Thu Jul 20 01:56:14 2006, Non-ASCII Characters in URL: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\u0107' in position 25: ordinal not in range(128)

maru (talk) contribs 05:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Are there any accounts of how ancient societies - the Greeks,Romans, etc. thought about about the Paleolithics? What they may have learned or valued? They certainly valued the work enough to not destroy it.

K.Conley Annandale, VA

Major content deletion

This entry is so lacking in credibility and readability, I suggest that all the content be deleted except for the last section linking to the three main eras of the paleolithic. The hunter-gatherer entry is more thorough and covers the same ground.LC | Talk 00:57, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

This is the worst article, by far, I've seen on Wikipedia in two years of frequent use. I strongly second the deletion, for the same reasons given above--lack of credibility and readabilty. W.A. McCray, Portsmouth, NH

I agree. This article is not only a horrid example of writing and non-bias, but it is also in terrible shape. I suggest deletion of most of the content and replacement with a short summary and links to the eras. This article should also be watched for vandalism; I know there are probably a few religious people who would find it amusing to promote their own history to a scientific page. - Howryn 15:07, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Me2ing vigorously. It's awful. I propose, as a provisional solution, that everything contained in "Way of Life" be deleted, given how poorly written and inaccurate it is, and how hard it would be to describe one "way of life" that spanned several near and human species. If no one objects in the next week or two, I'm coming back and operating. sNkrSnee | t.p. 07:01, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

It probably can be cut back a fair amount. Notice the navbox for articles which cover other Paleolithic time periods; you might check in those articles for sections equivalent to one which you're editing. For example, "Tools" could use the Lower Paleolithic mention of "Members of Homo habilis used Olduwan tools and had learned to control fire to support the hunter-gatherer method of subsistence." and follow it with a version of the Upper Paleolithic mention of "Advanced darts and harpoons also appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamp, rope, and the eyed needle." (SEWilco 19:12, 9 October 2007 (UTC))
Thanks, those seem like useful suggestions. I'm still a dabbler, so I think I'll put a draft in a subfolder on my user page (like CloudNine proposed below) for feedback before loading it up here. I'll drop you a note once I get going, if you're interested. Meanwhile, other opinions are still most welcome! sNkrSnee | t.p. 17:44, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Article rewrite

I'm currently rewriting the article here, utilising images and media from the Spanish FA. Feel free to leave any comments during its development. CloudNine 11:16, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Simplified human genealogy

whats with the #s on that timeline. shouldnt there be a key to clarify the time scales? 01:57, 5 May 2007 (UTC)


I realise (can't see any talk-page archives) that this may not have been anyone else's choice but why is it Paleolithic as opposed to Palaeolithic? Both are generally acceptable, why one over the other? Yes I'm a loser. Cheers, Rothery 13:09, 29 August 2007 (UTC).

When an article has no American or British (or other) focus and therefore preferred spelling, it is supposed to follow whatever the original creator used. That said, it's pretty likely that the spelling here may have been changed back and forth from time to time. Cheers Geologyguy 13:47, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

i have to argee wthi thsi 2. i life ti alot thfank ioyu  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 8 October 2007 (UTC) 

No malnutrition?

Under the heading "Diet and Nutrition," the author writes, "there are no signs of malnutrition." This is simply not true! There are plenty of signs of malnutrition in Paleolithic hominids, including modern humans. While it is true that people suffered much more malnutrition after the advent of agriculture, those living before the Neolithic were often in pretty bad shape nutritionally, too. I think this should be removed from the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Formida42 (talkcontribs) 04:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done


This source says that human societies stopped fighting during the Paleolithic because the population density was low and the development of intergroup relations of friendship, mutuality, sharing, and cooperation also helped prevent violent conflict, then this article said that these cooperative relations between groups compelled humans to emigrate out of Africa when resources became scarce rather than fighting over the scarce resources, Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa during the middle Paleolithic (c. 100,000 BCE), so I can conclude from this article (even though it doesn’t directly say it), that both middle and upper Paleolithic societies were devoid of warfare (and that lower Paleolithic humans presumably did fight) so please don’t remove the statement "Like the societies of our closest existent relative the Bonobo[42] Middle and Upper Paleolithic societies were fundamentally egalitarian[43][44][29][39] and did not engage in organized violence between groups (i.e. war),[45]" as unsourced or unverifiable.--Fang 23 (talk) 23:16, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Image caption

I don't understand what this text from the Arrowhead image means:

  • "Humans may have partook in long distance between bands for rare commodities and raw materials (such as stone needed for making tools) as early as 120,000 years ago in Middle Paleolithic."

--Phenylalanine (talk) 00:30, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

It means that humans traded for commodities such as raw materials to make stone tools during the Middle Paleolithic (such as the arrow head in the picture though the arrow head in the picture isn’t exactly from the Paleolithic era).--Fang 23 (talk) 01:39, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, but what does this mean "partook in long distance between bands"? Is there a word missing in there or am I missing something? --Phenylalanine (talk) 01:43, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Oops I forgot to write long distance trade instead of long distance.--Fang 23 (talk) 01:45, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
That's good. Bell Telephone's toll charges for teleconferencing were enormous in those days. -- SEWilco (talk) 01:48, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Horticulture and herbalism

Does anyone think that the information "Both Middle and Upper Paleolithic cultures appear to have had significant knowledge about plants and herbs and may have, albeit very rarely, practiced rudimentary forms of horticulture.[50][51] Bananas and Tubers in paticular may have been cultivated as early as 25,000 BP in Soulth East Asia.[51]" looks better/belongs in the Food and diet secton rather then the technology section?--Fang 23 (talk) 03:48, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

I think this information definitely belongs in the "Diet and Nutrition" section. --Phenylalanine (talk) 16:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC)


Should I add extra sections about the diffrent subdivisions of the paleolithic era (Upper Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic Lower Paleolithic) in the Chronology section?--Fang 23 (talk) 15:19, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

In my opinion, it's not necessary. The way the article is now structured, these chronological subdivisions are already referred to in the different sections of the article, i.e. on evolution, society, nutrition, etc. If you chose to create new sections for these subdivisions, they would have to be very brief, like a one paragraph summary for each subdivision. --Phenylalanine (talk) 15:40, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

under no circumstances can the clactonian be considered an independent culture! B1zki7 (talk) 18:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Image of legumes in "Nutrition" section removed

See discussion at User talk:Richardf630. --Phenylalanine (talk) 19:17, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I replaced the picture of the beans on the Paleolithic article with a new more relevant picture.--Fang 23 (talk) 20:40, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Nice pic! --Phenylalanine (talk) 21:28, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

"Era" vs something else

There are lots of instances of "Paleolithic era" in the article. As a geologist, this really grates on me - I realize that the Paleolithic is not strictly a geologic time period, but is it really common among anthropologists to call it an era rather than "Paleolithic period" or Paleolithic time, or whatever? I didn't want to change it without discussion, but I feel that something other than "era" would be better. Cheers Geologyguy (talk) 02:05, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking of changing era to period but that wont help because the term period like the term era is also used to measure geologic time so i think we should either change it to Paleolithic time or not change it at all.--Fang 23 (talk) 18:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Prehistoric chronology

Someone reading the article might have trouble visualizing where in time the Paleolithic is situated compared to other prehistoric epochs and ages. The following list may be useful:

   * Pleistocene epoch (highly glaciated climate)
         o Paleolithic age (Stone Age) <- you are here
   * Holocene epoch (modern climate)
         o Mesolithic or Epipaleolithic age (Stone Age)
         o Neolithic age (Stone Age)
         o Copper Age
         o Bronze Age
         o Iron Age
   * Historical period (written record begins)

--Phenylalanine (talk) 00:51, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe we can add this table from the Three age system article at the bottom of this article.--Fang 23 (talk) 01:43, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Age Period Tools Economy Dwelling Sites Society Religion
Stone age Paleolithic (you are here) Handmade tools and objects found in nature – cudgel, club, sharpened stone, chopper, handaxe, scraper, spear, Bow and arrow, harpoon, needle, scratch awl Hunting and gathering Mobile lifestyle – caves, huts, tooth or skin hovels, mostly by rivers and lakes A band of edible-plant gatherers and hunters (25-100 people) Evidence for belief in the afterlife first appears in the Middle Paleolithic or Upper Palaeolithic, marked by the appearance of burial rituals and ancestor worship. Priests and sanctuary servants appear in the prehistory.
Mesolithic (other name epipalaeolithic) Handmade tools and objects found in nature – bow and arrow, fish – basket, boats Tribes and Bands
Neolithic Handmade tools and objects found in nature – chisel, hoe, plough, yoke, reaping-hook, grain pourer, barley, loom, earthenware (pottery) and weapons Neolithic Revolution - transition to agriculture. Gathering, hunting, fishing and domestication Farmsteads Tribes and the formation of cheifdoms in some Neolithic societies at the end of this period'
Bronze Age Copper and bronze tools, potter's wheel Agriculturecattle – breeding, agriculture, craft, trade
Iron Age Iron tools Formation of cities Formation of States*
  • Formation of States starts during the Early Bronze Age in Egypt and Mesopotamia and during the Late Bronze Age first empires are founded.

I think both tables should go in the "Chronology" section above the list that's already there (the list I added would come first, then yours). We'll see what the GA reviewers will say. --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:11, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe I should improve my table I am going to add so it will also include the different subdivisions of the Paleolithic.--Fang 23 (talk) 02:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it's obligatory. The different subperiods of the Paleolithic are already indicated in the "Chronology" section. --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Does this look good? I added my table below the prexisting list on my testpage for this article.--Fang 23 (talk) 02:32, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes. What do you think of my proposed version on your user page? --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:43, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I think it is very good. Should i add it to the main article now? (also your "Paleolithic Diet" userbox is a nice userbox)--Fang 23 (talk) 02:54, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I think you can add it. Cheers. --Phenylalanine (talk) 03:06, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done--Fang 23 (talk) 04:37, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I think the table above should be removed from this article since it deals with the entire prehistory and not just the paleolithic. Perhaps we could remove the part about the Bronze Age and Iron Age and move it to the Stone Age article instead? MiCkE 12:01, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the "chronology" section needs some cleaning up now that the new "Paleolithic" template have been added. I am in favor of removing the "three-age system" table. --Phenylalanine (talk) 16:21, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Free textbook chapter available in PDF format

I just found this PDF. It's an awesome source of information on the evolution of humans during the Paleolithic! I would definitely add it as a reference in the article.

(the book at amazon: --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:02, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you very much I also found a new source (though it has less information than your new source) Pre-History, Pre-Civilization, and Paleolithic People by Sue Rowland that gave some more information to add to this article and gave me a new source to back up pre existing information.--Fang 23 (talk) 21:22, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

New Free textbook chapter available in PDF format-Biological anthropology

I went hunting and gathering around on the same site you found the other good textbook ( for more good references and if found another free textbook preview on that site that provides more additional useful information about the evolution of humans and culture during the Paleolithic and Paleolithic technology society and religion. I am going to use it as a reference for the Paleolithic article. --Fang 23 (talk) 01:51, 22 April 2008 (UTC)the link to the chapter I recently found another chapter i recently found

Awesome! This is a great source of information. Also, the information presented is verified by specific sources, so you can use those instead of citing the whole textbook chapter (see above comment by Geologyguy). Cheers! --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:15, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

GA pre-review

Hi Fang 23. You're definitely on the right track. Do the following and I think the article will be ready for GA review (Wikipedia:Good article criteria):

  • Add some more sources (Wikipedia:Verifiability).
  • Make sure the paragraphs aren't too long or too short - 2 lines is probably too short and more than 15-20 lines is maybe too long (Wikipedia:Layout).
  • Make sure the lead briefly summarizes the most important points covered in an article (Wikipedia:Lead section).

--Phenylalanine (talk) 01:41, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I cant make the section on Paleolithic Religion or the other sections (such as the society and technology sections) smaller than 20 lines without getting rid of important information.--Fang 23 (talk) 02:14, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

The length of the sections looks fine. It's the length of the paragraphs in those sections that I'm talking about. Consider diving up the very long paragraphs into smaller ones. It makes it easier to read through the sections. --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:22, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Is it good enough now for review? i split many overly large paragraphs into smaller paragraphs of 2-15 lines that are grouped together based on the similarity of their content.--Fang 23 (talk) 02:07, 8 March 2008 (UTC)Phenylalanine (talk) 23:37, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The article already looks much better, but to meet the "Good article criteria", it needs to provide references to all sources of information. Note that all the references don't have to be in the form of "inline citations". You could rename the current "References" section "Footnotes" and create a new "References" section for sources like books and articles that give good overviews of the subject and that provide references to all sources of information that aren't already covered by the inline citations. Also, the lead doesn't briefly summarize the most important points covered in the article. Make sure at least every section of the article is briefly summarized in the lead. --Phenylalanine (talk) 13:14, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

What exactly are the most important points in this article? I need to know this so i can include them in the lead section of this article.--Fang 23 (talk) 16:23, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The following basic topics covered in the article should be very briefly summarized in the lead - not more than one or two sentences per point (I struck the ones that are already covered in the lead):
  • 1 Chronology
  • 2.1 Human evolution during the Paleolithic
  • 3 Climate
  • 4.1 Technology
  • 4.2.1 Social organization
  • 4.2.2 Paleolithic Art
  • 4.2.3 Religion and beliefs
  • 4.3 Diet and nutrition

--Phenylalanine (talk) 17:19, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Done i added all the basic information into the lead--Fang 23 (talk) 23:27, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

The sentences in the lead should be grouped together in two or three paragraphs (Wikipedia:Lead section). --Phenylalanine (talk) 23:37, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I merged the paragraphs into two large paragraphs.--Fang 23 (talk) 00:45, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Make sure all statements are referenced (either by in-line citations or general references as indicated above), and this article will be ready for GA review! Thanks! --Phenylalanine (talk) 01:20, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Nearly all the information in this article is now verified by in line citations or general references.--Fang 23 (talk) 22:56, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Good Article Criteria 2(a) states that a "Good article" must provide references to all sources of information. An article will automatically fail any "Good article review" if it doesn't meet this criteria. --Phenylalanine (talk) 23:58, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Most of the text is now verified by inline citations. If the references verify the rest of the information provided, the article is ready for GA review. Cheers! --Phenylalanine (talk) 01:23, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Even though I added more sources (Wikipedia:Verifiability) (and added references to cover the few pieces of information in the article that may be uncited), made sure the paragraphs aren't too long or too short (Wikipedia:Layout) and made sure the lead briefly summarizes the most important points covered in an article (Wikipedia:Lead section) I still have some other stuff I want to add to the article before GA review like information on the evolution of Behavioral modernity.--Fang 23 (talk) 18:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Keep in mind that the article contains about 40KB of readable prose (excluding tables). As a general rule, article prose should be kept under 50KB (Wikipedia:Article size). But given the enormous scope of the topic, 60KB would probably be the upper limit. --Phenylalanine (talk) 21:51, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

References: an observation

References one through 6 (including 5a to 5j) are to tertiary sources such as Encarta, Encyclopedia Americana, Science and Technology in World History (a text, but more or less an encyclopedic compilation). Cheers Geologyguy (talk) 23:18, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

copying the following from my talk page per Phenylalanine's request -
Hello - no, I don't know of a policy or guideline that really restricts tertiary sources - reliability is paramount, as always. But I've seen other editors (can't point to them, but I agree) that if primary sources are available they would be better than tertiary sources, which are basically about as reliable as Wikipedia itself - and we acknowledge our own lack in that area. In the Paleolithic discussion, I wasn't trying to be obnoxious, just making that observation. I would really no sooner cite Encarta than I would Wikipedia. But I reckon in terms of actual editing/citing, it's pretty much up to each of us. Cheers Geologyguy (talk) 23:16, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the tertiary sources used as in-line citations in the article should be replaced with more specific sources where available. Many of the tertiary sources used in the article have in-line citations, so these can be used instead of the tertiary sources themselves. --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:24, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Proportions of animal v. plant foods in Paleolithic diets

"Like most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies Paleolithic humans obtained the majority of their food from gathering though there was almost certainly a significant amount of meat in their diet.[33][34]"

Hmmm. According to Loren Cordain, most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies actually obtain the majority of their food from hunting and the proportions of animal v. plant foods in Paleolithic diets are uncertain: Cordain L. Implications of Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Diets for Modern Humans. In: Early Hominin Diets: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable. Ungar, P (Ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006, pp 363-83. --Phenylalanine (talk) 20:19, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

According to Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction by James Edward McClellan and Harold Dorn, Woman the Gatherer By Frances Dahlberg and Gathering and Hominid Adaptation by Adrienne L. Zihlman and Nancy Tanner the majority of hunter gatherer diets (roughly 80%) were composed of plants much as Bonobo diets are and Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind By Peter A. Corning suggests that hunting and gathering contribute an equal amount of food to the diet of modern hunter-gatherer diets. Maybe the sentence should be totally rewritten to say something like (some scientists such as Loren Cordain believe that Paleolithic humans and modern hunter gatherers consum(ed) mostly meat while others such as James Edward McClellan and Adrienne L. Zihlman believe early humans gained the majority of their food from plants or (as the scientist Peter A. Corning proposes) that hunting and gathering contributed equally to hunter gatherer diets) so it will present both points of view.--Fang 23 (talk) 19:52, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Fang 23, I agree with your suggestion of presenting both points of view. It could also be mentioned that, according to M. P. Richards, there is insufficient data to determine with any certainty the relative proportions of plant and animal foods in the diets of Paleolithic humans (see Richards MP (2002 Dec). "A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic subsistence". Eur J Clin Nutr. 56 (12): 1270–1278. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601646. PMID 12494313.  Check date values in: |date= (help)). Thanks a lot for your work on this article! --Phenylalanine (talk) 23:19, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Shouldn’t the Hunting Hypothesis also be mentioned after or before the statement regarding the ratio of animal v. plant foods in Paleolithic diets or in the human evolution and/or society section? - I think it will make the article more interesting and informative.--Fang 23 (talk) 21:28, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Definitely. Cheers! --Phenylalanine (talk) 00:20, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I added this info in the article. Edit it if it's not okay. --Phenylalanine (talk) 02:40, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
I am currently making a test version of the human evolution section of this article Here just talk to me here or contact me at my talk page if you have any suggestions or questions about the new (possible) version of the human evolution section of this article.--Fang 23 (talk) 17:05, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Great! This article was really in need of expansion. --Phenylalanine (talk) 13:43, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

I might make a section on paleolithic tools--Fang 23 (talk) 15:45, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

First sentence in the Diet and Nutrition section

"The diet of the Paleolithic hunting and gathering peoples consisted primarily of animal flesh, fruits, and vegetables." The source given for this is an article by Bar-Yosef et al on the "broad spectrum revolution" during the "late Upper Paleolithic" - meaning the very end of the paleolithic when the hominid diet was expanded dramatically as a sort of transition period to agriculture and the Neolithic. Bar-Yosef et al don't have much to say about typical diets for paleolithic hominids. can we find a better source?Richardf630 (talk) 15:12, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Good point. Perhaps this is a better source: [4] We could maybe use the Bar-Yosef source somewhere else in the Nutrion section. --Phenylalanine (talk) 04:06, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I added this source that you suggested on the paleolithic talk page should be used in the article.--Fang 23 (talk) 14:58, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

"Plant-based diet in general"

There are some problems here concerning the sources for the statement: "competing theories suggest that Paleolithic humans may have consumed a plant-based diet in general."

1. "Theory" is the wrong word. "Natural selection" or "evolution" is a theory. "General relativity" is a theory. To be a theory, the formulation should fit with all available observations - and be so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it. The notion that paleolithic hominids may have consumed a plant-based diet is a "suggestion," or perhaps (if we want to be generous) a "hypothesis".

2. Christine Fielder's Sexual Paradox is presented as a source for the paleolithic "plant-based diet in general" statement. Her work concerns modern !Kung hunter-gatherer societies, not paleolithic hominids. This is an inappropriate source for the paleolithic "plant-based diet in general" statement.

3. Sue Rowland's Pre-History, Pre-Civilization, and Paleolithic People is presented as a source for the paleolithic "plant-based diet in general" statement. This is a web-only, otherwise unpublished article, using some irrelevant sources (sources that study the modern workplace, for example, not paleolithic hominids). One reliable source Rowland does cite is Dahlberg, an author already sourced as a reference for this statement. Sourcing Rowland and Dahlberg is essentially sourcing Dahlberg twice.

4. The text book Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction (James Edward McClellan, Harold Dorn) is presented as a source for the paleolithic "plant-based diet in general" statement. The text book contradicts the "plant-based diet in general" statement in the wikipedia entry - "paleolithic food collectors were nomadic, following the migrations of animals and the seasonal growth of plants."

5. Gathering and Hominid Adaptation by Zihlman is presented as a source for the paleolithic "plant-based diet in general" statement. But Zihlman's research contradicts the "plant based diet in general" statement. Essentially, Zihlman's research focuses on the food-gathering roles of female paleolithic hominids. However, as Zihlman and Tanner asserted, "gathering" doesn't exclusively mean "gathering plants." According to Zihlman the food being gathered wasn't only (or even largely) plant-based, but instead included eggs, snakes, rodents and insects.

Five sources are given for this statement - "competing theories suggest that Paleolithic humans may have consumed a plant-based diet in general" - but only one of them, Dahlberg, actually supports the statement.Richardf630 (talk) 14:13, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Finding an appropriate source for the omnivore statement

In another note: Corning's Nature's Magic is given as the source for the statement that "hunting and gathering possibly contributed equally to their diet." But here's what Corning has to say. About 2 million years ago, the hominid "joined the ranks of top carnivores." (Nature's Magic, page 215) There's no sense of animal/plant equality in what Corning writes - though Corning does acknowledge that while hominids "relied on meat" they did also ingest an "array of plant foods." Still, for Corning, paleolithic hominids are "carnivores" not omnivores, and the staple of their diet was meat.

Actually, Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction (James Edward McClellan, Harold Dorn), is a better source for the omnivore statement - they say "paleolithic food collectors were nomadic, following the migrations of animals and the seasonal growth of plants."Richardf630 (talk) 14:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Hunter-Gatherer vs. Meat/Plant

We should avoid further confusion about the hunter-gatherer distinction. "Gathering" does not mean "gathering plants" anymore than it means "gathering eggs" or "gathering insects" or "gathering rodents." Gathering was a means of collecting an adequate source of protein, and often that would be mostly (or exclusively) animal protein.Richardf630 (talk) 14:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)


Re-read Richards and as I suspected, the meaning of Richards' findings are not properly summarized by the statement in the article - "There is insufficient data to determine with any certainty the relative proportions of plant and animal foods in the diets of Paleolithic humans."

Essentially, Richards' reviews studies using modern chemical technology which examine paleolithic remains (bones and teeth) and determine - through the presence and prevalence of carbon and nitrogen isotopes - the diet of the source of these bones. The technology demonstrates that for the five sets of Neanderthal bones from Europe (130,000 - 30,000 BP) that were tested, there is direct evidence that these folks were "top-level carnivores" getting the overwhelming majority of food energy and protein from animals.

I am not aware of any criticism of this technology, or reason to believe that this direct evidence is anything less than compelling.

The problem, as Richards concedes, is that the technology only provides direct evidence of what Neanderthals ate in Europe between 130k-30k BP. The experiments so far don't tell us what was eaten at other times in other places by other paleolithic hominids.

So Richards article is far more direct and directive, yet also far less generally applicable, than the wiki statement suggests.Richardf630 (talk) 16:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

You're right, the statement is inaccurate. Basically, Richards is saying that our knowledge of the relative proportions of animal and plant foods in the diets of Paleolithic humans is incomplete, not that knowledge of the proportions of meat v. plants is totally lacking because, as Richards indicates, we do have direct evidence of the relative amounts of meat consumed by Paleolithic humans on two sites in northern europe and eurasia. My mistake stems from a confusion between "Paleolithic diets" and "the Paleolithic diet", which is defined as one that corresponds to what was available in any of the ecological niches of Paleolithic humans. So, while we do have a good idea of the amount of meat consumed by some Northern Paleolithic hunter-gatherer groups, the question remains whether these northern dietary patterns are typical of the other Paleolithic human groups. --Phenylalanine (talk) 03:41, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok I will remove all these sources except Dahlberg's book and maybe Sue Rowland’s article, also Sue Rowland's article Pre-History, Pre-Civilization, and Paleolithic People doesn’t cite irrelevant sources such as articles about the modern workplace for her Paleolithic article the books in her bibliography that are not about the Paleolithic are for her other articles the article Pre-History, Pre-Civilization, and Paleolithic People is not the only article on her website and the her bibliography is a list of cited books used for all of the articles on her website because all her articles are part of one series. I originally added these sources because they said (or I thought they said) that the diet of most contemporary hunter-gatherers consists mostly of plants and forgot to remove them when the statement was changed from "Like most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies Paleolithic humans obtained the majority of their food from gathering though there was almost certainly a significant amount of meat in their diet.[33][34]" to “There is insufficient data to determine with any certainty the relative proportions of plant and animal foods in the diets of Paleolithic humans.” because I was busy working on other parts of this article.--Fang 23 (talk) 23:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done--Fang 23 (talk) 23:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Looks good. Thanks. Richardf630 (talk) 20:23, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Iron & Bronze tools

In the table under the column tools, in the Iron and Bronze rows it says "Iron tools" and "Bronze tools". Not very informative. (talk) 18:10, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


I see someone has somehow edited the beginning of the article with the words "my dick in your mouth". COuld someone remove this? Nyghtwynd (talk) 04:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry that took so long ..the edit was on a template.Has been removed!!...Buzzzsherman (talk) 05:17, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

The intro needs updating.

Recent finds placed hominid tools-making and hunting to 3.4 mya. (talk) 12:50, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Sounds interesting you have a reference for this???Moxy (talk) 15:03, 14 August 2010 (UTC)


Many of these are not properly referenced with citation formats. If they are I will stay with what you got. If not I will pick a format. There are a few things I see that are wrong. The policy calls for page numbers. Many of these notes simply state the book and refer everything to the book without page numbers. One way of achieving page numbers is to use Harvard refs in footnotes. The policy says it has to be done all footnotes or all parentheses and since the article is using footnotes that appears to be the way to go. This method requires establishment of a Bibliography containing the book titles. As we are using "References" for external links I will have to sandwich any Bibliography in between notes and references. One more thing. The policy advises against overkill on notes and chains of notes. Both of those abound here so I will be attacking those. If you have one good ref on the topic you don't need chains of refs to every encyclopedia that mentions it. I bring all these things up because I do not wish to be too arbitrary. The policy favors the original way it was done unless that is against policy or wrong. If you have other ideas or do not like my corrections by all means speak up or jump right in. If I really think something you insist on is wrong and discussion does not resolve it I will put a template on it for wider discussion and resolution.Dave (talk) 10:50, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Technology Section

The timelines here make no sense. "The earliest Paleolithic stone tool industry, the Olduwan, was developed [...] around 2.6 million years ago.[25] It contained tools such as choppers, burins and awls. It was completely replaced around 250,000 years ago by the more complex Acheulean industry, which was first conceived by Homo ergaster around 1.8 or 1.65 million years ago.[26] The most recent Lower Paleolithic (Acheulean) implements completely vanished from the archeological record around 100,000 years ago ..."

It seems obvious that the smaller time references (250,000 & 100,000) are relative, but it is unclear. As written, all time references appear to relate to the present, which simply doesn't parse. Could someone knowledgeable about this please clarify? Uberhill 20:47, 3 April 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Uberhill (talkcontribs)

Well written and researched article, thank you guys. Could something be included on what they wore? no mention of this so far. (talk) 03:51, 9 April 2010 (UTC)Judit

I don't believe the last comment addresses the objection. While I understand the need to be positive and supportive at the same time the fine points of the writing could stand considerable improvement. This is not rated as a "good article" by any means. I remember Digital Equipment Corporation used to have a standard question in their interviews: "If you have done the best you can, how can you do it better?" Well in that spirit, let me say, this wonderful, excellent, well-written, well-thought-out, accurate, perfect article might be made even better in some areas, especially in the implications.Dave (talk) 12:07, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

References section

These aren't references. They are not referenced in the text. But, the policy says this type of section name shouldn't be changed, presumably without consensus. I would put these under external links. Meanwhile, none of them seem to have a citation format. I think I am justified in putting them over to "cite web" or other. If you had a preference or have a preference I will stay with that. I notice you have summaries of the text. I will leave those in after the citation unless they appear to be wrong.

Where does policy say that? Change the section heading to Further reading, move the external links to an external link section. Dougweller (talk) 12:32, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Doug. I will but you know me, I move rather slow sometimes. I'm on it though. By the way it does say that - 1 sentence - but now that you discussing it is irrelevant.Dave (talk) 14:42, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Confuson regarding timeline

"The Paleolithic (or Palaeolithic) Age, Era or Period..." is confusing for casual readers, since age, era and period are differentiated on another wiki page: <> From that information, it would appear that removing "Era or Period" would be more appropriate. Brittlebrain (talk) 18:09, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

It's not quite that easy. For one thing there has always been a bit of confusion between geologic and archaeological terminology. Moreover, the very best archaeologists and geologists do it. Second, the field offers no standard. I've most often seen period, but then it has a different geologic meaning. In addition, these words do not capture the entire gamut. My own preference would be not to call anything except the Paleolithic. But it seems to me you have raised an issue that need to be discussed. Since we have the public ear, discuss, public! Dave (talk) 20:08, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

This article violates an important rule.

This article does not conform to the XKCD #903 rule. Please consider rewording to ensure compliance. (talk) 06:38, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

End date conflicts with Mesolithic page

This article states that the Paleolithic ends around 10,000 BP and is followed by the Mesolithic period. But the Mesolithic Wikipedia article states that the Mesolithic begins around 22,000 BP (20,000 BC). This is a discrepancy of more than 10,000 years and can't be accounted for by the statement in this article that refers to regional variations of "several thousand years". Ross Fraser (talk) 06:44, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Dispute of facts?

"The Paleolithic era is suggested by some to be followed by the Mesolithic. " This to my mind is like saying "2 plus 2 is suggested by some to equal a number somewhere between 3 and 5." Is that a joke, timelord? Looking at some of your edits I suspect probably so ... --Matt Westwood 06:30, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

  • The Mesolithic is ignored by some and continues in a straight sequence from Paleolithic into the Neolithic. Some insert the Epipaleolithic here too, but these periods are now obsolete to some in modern usage due to the continued extension backwards of the dating range of the Neolithic. Thank you for your interest in the Time War, I sometimes need an assistant. Alien cultures are invading the timeline that need to be defeated, if we can just be a bit clever I am sure we will win at the end of the episode. Just watch out for Daleks. A Timelord (talk) 12:31, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Sentinelese of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Sentinelese of Andaman & Nicobar Islands are only surviving human race belonging to Paleolithic age.They are 60 in numbers and Inhabits Sentenel Island of Andaman & Nicibar Islands. They have shunned all type of human contact so far and live their life as hunter gatherer. They still make paleolithic tools. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:44, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Source wanted!

Overall, Paleolithic peoples experienced less famine and malnutrition than the Neolithic farming tribes that followed them

I can't find this in the cited sources. Ketil (talk) 10:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


I think the material on lunar calendars should be removed since it is disputed and a minority opinion. This idea was first popularized by Alexander Marshack but it never had a lot of support.

Dr. Carl Schuster believed these were scarification marks, made with a walking burin (chisel), which makes much more sense. The "lunar" shape is probably caused by walking the chisel, one side at a time. You can try it yourself by placing the end of a ruler on a flat surface and walking it up by lifting one side at a time. As you lift, the other side will create a crescent shape. This was a common way of scarifying flesh, or objects meant to represent humans (ancestors). In that respect, these objects were probably like churingas. Stone objects found in the New World are sometimes marked in the same way. The number of marks (24) is probably related to finger joints, meant to represent ancestors. Finger amputation was practiced in Paleolithic times and as recently as 1960 in New Guinea. One joint equals one ancestor. They were removed in mourning. (I think this idea comes from an analogy with plant life.) Lastly, the marks on these objects are very tiny and had to be magnified to be seen clearly. Not very practical as a guidance system. I think all calendars are Neolithic and reflect values unknown to hunter-gathers, who lived by their wits. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Siegeltuch (talkcontribs) 01:26, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

I think the page has been vandalized again.

Someone stuck this in (its peanut butter jelly time sexxxxx)after the second paragraph of the section "Paleolithic and Climate". I tried to remove it but it does not show up on the edit page. I hope someone with more experience than me can fix this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Momplaysbass (talkcontribs) 01:31, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Cluebot fixed it. Vsmith (talk) 02:35, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Paleogeography and climate

The first sentence in the second paragraph does not make sense to me. "During the Pliocene, continents continued to drift from possibly as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current location."

What is the difference between "present locations" and "current location"?

Suggestion: "During the Pliocene, continents continued to drift from possibly as far as 250 km from their locations at the beginning of the epoch to positions only 70 km from their current locations." aip (talk) 10:32, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Where's Africa?

Africa seems to be under-represented; see, for example:[UNESCO World Heritage Centre] ~E: (talk) 23:17, 11 December 2012 (UTC)



"a drum is a micsus "

There are some irrelevant words ("a drum is a micsus ") at the start of the article that I can't get rid of. Philip Sutton (talk) 00:05, 15 April 2013 (UTC)


A recent edit removed the second "sapiens." But recent papers include it, e.g., in Science 2011 [1] and Quaternary International 2013 [2]. So I have reverted the action. Kdammers (talk) 09:07, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

average lifespan

The article says "It is also unlikely that Paleolithic hunter-gatherers were affected by modern diseases of affluence [...] because the average lifespan was shorter than the age of common-onset of these conditions"

The average lifespan is dominated by infant mortality, even a few percentage points increase in infant mortality can dramatically lower the average lifespan. So a low average lifespan would not necessarily, by itself, make late onset diseases much less likely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^