Archaeological Findings

When did cavemen live on Earth?
Answered by Curiosity
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  1. Cavemen lived on the Earth during the Paleolithic Era. This era often is called the Stone Age, although the Paleolithic Era is only part of the Stone Age. This era was between 2 million and 40,000 to 10,000 years ago (depending on sources). However, there are probably more people today who actually call caves their primary residences than at any other time in human history.

    Cavemen are sometimes called troglodytes. The term "troglodyte" is a Greek word that literally translates as "someone who lives in a hole." Some historical and biblical accounts mention a cave-dwelling tribe on Africa's western coast called "Troglodyti" or "Troglodytae."

    Most of the world's millions of caves consist of limestone that has been carved out by acidic water. Many are uninhabitable. They may have inaccessible entrances on the sides of cliffs, or go straight down instead of remaining level. Caves are not often safe inside. Dangers include falling rocks, crevices and unstable slopes. They are also completely dark and usually have no air supply once you move away from the entrance.

    Modern archaeologists and anthropologists believe that prehistoric man rarely used caves as permanent homes. Instead, caves served as temporary dwellings for nomadic hunters on the move, or as seasonal shelter. The pre-human species that might have sometimes lived in caves include Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals), Homo erectus, Homo antecessor, and Homo heidelbergensis Grabianowski. The early human species Homo sapiens used caves on occasion, and apparently in one instance even shared cave space with Neanderthals Viegas. Caves worked well for Neanderthals, who tended to live in groups of about 12 -- most caves weren't big enough to hold any more people.

    Yet there is both archaeological and artistic proof that our ancestors spent time in caves. Generations of cave expeditions have found tools, bones and stone fragments. One of the world's most famous caves was discovered at Lascaux in France in 1940. Lining the walls of the cave are paintings of herd animals such as bison, horses and boars. Abstract images depicting patterns of dots and grids could have been primitive calendars, or may have recorded images a painter saw during a trance Price. The cave has since been closed and climate-controlled to protect the paintings.

    Modern cave dwellers include the Palestinians of Mount Hebron on the West Bank. They occupy a system of caves excavated by their ancestors a century ago. Other cave homes may be found in areas including the Cappadocia region of Turkey and in Southern Spain.

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