Cultural period named after the site of Saint-Acheul (Somme, France). The Acheulean lithic industry is distinguished from the Oldowayen by a diversification of the tools made of stone. This industry is characterized, among other things, by the bifaces and axes.
Noble gas used in dating, especially for volcanic contexts, resulting from the disintegration of Potassium 40.
Circular DNA coding for mitochondria. This type of DNA is only transmitted by the mother.
Deposits resulting from transport by a watercourse.
Set of organs used to chew.
Who lives in the trees. By extension, an arboreal mode of locomotion means a movement in trees.
Scientific discipline that studies the natural and cultural relationships between humans and animals.
Lithic tool cut on both sides and presenting a certain symmetry.
A dating method used to estimate the age of a deposit based on the fossil assemblage present in it.
Term synonymous with biochronology.
Lithic pieces of spherical shape.
Acronym for "before present". The present, here, is set at 1950. Thus a date indicating -7000 BP corresponds in reality to 5050 BC. This choice is linked to carbon 14 dating. Indeed, the tests on the nuclear bomb since 1945 have disseminated C14 on the planet. It is the concentration of C14 in the atmosphere in the year 1950 that is used as a benchmark.
Bimanual progress over several meters between two structures without using any other type of locomotion and without using the support of the tail or the hind limbs.
Acronym for "calibrated Before Present". Raw carbon-14 dates are inaccurate because the radiocarbon content fluctuates with time. These must be calibrated to overcome this problem. This is called a "calibrated" date.
Part of the skull including the parietal bones, frontal bone, temporal bones and occipital bone.
Volume of the internal cavity of the cranium (equivalent to the volume of the brain).
Scientific discipline studying seeds and fruits found in archaeological context.
Subsistence behavior based on hunting and gathering.
Most frequent type of meteorites.
Methods of exploitation (acquisition and processing) of natural resources, of animal and vegetable origin.
Bony narrowing taking place behind the orbits.
Set of sedimentary deposits with the same characteristics. These geological layers are superimposed with time forming a stack used to date in archaeology. The oldest layers are found at the bottom of the stack and the most recent layers are found at the surface.
All the bones forming the skeleton of the head except the mandible and the hyoid bone.
Bony ridge forming a median line on the top of the skull.
Eminences and convex surfaces on the crown of the teeth. The morphology of the cusps is characteristic of a species.
Cosmogenic dating (Beryllium 10)
The interaction between cosmic rays and minerals on the earth's surface results in the production and accumulation of radioactive isotopes within the minerals. These isotopes can be used to date the last light exposure of a mineral.
Technique whose objective is to obtain usable stone chips from a block of rock called nucleus.
Corresponds to the horizontal movements of the continents. The continents were not always positioned as they are today. For example, 250 million years ago, a single supercontinent, called Pangea, existed. As a result of fracturing. The continents continue to move nowadays.
Space between two teeth.
Phenotypic and morphological differences between males and females of the same species.
Early Stone Age (ESA)
First division of Prehistory in Africa. This period begins with the first carved tools at 3.3 million years and lasts until 300,000 years.
Economy whose subsistence behavior is based on hunting and gathering.
Economy of production
Economy whose subsistence behavior is based on agriculture and livestock.
Abbreviation for "erythropoietin". Hormone that stimulates the body's production of red blood cells.
Some researchers classify the order Scandentia, which includes the tree shrew toupayes that live in Southeast Asia, as a primate. They then use to describe the primates stricto sensu "Euprimates".
Synonym of occipital hole.
Forest whose trees have an evergreen foliage throughout the year.
Plants whose flowers are arranged in spikes (e.g. wheat).
Large lithic chip with a transverse edge.
Specimen from which a species was first described. This specimen then serves as a reference for the species.
Denomination including fossils belonging to the genus Homo as well as all fossils that are considered closer to us than chimpanzees via for example criteria related to bipedalism.
All the processes (anatomical, physiological, evolutionary, etc.) that led to the emergence of the Hominins.
Great apes without tails.
Anatomically modern men
Expression used to designate Homo sapiens.
Archaic industry on pebbles
Industry dominated by developed cobbles These cobbles are weakly developed and are generally made sharp by removing chips.
All the stone objects transformed by a human activity.
An organism that can reproduce several times during its life.
Herbivorous mammal such as the rabbit.
Later Stone Age (LSA)
Period between 50 000 and 20 000 BC. J-C in Africa.
The oldest lithic industry according to our current knowledge. Industry discovered in 2015 at the Lomekwi site (Kenya, Africa) and dated at 3.3 million years old. The tools are massive and heavy (15 kg).
One of the three major island groups in the Pacific Ocean. Melanesia includes the following territories: Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Guinea.
Intermediate period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic. Climatic and environmental changes lead to a modification of subsistence behaviors with, in particular, a diversification of the animal and plant resources exploited. Development also of bow hunting. In Europe, this period lasts from -9600 BC to -5200 BC.
Bone of the hand between the wrist and the phalanges of the fingers.
Small tool in cut stone.
Middle Stone Age (MSA)
African equivalent of the European Middle Paleolithic. This period lasts from about 300,000 years to 40/20,000 years. Numerous innovations related to the symbolic, socio-economic (management of a larger territory, first traces of fishing, exchange of raw materials, etc.) and technical (production of blades and pressed tips) spheres will take place.
Lithic industry corresponding to the European Middle Paleolithic (-300 000 years to -40 000 years approximately). Development of debitage and tools made on chips. This period saw a strong diversification of the exploited fauna, a generalization of the use of fire as well as the development of the first burials at the end of the Middle Paleolithic. Although in Africa and the Near East this culture corresponds to the species Homo sapiens, in Europe it is attributed to Homo neandertalensis.
Term coming from the Greek neos meaning "new" and lithos meaning stone. The most recent period of prehistory that succeeded the Mesolithic. In Europe, this period lasts from 5200 years to 3400 years. The passage to the Neolithic is marked by profound social, ecological, demographic, techno-economic and even for some prehistorians, like Jacques Cauvin, ideological changes.
Binomial nomenclature in Latin. Living things are designated by the names of genus and species.
Culture characterized by lithic tools of the type "choppers" and arranged pebbles. These are pebbles or angular blocks with a sharp edge, made by percussion with a stone or pebble. Industry only African and lasting between 2 and 1.8 million years.
Scientific term for the formation of mountain ranges.
Which contains oxygen.
Scientific discipline studying the origins and evolution of the human lineage.
Etymologically, "Paleolithic" means "age of the ancient stone" in opposition to the Neolithic. The most ancient period of prehistory. This period saw the emergence of the lithic industry and a subsistence behavior based on predation.
Study of terrestrial magnetism during the different geological periods.
Study of ancient proteomes (set of proteins).
Scientific discipline studying pollens found in archaeological contexts.
Specimen completing the description of a species given by the holotype. There can be only one holotype but a same species can have several paratypes.
A mechanism that allows plants and some microorganisms to make organic matter using carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. To do this, organisms use light energy and convert it into chemical energy.
Study of the evolutionary history of species and their relationship to each other.
Plants in C3 and C4
Classification of plants according to the type of photosynthesis performed by the plant. C3 and C4 correspond to the number of carbons of the first molecule synthesized during photosynthesis. C4 plants are generally found in arid, semi-arid and tropical climates (grassy plants and tropical grasses such as sorghum or mill for example).
Who walks upright, in an upright position.
Who moves with the spine bent forward.
Term used in paleoanthropology to designate the whole skeleton except the skull.
Which can be used to enter.
Forward projection in the lower region of the face.
Term synonymous with alveolar prognathism.
Groups primates that are not monkeys (the infra-order of Lemuriformes and Tarsiiformes).
Walk on all four limbs while leaning on the palms of the hands and feet.
Who has a fixed habitat throughout the year.
Refers to monkeys.
Fossil carbonates resulting from the biological activity of photosynthetic bacteria. The oldest stromalites are dated at 3.8 million years and constitute the oldest trace of life known today on Earth.
Localized thickening of the skull.
Cranial suture forming a median line at the level of the frontal bone. This suture disappears in most people with age.
Connection between two bones.
Bony protrusion located above the eye sockets and below the forehead.
Synonym of supraorbital torus.
Hollow located at the base of the skull allowing the passage of the medulla oblongata. Allows the attachment of the spinal cord to the brain.
Vision in 3 Dimensions.