The Ultimate Paleolithic Age Quiz



9 Questions

What is the estimated time range for the Paleolithic Age?

What was the primary mode of subsistence for Paleolithic humans?

What was the primary material used for making tools in the Paleolithic Age?

Which Paleolithic Age saw the emergence of the earliest works of art and religious behavior?

What was the likely purpose of the Venus figurines found in the Upper Paleolithic archaeological record?

What was the primary social organization of Paleolithic societies?

What was the primary role of music in Paleolithic societies?

What was the likely reason for the domestication of dogs in the Paleolithic Age?

What was the primary difference in diet between Paleolithic and Neolithic societies?


The Paleolithic Age is a period in human prehistory that began with the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins, c. 3.3 million years ago, and ended with the end of the Pleistocene, c. 11,650 cal BP. During this period, humans subsisted by gathering plants, fishing, and hunting or scavenging wild animals. The Paleolithic Age is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans also used wood and bone tools. By c. 50,000 – c. 40,000 BP, a marked increase in the diversity of artifacts occurred, and humans began to produce the earliest works of art and to engage in religious or spiritual behavior such as burial and ritual. During the end of the Paleolithic Age, specifically the Middle or Upper Paleolithic Age, humans began to produce the earliest works of art and to engage in religious or spiritual behavior such as burial and ritual. The Paleolithic Age was characterized by a hunter-gatherer economy, with low population density due to a nomadic lifestyle, late weaning of infants, and high levels of physical activity among women. Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis became extinct by the end of the Paleolithic, and anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens emerged in eastern Africa c. 200,000 BP, left Africa around 50,000 BP, and expanded throughout the planet. Paleolithic humans made tools of stone, bone (primarily deer), and wood.Inventions and Social Structures of the Paleolithic Era

  • The Oldowan stone tool industry began around 2.6 million years ago, followed by the more complex Acheulean industry around 1.8-1.65 million years ago, which was then replaced by the Mousterian and Aterian industries around 100,000 years ago.

  • Lower Paleolithic humans used a variety of stone tools, including hand axes and choppers, likely used for cutting, butchering, and digging.

  • Fire was used by Homo erectus and Homo ergaster as early as 300,000 to 1.5 million years ago, which reduced mortality rates and provided protection against predators. Cooking food likely began in the Lower Paleolithic or early Middle Paleolithic.

  • The Upper Paleolithic saw the emergence of boiling, which made plant foods more digestible and nutritious.

  • Lower Paleolithic Homo erectus possibly invented rafts to travel over large bodies of water, and later Middle and Upper Paleolithic humans used rafts to colonize other lands.

  • The Middle Paleolithic saw the invention of the prepared-core technique, which allowed for the creation of more controlled and consistent flakes, and the creation of stone-tipped spears by hafting sharp, pointy stone flakes onto wooden shafts.

  • Harpoons were invented during the late Middle Paleolithic, which brought fish into the human diet.

  • During the Upper Paleolithic, further inventions were made, such as the net, bolas, spear thrower, bow and arrow, and the oldest example of ceramic art.

  • Early dogs were domesticated sometime between 30,000 and 14,000 BP, presumably to aid in hunting.

  • The social organization of the earliest Paleolithic societies remains largely unknown, but Lower Paleolithic hominins may have had more complex social structures than chimpanzee societies. Middle Paleolithic societies consisted of bands that were usually nomadic and ranged from 20-100 members, while Upper Paleolithic societies may have been more hierarchical in resource-rich environments.

  • Sexual division of labor in the Paleolithic was relatively flexible, and both men and women likely participated in gathering and hunting. It is argued that this division of labor did not exist prior to the Upper Paleolithic and was invented relatively recently in human pre-history.

  • Paleolithic groups may have been largely egalitarian and may have rarely or never engaged in organized violence between groups, or they may have been larger, more complex, sedentary, and warlike than most contemporary hunter-gatherer societies. Women may have enjoyed high status in their communities, and it is likely that both sexes participated in decision making.Paleolithic Life: Art, Religion, Music, and Diet

  • Paleolithic societies had diverse residence patterns, including virilocal, uxorilocal, and multilocal lifestyles.

  • Artistic expression, such as rock art, ochre used as body paint, and Venus figurines, became more common in the Upper Paleolithic.

  • Music may have played a role in the religious lives of Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, with evidence of bone pipes and animal skin drums used in ritual or to induce trances.

  • Paleolithic humans may have possessed a belief in an afterlife, as seen in their use of burials and ritual defleshing.

  • Animal worship, particularly of bears, may have been practiced in Middle and Upper Paleolithic societies, and may have been intertwined with hunting rites.

  • Upper Paleolithic humans may have been the first to believe in a pantheon of gods or supernatural beings, as seen in anthropomorphic and half-human, half-animal images.

  • Paleolithic hunting and gathering people ate varying proportions of vegetables, fruit, seeds, insects, meat, fish, and shellfish, with some groups having a primarily plant-based diet and others consuming a significant amount of meat.

  • Paleolithic peoples suffered less famine and malnutrition than Neolithic farming tribes, due to their wider variety of natural foods and greater access to big game animals.

  • The Paleolithic involved a substantial geographical expansion of human populations, reaching ecosystems as diverse as New Guinea and Alaska.

  • The origins of music during the Paleolithic are unknown, with some theories suggesting it may have developed from rhythmic sounds produced by daily chores or as a hominin mating strategy.

  • Religion and spirituality may have first arisen in Pre-Paleolithic chimpanzees or Early Lower Paleolithic societies, used to strengthen social bonding and group cohesion.

  • The Venus figurines, which are abundant in the Upper Paleolithic archaeological record, may have been used for ensuring success in hunting and to bring about fertility of the land and women.Paleolithic diet and human consumption

  • The shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture resulted in a limited variety of foods, with meat taking a back seat to plants.

  • Paleolithic hunter-gatherers were not affected by modern diseases of affluence such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease.

  • Large-seeded legumes were part of the human diet long before the Neolithic Revolution.

  • Paleolithic societies were gathering wild cereals for food use at least as early as 30,000 years ago.

  • Seeds such as grains and beans were rarely eaten and never in large quantities on a daily basis.

  • Upper Paleolithic cultures appear to have had significant knowledge about plants and herbs and may have sometimes practiced rudimentary forms of horticulture.

  • Late Upper Paleolithic societies occasionally practiced pastoralism and animal husbandry.

  • Paleolithic humans consumed animal organ meats, including the livers, kidneys, and brains.

  • Paleolithic humans probably consumed hallucinogenic plants.

  • Cannibalism in the Lower and Middle Paleolithic may have occurred because of food shortages.

  • A modern-day diet known as the Paleolithic diet exists, based on restricting consumption to the foods presumed to be available to anatomically modern humans prior to the advent of settled agriculture.

  • Fishing was part of human diets long before the dawn of the Upper Paleolithic, and some societies became sedentary or semi-nomadic due to fishing.


Test your knowledge on the Paleolithic Age with our quiz! From the use of stone tools to the emergence of art and religion, this quiz covers a wide range of topics related to the Paleolithic period. Discover the inventions and social structures of Paleolithic societies, including the division of labor and possible social hierarchies. Learn about Paleolithic life, including diet, art, music, and religion. Plus, find out how the Paleolithic diet compares to modern-day diets. Take the quiz now to

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