What is Prehistory?

Tiffany Macbeth in Prehistoric dress
Tiffany is very interested in the past and loves learning about different historical periods. She likes to wear the clothes of the period she is learning about.

Tiffany has been learning about Prehistory and discovered many interesting facts.

Did you know –

Prehistory is the time in history before writing was invented.

It starts when the Earth was created around 4.6 million years ago

It ends when people began to write about things that were happening around them

Prehistory covers a much longer period than history.

When did the first organisms appear?

The first cells appeared 1,850 million years ago

The first living organisms appeared 535 million years ago

The first fish appeared 440 million years ago

The Earth had insects, fish, trees and plants by 365 million years ago


The first dinosaurs appeared 225 million years ago

The first mammals appeared 220 million years ago

First apes and gorillas appeared 8 million years ago

Human ancestors (homo habilis) appeared 2.6 million years ago

When was the Stone Age?

Stone Age Tools

The Stone Age (when stone was first used to make tools) began 2.5 million years ago

The first humans (homo erectus) appeared about 1.8 million years ago

Neanderthal man appeared 500,000 years ago

Modern humans (homo sapiens) appeared 200,000 years ago

When was the bronze age?

Bronze Age Tools

The Bronze Age (when humans began using copper and tin to make tools) began 3,600 BCE

When did Prehistory end?

The first writing system was developed by the Sumerians about 3500 BCE

Prehistory ended with the development of writing

As you can see Tiffany has discovered a lot of facts about Prehistory. She summed up her learning with the following keywords:

apes,  Bronze Age,  cells,  copper,  dinosaurs,  Earth,  fish,  homo habilis,  homo sapiens,  insects,  mammals,  Neanderthal man,  organisms,  plants,  Prehistory,  Stone Age,  Sumerians,  tin,  tools,  writing