Life in the Paleolithic Age was perilous and uncertain at best. Survival depended on the success of the hunt, but the hunt often brought sudden and violent death. In some instances, Paleolithic people were their own worst enemies.

At times they fought each other for  control of hunting grounds, and some early hunters played an important part in wiping out less aggressive people. On occasion Paleolithic people seem to have preyed on one another. One of the indications that Neanderthal Man was at times cannibalistic, that is, hunted human beings, comes from a cave in Yugoslavia, where investigators found  human bones burned and split open.

On the other hand, the people of the Paleolithic Age were responsible for some striking accomplishments. The most obvious one is the use of the stone implements that gave the period its name. The ability to make and use tools gave Paleolithic people the means to change their environment. They could compete with larger and stronger animals and could hunt animals faster and more ferocious than themselves.

In the frozen wastes of the north, they hunted the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, and the reindeer. In milder southern climates, they hunted deer, squirrels, and rabbits. The demands of the hunt sharpened their  intelligence. They supplemented their diet by collecting fruits, nuts, and seeds, and in the process they discovered the plant world around them.


Paleolithic people learned to control fire and to make clothes from the skins of their prey: The most striking accomplishments of Paleolithic people were  intellectual. The development of the human brain made possible thought and symbolic logic.

An invisible world opened up to homo sapiens. Unlike animals, whose behaviour is the result of instinct, Paleolithic people used reason to govern their actions. Thought and language permitted the experience of the old to be passed on to the young.


 Paleolithic people produced the first art. They decorated the walls of their caves with paintings of animals and scenes of the hunt. They also began to fashion clay models of pregnant women and of animals. These first examples of art illustrate the way in which early men and women communicated to others their experience of the past and hope for the  future.

Many of the paintings, such as those at Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France, are found deep in the caves, in areas not easily accessible. These areas were probably places of ritual and initiation» where young men were taken when they joined the ranks of the hunters.



Mark the best choice.

1. Line 7, ‘preyed on’ here means .

a) hunted b) controlled c) depended on d) helped


2. Line 13, ‘implements’ here means .

a) tools b) groups c) accomplishments d) caves


3. Line 21, ‘in the process* means while .

a) hunting deer, squirrels and rabbits b) sharpening their intelligence

c) discovering the plants around d) collecting fruits, nuts and seeds


4. Line 37, ‘accessible’ means .

a) learned b) communicated c) reached d) drawn


5. The Paleolithic people’s ability to use symbolic logic enabled them to

a) imagine things they hadn’t seen b) find good tasting foods c) kill other people d) discover caves


6. Paleolithic people differed from animals in that they .

a) acted by their instinct b) hunted ferocious animals

c) acted by their reason d) preyed on one another
7. According to the author, the most striking accomplishments of Paleolithic people were .

a) artistic b) intellectual c) religious d) physical


8. Cave paintings of Paleolithic people served to .

a) decorate the walls of a Neanderthalef s home

b) express their experience of the past and hope for the future

c) fashion cla> models of pregnant women and of animals

d) join young men to the ranks of the hunters


9. The main idea of this text is that .

a) Paleolithic people were very much like us b) Paleolithic people did some remarkable things

c) life in the Paleolithic Age was very pleasant d) Both (a) and (b) are correct.

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