Questions tagged [prehistoric-times]

For questions about the historical period before written language, which is considered "prehistoric". This tag is most appropriate to describe the relevant time period on Earth, but it may also be acceptable in similar settings.

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26
votes
24answers
7k views

What Natural Forces could Make Intelligence/Technology a Disadvantage or at Least Inferior to Something Else?

Premise I'm creating a pre-history world to attempt to demonstrate an alternative sequence of events. I would like natural forces to somehow make natural selection view intelligence/technology as ...
23
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9answers
3k views

What technologies could an every-man teach a Palaeolithic tribe? [closed]

In my story I have an every-man, lets call him Jim. Jim never finished high school, works as a night guard, and spends his time drinking beer, watching TV, surfing the internet and hanging out with ...
18
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3answers
4k views

How long could an operational Virginia-class sub survive in the Jurassic sea?

A nuclear attack submarine carrying a crew of, at least, a hundred people went missing in the North Atlantic Ocean, its last known location was the Bermuda Triangle where ships and planes have ...
18
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4answers
3k views

What is the closest Mesolithic/Neolithic peoples could get to making a flint-knapped “sword”?

In the two latter periods of the Stone Age, the Mesolithic and the Neolithic, technology improved significantly. Their predecessors, the Paleolithic people, used roughly hewn flints as weaponry and ...
18
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2answers
3k views

If the Roman Empire in the Year 90 AD Found a Living Tyrannosaurus Rex, What Creature in Their Mythology Would They Most Likely Mistake It For?

I'm writing a story where a group of mischievous aliens teleport iconic creatures to inappropriate time periods. (Dimetrodons in colonial Germany, Pterodactyls in the medieval Ottoman Empire, ...
17
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10answers
4k views

Benefits of time-traveling back to the late Cretaceous period? Economic/financial, resource extraction etc

Let's say a tech company has figured out a way to travel back in time, but for reasons involving the programming of their machine, they can only go back about a 100 million years into the past, to the ...
16
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5answers
2k views

Does harmony have to be invented?

The oldest known musical instruments are a set of bone and ivory flutes from around 42,000 years ago. Paleolithic tribesmen undoubtedly played these instruments gathered around the campfire, as an ...
15
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3answers
2k views

What Australian Megafauna Would be Suitable for Domestication, if Any?

Imagine an alternate universe where the aborigines' impact on the Pleistocene Australian ecosystem was much less severe than it was in our timeline, and the Pleistocene megafauna managed to survive ...
15
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4answers
949 views

Encountering the Accountants : Spreading Numeracy in the Neolithic World

The BBC in the UK are currently screening a archaeology series exploring the idea that the Neolithic peoples in the Orkney Isles (North of Scotland) were the cultural capital of the British Isles. ...
14
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18answers
2k views

How might the actions of descendants matter for their ancestors? (reverse causality)

Imagine two groups of people exploring the same location, but at different times. For convenience, think of the group exploring first as the "ancestors" and the group exploring later as the "...
11
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8answers
4k views

What's the oldest plausible frozen specimen for a Jurassic Park style story-line?

We've found all sorts of interesting stuff in arctic ice & permafrost around the world. Bacteria & the like far older than the more media friendly mammoth specimens have been found, living ...
11
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7answers
4k views

Do hunter-gatherers move or stay put in the winter?

A hunter-gatherer society exists in lands similar to that of Bavaria. There is plentiful game in the forests and glades, and there are many rivers with edible aquatic life. Smaller rivers can freeze ...
10
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4answers
132 views

How would dozens of humanoid species affect early migrations?

In our world, humans evolved and spread to pretty much every place in the world they could reach. Would that still be the case if there were, say, a dozen different humanoid species? Would they all ...
9
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7answers
1k views

Extreme adaptation: evolutionary narrative for Vantablack-like skin pigment

Premise Inhabiting my earth-like world will be humanoid beings that have a skin tone that is as dark as Vantablack. Let's assume these human-like beings share the same ancestry as humans and we can ...
9
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4answers
3k views

What American animals would have been domesticated had they not gone extinct?

Here are some lists of North American and South American megafauna that went extinct during the Quaternary. In Eurasia, many species of large mammal were domesticated, most particularly the 'big 4' ...
8
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4answers
734 views

The Hadean Explosion?

In recent years, the search for the origins of life is becoming complex. It turns out that oxygen is NOT a requirement for multicellular life to thrive. As stated in this BBC article, poriferans (...
7
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6answers
794 views

How to keep water out of a trench civilization

In my world there is a neolithic civilization of people who inhabit earthen trenches. The people first soften the earth with ... fluids ... and dig out 6 - 12 foot deep trench systems that extend out ...
7
votes
2answers
602 views

What are the hippos of the Americas?

In a world where man entered North and South America without causing a mass extinction, all of the paleofauna which became extinct ~10,000 BC in the Americas are still around. There are several ...
6
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7answers
1k views

Humans get knocked back into the stone age; would archeologists from 10,000 years in the future be able to tell that we existed?

I am inspired by Dr. Robert Schoc's hypothesis that the Great Pyramid and Sphinx date back to a lost civilization from 10,000 BCE. The Question: Suppose an asteroid/mega solar flare/etc. reduced ...
6
votes
4answers
747 views

How long would it take these two languages present in a common area over a LONG period of time to merge?

Note: Sorry if this post is needlessly detailed, I understand a lot of these details don't affect the question much. I thought I'd bring them up anyways since this is quite the unique situation for ...
6
votes
7answers
430 views

How would a Stone age society make use of gunpowder?

Given that the main ingredients for gunpowder(Charcoal, Saltpetre, and Sulphur) exist in varying quantities pretty much everywhere, I've been wondering how it wasn't discovered much sooner than the ...
6
votes
1answer
687 views

What was the weather like in the Eocene?

I was reading this question earlier today. It asks about the characteristics of global winds in a modern-day earth with Eocene-like temperatures. I'm here to ask about other kinds of weather in the ...
6
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2answers
1k views

The Key For a Longer-Lasting, Steampunkier Industrial Revolution

From 359 to 298 million years ago, the "Carboniferous Coal Swamps" dominated the continents. It was the Carboniferous coal itself that sparked one of the greatest watersheds in human history--the ...
5
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7answers
1k views

How far in the past could unprepared humans survive?

A small late medieval county, consisting of a very small town, a small castle, and a couple of surrounding small villages suddenly and inexplicably gets transported into the past. It's not a spherical ...
5
votes
5answers
483 views

Could prehistoric humans colonise a planet with no land bridges between continents?

If an approximately Earth-sized planet had a greater ocean-to-landmass ratio than Earth, and the minimum distance between continents was at least the width of the Atlantic (i.e. >3000 km), how could ...
5
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4answers
177 views

How much trouble would a great depression era rural county have with settling a late cretaceous Montana/Wyoming?

I have a very specific setting in mind that can be pretty much summed up as "Wild West with Dinosaurs". However, I'm still trying to figure out the details of just how the people native to a ...
5
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4answers
426 views

Realistic division of labour in a small prehistoric village?

If you have undeveloped society, like hunters-gatherers living in a small village, but at the same time a highly developed social structure with division of labour and expertise, what would it look ...
5
votes
2answers
219 views

Travel distance across water in early prehistory

I have a species which is about half the size of a human. They live on a continent composed of large islands. I'm looking at their migration history. The thing is, I'm likely to have the origin of ...
5
votes
7answers
17k views

Could an intelligent civilization have existed on Earth before humans? [duplicate]

And more importantly, how could we not know about it? I remember hearing that most of our man-made monuments and buildings will have completely collapsed in a few thousand years, so is it possible for ...
5
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2answers
3k views

What kind of names would humans living in Lower Paleolithic Ethiopia have?

I'm writing a story set in the early Lower Paleolithic era, in the area around where Ethiopia currently is. What kind of names would my characters have? Do we have any knowledge of how people were ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

How Would a Continental Landmass Sink?

Atlantis is real. It's just that there's more than one of them, and none of them are actually called "Atlantis". Instead, they consist from the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean to Zealandia, a ...
5
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2answers
179 views

Would a More Extreme Icing of Antarctica Create an Extinction Event?

55 million years ago, the world was literally a jungle. It was so warm that plants like the bald cypress and the dawn redwood have been found at Ellesmere Island, right inside the Arctic Circle. ...
4
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5answers
571 views

How would a Mesolithic community go about building a permanent settlement?

Edit: I've gotten some answers now, but many of them use Neolithic settlements as examples. I wish I had the archaeological know-how to analyze these settlements' technologies and economies and ...
4
votes
4answers
469 views

Can early civilization utilize gold and silver when they are abundant, and copper and iron are rare?

This question is a thought expansion on this What early tools might be devised on a planet where diamonds were abundant? According to this article, prehistoric men already utilized gold and silver ...
4
votes
1answer
208 views

How could a stone age tribe of merfolk tame blue whales?

An underwater stone age tribe of merfolk captured 2 baby whales and killed the adult beast for meat. My sea people would like to tame the young whales and use them as transport when the babies reach ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

What Would the Uses of Domesticated Bunyips be?

In my book series, one of the main cultures has domesticated Diprotodon Optatum (called "Bunyips" in-universe). For those of you who don't know, here's what they look like (they're the herd ...
4
votes
1answer
94 views

Could Sharks Survive a Longer PETM?

First things first, a little backstory: Sometime between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, there was a mysterious, sudden, dramatic rise in global temperature. This moment in time was known as the "...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

Neandertal Civilization [closed]

Since its initial discovery in Germany's Neander Valley in 1848, Homo neandertalensis, the Neandertal, had undergone quite a dubious reputation. From sensationalist beginnings as big, hairy apes, ...
4
votes
2answers
151 views

Would a 200-Pound Dwarf Still Need to Wear Clothes?

The average Neandertal male stood 64 inches tall, weighed 143 pounds and had a brain volume of 1600 milliliters. The average female stood 62 inches tall, weighed 110 pounds and had a brain volume of ...
4
votes
1answer
406 views

Comet Hale-Bopp is the herald of new ages of Humanity

I'm working at a tale about historic cycles. Every new cycle is anounced (or even caused) by an astronomic phenomenon. Looking for some cyclical astronomical events, I'm thinking about periodic ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Humans without fire?

Suppose anatomically modern, but technologically primitive, humans (say, early Paleolithic) were magically transported to a world broadly similar to our own, but where open flames are impossible. (I ...
3
votes
4answers
665 views

Could Argentavis be Ridden?

In my book series, there is a planet called Aurea that is home to all sorts of strange fauna. Not only does it have animals from the real world, but it also has prehistoric and mythical creatures as ...
3
votes
2answers
138 views

Could the earliest life on Earth have traveled through a wormhole billions of years ago into an alternate dimension and evolved independently? [closed]

So it's fairly common knowledge that the first signs of life on Earth were in the Archean eon, when the crust started to cool and continents started to form. Life arose around 3.7ish billion years ago,...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

How quickly do prehistoric populations grow?

I am working on a species that ressembles humans beings and that, although slightly engineered in the sense that the evolutionary leaps are aided by genetic modification, they are left to go through ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Establish common language with Chalcolithic group (Modern man vs copper age group)

How would a single person establish a common language with group that does not speak any language that this person knows? This group is from copper age period and modern man does not have any modern ...
3
votes
4answers
231 views

The Fate of Marsupials in a More Southerly Australia

For the longest time, Australia and Antarctica were one and the same. It wouldn't be until 30 million years ago that Australia broke up from Antarctica. Nowadays, the distance between Australia and ...
3
votes
4answers
117 views

Would a prehistoric Dragon be Bigger or Smaller? [closed]

I was recently thinking about Dragons, and got thinking about what they would have looked like in prehistory. Dragons were able to survive through the times due to two. main factors: Their Size. ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

How Different Would the Outcome of the Fall of the Dinosaur Empire Be if Chicxulub Hit at a Different Season?

After 150 million years, the most successful empire in the history of Planet Earth finally collapsed 66 million years ago. A five-mile-wide space bomb--there's still disagreement as to whether it was ...
3
votes
3answers
205 views

Can A Theia-Like Object Make Earth Richer?

Let's start with a little backstory--our planet underwent an impact-coalescence cycle only once, 4.5 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized object named Theia destroyed the infant Earth in a glancing ...
3
votes
0answers
84 views

What if the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction Never Happed? [closed]

The Mesozoic era is mostly known for dinosaurs dominating the majority of the terrestrial niches for nearly the entire duration. Something lesser known is that the Triassic was actually mostly ...