Construction of Shelters

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Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
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Highly variable in form, shelters from the elements are constructed by all or nearly all peoples.  The antiquity of the activity is great. A site at Terra Amata, near Nice, France, attributed to Homo heidelbergensis and dated at 400k BP, contains remains that appear to have been shelters at a seasonal camp. The great apes build nests but not gibbons or siamangs. Those nests provide no shelter from the rain, but protect against ground predators.


Timing of appearance of the difference in the Hominin Lineage as a defined date or a lineage separation event. The point in time associated with lineage separation events may change in the future as the scientific community agrees upon better time estimates. Lineage separation events are defined in 2017 as:

  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and old world monkeys was 25,000 - 30,000 thousand (25 - 30 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees was 6,000 - 8,000 thousand (6 - 8 million) years ago
  • the emergence of the genus Homo was 2,000 thousand (2 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and neanderthals was 500 thousand years ago
  • the common ancestor of modern humans was 100 - 300 thousand years ago

Probable Appearance: 
6,000 thousand years ago
Definite Appearance: 
400 thousand years ago
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