There are other aspects of the Paleolithic Age about which little or nothing can be learned with certainty. We can only surmise, from what is known of present-day savages, that even at this remote period people had begun to cooperate in hunting and for defense against animal and human foes. Each group must have been small – a few hundred individuals at the most – for population was scanty. Government doubtless existed, but whether by chiefs or by the elders of the little community we cannot say. Probably the family had also appeared, and men and women were beginning to live together more or less permanently under some form of marriage. The social life of man is very ancient, as well as his religion, art, and material culture.
The Paleolithic Age began in Europe many thousands of years ago, when geographical and climatic conditions quite unlike what they are now ; when vast forests, dense jungles, swamps, and steppes covered the land ; and when wild animals, in variety and number more than can be conceived, lurked on every side. Here and there in this strange, terrible world lived a few thousand human beings, not yet lords of creation, but culturally so low that they have left to us only their rudely chipped stone implements. Alone, unaided,they began to invent, to make discoveries, and so to take the first steps in human progress. The Paleolithic Age ended with men in possession of the fundamental elements, the raw materials, of civilization. They made many tools and weapons not only of stone but also of wood and bone ; occupied and perhaps built shelters ; controlled fire ; wore clothing ; waged successful war on the beasts about them ; and found time for ceremonies of magic and religion, for re markable achievements in the fine arts, and for social life.
They had accomplished much, even though they remained savages unable to tame animals or till the soil. These and other cultural acquisitions were reserved for the Neolithic Age.