Prehistory means literally "before history", from the Latin word for "before," præ, and historia. Human prehistory is the span of time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appear, and until the appearance of recorded history following the invention of writing systems
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- The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialisation, 'Western civilisation' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
- John Gray (philosopher) Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002) The Human: Disseminated Primatemaia (p. 7)
- But the most remarkable thing about prehistoric naturalism is not that it is older than the geometric style, which makes so much more of a primitive impression, but that it already reveals all the typical phases of development through which art has passed in modern times and is not in any sense the merely instinctive, static, a-historical phenomenon which scholars obsessed with geometric and rigorously formal art declare it to be. This is an art which advances from a linear faithfulness to nature, in which individual forms are still shaped somewhat rigidly and laboriously, to a more nimble and sparkling, almost impressionistic technique.
- Arnold Hauser. The Social History of Art, Volume I. From Prehistoric Times to the Middle Ages, 1999
- Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody — not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms — had the smallest idea of what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge. Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.
- Christopher Hitchens (2007) [:w:God Is Not Great|God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything]], p. 64
- Because of their very nature, science and logical thinking can never decide what is possible or impossible. Their only function is to explain what has been ascertained by experience and observation.
- Rudolf Steiner. Cosmic Memory, Prehistory of Earth and Man.
- I would be thrilled if palaeontologists discovered compelling evidence that tyrannosaurs were social hunters. A trackway preserving the footsteps of several individuals moving in the same direction at the same time would be excellent. But until then, tableaus of tyrannosaur families dining together must remain tantalisingly speculative parts of prehistory.
- Brian Switek, "A bunch of bones doesn't make a gang of bloodthirsty tyrannosaurs", The Guardian, (25 July, 2011)