Friday, April 09, 2010

History of Honey and Early Man

History of Honey and Early Man
During the Pliocene, when honey storing bees had already existed for perhaps a hundred million years, early hominids lived in tropical Africa and fossils of them have been dated to 4 million years ago.

Later, species of Australopithecus developed in Africa, but the whole genus died out some time during the Pleistocene.

Meanwhile another branch of hominids appeared: Homo, the directs ancestors of modern man. The first was H. habilis, perhaps about 2.5 millions years ago, who had the same sources of honey and who made and used tools.

Then came H. erectus about 1.7 millions years ago, whose fossils have been found in Europe and Asia as well as Africa.

Colonies of a “temperate-zone” types of Apis mellifera which survived cold winters were living in Europe by the time H. erectus arrived there.

Within Homo sapiens, two subspecies have been recognized: H. s. neanderthalensis and H. s. sapiens (modern man).

Neanderthal man is known only from Europe and western Asia, In tropical regions, including Java, there were three honey bee species: Apis dorsata, A. cerana and A. florae: in northern China and Japan ecotypes of A. cerana survived cold winters.

Homo sapiens people were hunter gatherer obtained food by hunting animas, and collecting plants and their seeds and fruits. Bee’s nests were usually sought and honey combs collected by men on hunting trips.

Man was at first confined to the Old World – Africa Europe and Apis, where most regions had at least one species of honey bee (Apis).
History of Honey and Early Man