Difference Between Paleolithic and Mesolithic

Paleolithic vs Mesolithic

The difference between Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods can be related to the differences in human life and how they evolved during these two periods. Paleolithic and Mesolithic are two of the pre-historic eras of human existence. To be more specific, these are two stages of the stone age. These two eras are considered as significant because they bear evidence to the earliest existence of humans and culture. It is often believed that this was also the inception of technology, culture, and human life as a society or social organizations. Through this article let us examine the differences between the Paleolithic era and the Mesolithic era.

What is Paleolithic?

Paleolithic period is also referred to as the Old Stone Age. Evidence that supports the existence of human life during this period was first found in Africa. It was during this era that human completely evolved into the modern homo sapiens. During this era hunting and gathering societies were to be seen as people living in small groups. Hunting societies engaged in activities where they would hunt wild animals for food. On the contrary, Gathering societies mostly depended on plants for food. Lifestyle during this era was rather nomadic as they had to travel to different parts in search of food. They used stone tools in the day to day life and also had the ability to use fire and even build objects such as rafts to travel across water, nets, spears, bow and arrows, etc. Humans produced clothes using animal skins. It was during the middle Paleolithic period that humans engaged in religious or spiritual activities and also began to create works of art such as cave paintings.

Difference Between Paleolithic and Mesolithic

A wood house during Paleolithic era

What is Mesolithic?

Mesolithic period is often referred to as the Middle Stone Age. This came after the Paleolithic era. This was a brief period that brought about the transition to the Neolithic period. The human of the Mesolithic era enjoyed the warm climate unlike those in the Paleolithic era who had to deal with the cold climate. This era is often considered as the initial step towards domestication of humans. Unlike in the case of Paleolithic era, where humans engaged in hunting and gathering activities and roamed around in search of food, Mesolithic era shows signs of domestication, where they began agriculture and domestication of animals such as goats, sheep and pigs, and cattle, even though, this was rather limited. There was a significant improvement of tools and artifacts during this era as humans used much more developed tools. This can be very well identified through the usage of various spears for hunting.

 Paleolithic vs Mesolithic

A reconstructed Mesolithic round house

What is the difference between Paleolithic and Mesolithic?

• Paleolithic and Mesolithic era:

• Paleolithic era and Mesolithic era are two stages of the Stone Age.

• Mesolithic era came after the Paleolithic era.

• Other names:

• Paleolithic age is known as the Old Stone Age.

• Mesolithic era is known as the Middle Stone Age.

• Lifestyle:

• During the Paleolithic era, humans evolved into homo sapiens.

• Hunting and gathering societies were visible largely during the Paleolithic era.

• However, in the Mesolithic era, initial signs of domestication were visible.

• In the Paleolithic era, humans used tools made of stones that developed greatly in the Mesolithic era.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Temporary wood house during Paleolithic era via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Reconstructed Mesolithic round house by Andrew Curtis (CC BY-SA 2.0)