This free prehistoric life clip art, for private and educational use only,  is of large format and is suitable for presentations and projects and school usage for both students and educators etc. The large images are too big for use on the internet. However you may use the thumbnail clip art pictures for web pages. Selections of both colour and black and white clip art are available, the latter are suitable for coloring books. Please do not use them in any other collections of clipart. To download a thumbnail left click on the picture and then "Save As" to a directory of your choice. To download the full size image, first right click on the thumbnail and then left click on the full size image and "Save As" to a directory of your choice.

Prehistoric life consists of diverse organisms that inhabited Earth from the origin of life about 3.5 billion years ago to the time when humans began to keep written records, about 3500 BC. During the course of evolution, new forms of life developed and many other forms, such as the dinosaurs, became extinct. Prehistoric life evolved over this vast timespan from simple bacteria-like cells in the oceans to algae and protozoans and complex multicellular forms such as worms, molluscs, crustaceans, fishes, insects, land plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. On a geological timescale humans evolved relatively recently, about 4 million years ago, although the exact dating is a matter of some debate.

The term "prehistoric life " can be used to refer to all time since the beginning of the universe, although it is more often used in referring to the period of time since life appeared on Earth, or even more specifically to the time since human-like beings appeared. In dividing up human prehistory, prehistorians typically use the Three age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods typically use the well defined Rock record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale. The three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies; the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

The occurrence of written materials (and so the beginning of local "historic times") varies generally to cultures classified within either the late bronze age or within the Iron Age. Historians increasingly do not restrict themselves to evidence from written records and are coming to rely more upon evidence from the natural and social sciences, thereby blurring the distinction between the terms "history" and "prehistory." This view has recently been articulated by advocates of deep history.


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Last updated September 2009