Left, Musée de Terra Amata; center, Ashmolean Museum, OxfordBridgeman Art Library; right, Erich Lessing

The tools of their trade. More than 300,000 years ago, while camped at a spring near Terra Amata—in what is now Nice, France—Homo erectus hunters made this chopping tool (left) to butcher elephant and deer. Over time, Homo erectus created finer and more sophisticated tools, such as this 200,000-year-old hand ax (center), also found in France. Around 40,000 years ago, more modern humans began to make compound tools, such as bows and arrows, as well as flaked tools created for specific uses. The stone blade scraper (right), found on the banks of the Danube River in Willendorf, Austria, was probably used to work hides.