Thursday, 16 February 2023 13:45

People and Population - Grade 7 Social Studies Revision Notes

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Human Origin

Traditional Stories On Human Origin

This is an attempt by communities of people to explain their origin.
It is given through Oral Traditions, myths and legends.
It mainly states that the first people were created by God

  1. Kikuyu community
    According to the Agikuyu, God (Ngai) appeared and created their ancestors (Gikuyu and Mumbi) at Mukurwe Wa Gathanga near present day Muranga
    Gikuyu and Mumbi gave birth to 9 daughters who later formed the nine class
  2. Bukusu
    The bukusu of wetern Kenya belives that the fist man was called Mwambu.
    He was made from mud by WELE KHAKABA (God the creator) at a place called Mumbo which means west.
    God created a wife for him. Mwambu and his wife moved from Mumbo to the foothills of Mt. Masaba-mt elgon- where their descendants grew in numbers to become the Abaluhya community
  3. Maasai
    Once upon a time Enkai (God) owned all the cattle in the world. One day he opened the sky and replaced all the cattle he owned from heaven to earth using a long rope.
    Enkai created 3 communities on earth
    The Torrobo(also the Ogiek) , the gikuyu whom God bless with seed and grain and the Maasai whom God blessed with all the cattle of the world
  4. Akamba community
    The akamba community believes that God was called Mulungu. He created the first man MUNDU and woman KIVETI.
    They were then placed on top of Nzaui Hill in makueni.
    He blessed them with children and livestock
  5. Nandi community
    According to the Nandi, the first two people came from the knees of a giant man, which began to swell until they burst. A man came from one knee and a woman from the other. These became the ancestors of the Nandi-speaking people of Kenya. This is an example of myths in certain communities that do not directly refer to God‟s creation.

Religious Stories On Human Origin

This presents man and everything else as having been created by God.
It is contained mainly in

  1. The Bible (used by Christians)
    God created the heaven and earth according to Genesis chapter 2
  2. The Quran (used by Muslims).
    Islam believes that all living and non living things were created by Allah
  3. Hindu
    The universe was created by Brahma. He is regarded as the hindu god of creation

Factors Proving That Africa Is The Cradle Of Humankind

  • African Savannas were ideal for primates.
  • The moist, warm and varied climate supported animal and plant life.
  • Archaeological sites were discovered in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa and along the Great Rift Valley. This confirms that hominids were living in this region by the time the rift valley was being formed.
  • The earliest apes and various animals may have first lived around what is now Lake Victoria and the rift valley, then some went northwards into Europe and Asia. This was because, at that time, areas along the Equator (especially central and west Africa) were covered in thick forest. Around the Great lakes of East Africa was the Savannah (grassland with scattered trees and bushes). It was in this environment that man had his first home.
  • Due to earth quakes and volcanic eruptions during the formation of the great rift valley, allot of dust was brought up, which covered places where hominids had left their weapons, tools, their own bones, and those of other animals. These became archaeological sites in east Africa
  • Remains found in Africa especially Eastern Africa are evidence that Africa is the cradle of mankind.


Evolution is a natural process of gradual and continuous change of living organisms from a lower (simpler) state to a better-adapted (complex) and superior one.
Archaeological site or prehistoric site
Is a place where human remains were found
Are scientists who excavated the human remains for study
Human remains

Stages Of Man’s Evolution

  1. Ramapithecus also called kenyapithecus
    The 15-12 million year-old remains of Ramapithecus were found by Mary and Louis Leakey at Fort Ternan near kericho and also at Samburu hills and in the Lakes Turkana and Baringo basins. Ramapithecus and other manlike creatures were also discovered in Europe, India and China.
    Characteristics of Ramapithecus
    • He was manlike.
    • He had small canines.
    • He was quadrapedal (he moved on his four limbs), though he occasionally walked on two legs
  2. Australopithecus/southern ape/zinjathropus
    Remains of Australopithecus were found at Taung in Botswana in 1924 by Raymond Dart, at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania by Mary Leakey in 1959 and throughout eastern Africa e.g. regions around Lake Natron in Tanzania, Lake Turkana in Kenya and Omo River valley in Ethiopia.
    Characteristics of Australopithecus
    • He was the earliest most manlike hominid.
    • He had a pelvis and leg that were similar to modern man‟s.
    • He was bipedal (walked on two limbs).
    • Could defend themselves.
    • Could attack their enemies.
    • Could see or sense impending danger from a distance.
    • Could grasp objects with ease.
    • May have been hairy, short and strong.
    • Had a large face and low forehead.
    • Had stereoscopic vision.
    • Had much larger teeth, skull and jaws.
    • His brain was smaller than modern man‟s, but larger than that of the most intelligent ape: the Gorilla.
  3. Homo habilis (Practical man).
    This was the first species of the genus Homo. His two and a half to one and a half million- year old remains were found at Olduvai Gorge by Jonathan Leakey in 1964, Hadar and Omo River valley in Ethiopia and Koobi-For a in the lake Turkana area in 1972.
    Characteristics of Homohabilis
    • He was five feet tall.
    • He had a skull similar to modern man‟s in shape.
    • He was omnivorous.
    • He could grasp objects.
    • He made and used tools.
  4. HOMOERECTUS (upright man).
    Homoerectus lived between two million to two hundred thousand years ago.
    • He was five and a half feet tall.
    • He was bipedal (walked on two legs).
    • He made and used tools, such as hand-axes, crude spears and arrowheads from stone, bone and wood.
  5. Homo sapiens (Thinking/Intelligent man).
    Homo sapien appeared between two hundred thousand and a hundred and fifty thousand years ago.
    Characteristics of Homosapien
    • He was under six feet tall
    • He had small teeth.
    • He had a steep and well-rounded forehead.
    • He had long straight legs.
    • He made a variety of more refined tools i.e. microliths.
    • He was a fisherman and hunter-gatherer.
    • He domesticated plants and animals.
    • Remains of Homosapien were found at:
      • Eliye springs near Lake Turkana,
      • Kanjera and Kanam in Kenya,
      • Bodo and Omo river valley in Ethiopia,
      • Ngaloba in Tanzania.
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