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The age ended when humans began to make small, fine tools (Mesolithic) and finally when plant crops and have other types of agriculture (Neolithic).
In some areas, such as Western Europe, the way that people lived was affected by the Ice age.
They are found in Europe somewhat later, from about 1 mya (0.7mya for Britain).
The Palaeolithic is by far the longest period of humanity's time, about 99% of human history.
Later forms of early humans also used Acheulean techniques and are described below.
There is considerable time overlap in early prehistoric stone-working industries.
They were made by all previous members of the genus, starting with relatively crude tools made by Homo habilis and Homo erectus.
Acheulean tools are typically found with Homo erectus remains.
In individual regions, this dating can be considerably refined; in Europe for example, Acheulean methods did not reach the continent until around 400 thousand years ago and in smaller study areas, the date ranges can be much shorter.
Numerical dates can be misleading however, and it is common to associate examples of this early human tool industry with one or more glacial or interglacial periods or with a particular early species of human.
For a long time it was thought that the Oldowan was the earliest stone tool industry in prehistory, from 2.6 million years ago up until 1.7 million years ago.
It was followed by the more sophisticated Acheulean industry.