The prehistory refers to the phylogeny of human being within the border of China before record. The society in this period experienced Early Ape Man Stage, Late Ape Man Stage, Matriarchal and Patriarchal Communes, Three Emperors and Five Kings, and Xia Dynasty. The prehistory period is a long time span, starting from 1.7 million years ago to the 21 century BC. Ape Man includes Yuanmou Ape Man in Yunnan and Lantian Ape Man in Shanxi. In the primitive times, Ape Man living in Beijing could only use rough stone wares and led a hard life.
Later came the period of Matriarchal and Patriarchal Communes. The Matriarchal Communes have a common ancestor, and the Chinese character "姓", the left part of which means "female", symbolizes the ruling period of Matriarchal Communes. When it declined gradually, the Patriarchal Communes began. From then on the monogamy system of family came into being and the primeval society reached its end.
The era of historical figures was ushered in after the period of Patriarchal Communes. The mid and lower reaches of Yellow River became a densely populated area; Guanzhong Plain and East China Basin soon developed into the communities of Huaxia People (4000 BC). This era witnessed the emergence of many heroes, such as Huang Di or Yellow Emperor, Yan Di or Emperor Yan, and Chi Yao. In fact, after the death of Yellow Emperor, the primitive tribes in the Yellow River Valley were ruled in succession by such legendary figures as Yao, Shun and Da Yu (Great Yu) who subdued floods and harnessed rivers for his people. The ruling periods of Yao, Sun, and Da Yu were still under slave systems. When Da Yu won the title called Xiahoushi, he declared the funding of Xia Dynasty and, at the same time, the end of prehistory. Later China entered the ancient times of civilization.