The book was compared back then with Olaf Stapledon's 'Last and First Men' which it is not.
I read this book about twenty years ago. It is a story about pivotal moments for humankind when humankind comes up with things like the concept of a soul, gods and an afterlife.
There was mention of a jurassic civilisation that used language, and wooden/leather tools.
The story had no book-spanning main characters, people just were the main character(s) in a single chapter/episode.