Science

Charting the Role of Prehistoric Genius in Technological Revolution

An English scientist charted the spread of ancient survival techniques. His stunning maps reveal how ancient geniuses created individuals in one place, and how these new ideas spread abroad like wildfire as part of an ever-evolving global technological revolution.

It was composed by Plato around 375 BC, Republic The famous says that “our need will be the true Creator”. Over time this English proverb became: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Now, the new article by a British scientist has mapped the sites of invention, and the outward flow of ancient technologies beginning with deep history.

Human ancestors began to appear about seven million years ago. At this time in Africa, monkey-like creatures began to walk on two legs. Fast forward to roughly 2.5 million years ago, then the ancestors of early humans spread from Africa to Europe and Asia. “Necessity” was at its height at this time, and the daily struggle for survival inspired some people to invent chipped-shaped stone chips, and two million years ago, efficient hand axes were beaten with a vine rope.

Clovis Points from the Rummels Mask site in Iowa are part of an ongoing technology revolution. (Belwettacker/ CC BY-SA 3.0.0 Update )

The technological revolution was fueled by great minds

The new article was published by Dr. Nicholas R. Conversation . The researcher says that about a million years ago our ancestors began to master fire, and 500,000 years ago a wave of innovation saw the making of spear heads, axes, beads and bows. Longrich wrote that many of these inventions were “one-off, unique, independently created and then shared”, suggesting that “a few very intelligent people created many of the greatest inventions in history.”

Longrich refers to a “basic pattern” related to innovations of individual origin, which individual geniuses made, and how they spread. The researcher says his work has had “another wonderful effect” in that progress has been “too much dependent on individual individuals”. He/she was generally considered that technological leaps were a byproduct of larger cultural or societal forces.

Fire drill technology was an important step in the ongoing technological revolution.  (Gorodinkov/Adobe Stock)

Fire drill technology was an important step in the ongoing technological revolution. ( Gorodnikov / Adobe Stock)

Drawing the unique origins of ancient innovations

Paleontologists have dated coal and bones about 400,000 years ago in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The author says this refers to the “invention, and then rapid spread” of the technique of fire-drilling, spinning sticks against dry wood and dust to create frictional sparks.

Then, 100,000 years later, the use of the spear spread across East Africa and the Middle East, and 250,000 years ago into Europe by Neanderthals. According to Longrich, this means that the technology is “gradually passed on from one person to another, all the way from Africa to Europe”.

About 270,000 years ago in Central Africa, new basic axes with wooden handles replaced traditional hand axes. The new research shows how this technology has spread across Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Europe and Australia.

Moreover, the first humans living in Morocco today began digging beads out of snail shells to wear about 140,000 years ago, and then, about 115,000 to 120,000 years ago, Neanderthals in Europe began wearing the beads. It wasn’t until 70,000 years ago that modern humans in South Africa began making beads.

Map showing the spread of bow and arrow technology around the world.  (Nick Longrich)

Map showing the spread of bow and arrow technology around the world. (Nick Longrich)

time arrow

The researcher published a map showing the spread of the bow and arrow beginning with the oldest arrows discovered in Africa, which are more than 70,000 years old. Arches were adopted by modern humans in East Africa and South Asia 48,000 years ago, and in Europe 40,000 years ago. The professor shows how the bow and arrow finally reached Alaska and the Americas about 12,000 years ago.

“It is not impossible for people to invent similar technologies in different parts of the world around the same time, and in some cases, this must have happened,” claims the author of the new study. He says it is clear that humans have not reinvented technologies; And that many “progress was only made once, and then spread widely”.

Hezab men with a bow and arrow.  (Idobi/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Hezab men with a bow and arrow. (adobe/ CC BY-SA 3.0.0 Update )

All it took was a handful of geniuses

How did these ancient technologies actually spread among distant groups, in the real world? The article suggests that technology has been passed on by diffusion, conflict, trade, and gifts. For example, the bow and arrow passed from one tribe to another, sometimes captured in battle and sometimes gifted when tribal unions occurred. The author calls this diffusion, “a broad chain linking hadith sane man in southern Africa to the archaic humans of northern and eastern Africa, and Neanderthals in Europe. ”

Longrich says the pattern of his “individual origin, then diffusion of innovations” suggests that rather than being an inevitable result of larger cultural forces, technological progress may have been “too dependent on individual individuals”. It is believed that “a clever one Bushman invented the bow” and that the idea had spread abroad throughout the planet.

Top image: Was the ever-evolving technological revolution based on a single-minded genius? source: Kovalenko I / Adobe Stock

Written by Ashley Coe

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