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Thread: Toolmaker Legacy

  1. #1 Toolmaker Legacy 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Driving in my car
    Our ancestors are labelled toolmaker so why doesn't that moniker apply to every man, woman and child living today? Imagine a world where everyone is born with scientific acumen, billions of people comprising a massively large collaborative team dedicated to the advancement of technology. How much further advanced would we be today if so? Or would we all be dead? Yes, Star Trek's Borg idea fascinated me but I'm referring to an entire world getting up in the morning and donning their toolmaker suit.

    Could our technological advancement have been even faster if everyone was a born scientist? What happened to toolmaker? I know he/she is still with us but why aren't there more? Why is it that a certain small percentage of the population actually carries on the toolmaker legacy? It would seem to me that toolmaker made so many adaptively good strides forward that it was only natural for evolution to keep pace by producing more scientists. Then again it could very well be that we owe it all to just a few ancient individuals. Kind of like the RAF in WWII where so much was owed by so many to so few. Will we be labelled Tool-User?

    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    city of wine and roses
    What the anthropologists call toolmaker really applies to ingenuity in daily tasks - that we are familiar with. "Toolmaking" requires familiarity with the problem to be solved. How many times has someone told you that a friend or relative had showed them a simple trick to do a routine cooking or handyman task more quickly, easily or economically?

    It's about solving problems that you personally deal with or that your family or other associates have taught you how to deal with. In modern society, it's pretty difficult to learn how to deal with every possible mechanical or domestic or technical problem in advance. We need engineers, technicians, mechanics, designers and scientists to solve the problems they are familiar with - and to write instruction and maintenance booklets we can understand without six months training.

    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman pogomutt's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Southern Colorado, 8000' up.
    My favorite toolmaker video (it's only 37 seconds): Tool-Making Crows - YouTube
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    New Zealand
    In fact, we are all toolmakers. The problem is that most of us are mediocre toolmakers. We compare ourselves to those who are superb at the task. But compared to any other animal on planet Earth, the most ordinary human is an extraordinary toolmaker.

    Just an aside. I discovered today that the oldest javelin ever found was 400,000 years old. This wooden spear, made for throwing, must have been made by a pre-human, since Homo sapiens has been around only about 200,000 years.

    We have known for a while that humans are unique and special by virtue of our throwing abilities. Males are better than females, of course. But no other animal can throw objects with the speed, force, and accuracy of humans. Obviously, our pre-human ancestors shared that ability. It may be that this ability was a key to evolutionary success of the human line .

    In addition, it appears that Australopithecus, which lived 3 to 4 million years ago, and might have been a human ancestor, collected rocks. The most logical explanation for these piles of rocks, associated with Australopithecus remains, is that they were for throwing. Pre-human skills with throwing may go back a long way.

    So we are not just toolmakers, but superb throwers of various weapons.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    shades of the hekatonkheires
    Briareus, the furious
    Cottus, the striker
    and Gyes, the big limbed

    They sure wuz ugly, but with 100 arms apiece, man could they hurl rocks
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