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Thread: Birth of Weaponry

  1. #1 Birth of Weaponry 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I don't know how many of you have seen the movie 2001: Space Odyssey but there is one scene in there that I always remember. One group of apemen were chased off by another. Contemplating their next move, one monkey man picks up a club and starts breaking some dry skulls that are in the vicinity. You can see the lightbulb go off as these hominids realize that if dry skulls can be crushed in such a manner then why not a fresh living cranium. Arthur C. Clarke's version of the birth of weaponry.

    Could it have happened that way? Any theories?


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  3. #2  
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    I would guess that the first weapons were hunting tools. Early man probably spent a lot more time trying to kill dinner than they spent trying to kill other people.


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  4. #3  
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    It is highly likely that weapons used against mankind stemmed from their original use as hunting weapons. Remember that homo saepiens (spelling?) and their desendants evolved and stayed alive by being able to "outthink" other animals. This quickly lead them to use materials to kill their prey, since getting too close could make them the victims. It is possible that the first human violence erupted from disputed hunting grounds or over larger kills. One person or group didn't like another encroaching on their "possession" and turned their weapons on those people. It was simply a logical extension to use the "tools" that killed animals to attack humans.
    We choose to go the moon... not because it is easy, but because it is hard!!!
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Actually I would say the first use of weapons vs other humans I bet went back to mating rights. Men can't keep away from other men's women now, I'm sure back then they didn't even bother. Just kill the weaker one off.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    i'd say that the first weapons ever used and indeed the weapons of choice were the good ol fists of fury.
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  7. #6  
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    Do fists really count as weapons? (Other than down under?) I would say that the first weapons were either rocks, sticks, and/or bones. Before too long those materials were combined to form spears and possibly bows and arrows.
    We choose to go the moon... not because it is easy, but because it is hard!!!
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  8. #7  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    If given time then nature will provide most species with evolved weaponry. I'm thinking on the lines of talons, teeth, poison, etc. We seem to have been left out of the naturally developed weaponry class unless one thinks of the brain as being a weapon.

    Before we became smart enough to start brandishing clubs, what did we have in our arsenal to inflict injury? We as a species must have been the best at avoiding being eaten because I can't see how we could have stopped any creature with our limited natural weapons. Its mind-boggling to me that we even survived as a species unless some incredibly lucky circumstances allowed us to happen(Not referring to anything religious).

    I think of the domination of the world by the dinosaurs who were equipped with some of the most deadly natural weaponry known. Generally regarded as not having too much intelligence they still managed to dominate for millions of years. Yet we come along with next to nothing as far is evident weaponry is concerned and do the same thing. I've been programmed to think of the dinos as if they were the modern day tank, powerfully strong and deadly but us???

    Every weapon a human ever produced is really just a byproduct of the brain thus making intelligence the greatest weapon to have ever been developed by evolutionary means. Maybe that's why we are violent, our brain is a weapon and we enjoy demonstrating our superiority by using it as it was designed.

    Weapons technology depends upon the brain. Unless somewhere out there in that universe there is something more dangerous, the ultimate weapon has already been devised by nature.
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  9. #8  
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    Weapons - artifact weapons - probably developed from items (sticks or pointy rocks) used to dig for roots and such.

    Being potential prey for carnivores, I think perhaps defensive technology was developed first, or at least early. Use of briars, brambles and thorned bushes as a crude 'barbed wire'; defensive trenches (patterned after naturally occuring rifts) and such.

    Generally speaking, weapons technology (I'm thinking of small arms) has been primarily for hunting purposes... about the time of the American Civil War.
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  10. #9 Thrown rocks. 
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    The evolution of the human wrist allows for very accurate throwing of rocks. Small prey can be brought down much more effectively with projectiles. Standoff attackers like wolves can also be effectively dealt with this way. I suggest this evolution occurred because of the selective pressure rock throwing has.
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  11. #10  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie
    Generally speaking, weapons technology (I'm thinking of small arms) has been primarily for hunting purposes... about the time of the American Civil War.
    I don't understand your reference to the Civil War.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rebiu
    I suggest this evolution occurred because of the selective pressure rock throwing has.
    And since the thrower would occasionally pause to examine the rock he was throwing, I suggest the first scientists were geologists. :?
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  12. #11  
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    The first weapons were intended for the good of people (like today's weapons) but then, people realized that if someone wanted to fight you, your hunting rock was harder than your fists, and something intended for good turned into a human-killer (like today's weapons).
    whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you! -Nikita Kruschev
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  13. #12  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    My cousin went to Africa and told me that he saw(or hear of, cant remember) Chimps (or Bonobos) thow objects such as rocks to scare people away.

    It may be that the first weapons were things thrown to intimidate or scare-off rivals or potential predators. Maybe rods were already being used for some other purpose(tools) before they happened to be envolved in a fight and then found to be useful to bash others?


    (btw, not sure but apparently chickens have a different sound for beware of danger from the ground, and beware of danger from above. I hear the same thing about other animals that made different sounds to warn others of different types of threat)
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    My cousin went to Africa and told me that he saw(or hear of, cant remember) Chimps (or Bonobos) thow objects such as rocks to scare people away.
    They also grab sticks and thrash with them or hurl the sticks with great force. The behaviour terrifies animals, including predators. Chimps have been known to aggressively corner and beat big cats to death, mobbing.

    So the first weapons, we can see in use today.

    I guess the first kept weapon was a swinging stick, picked up by chance and retained because it was a nicely proportioned one. Maybe that was our first private property as well?
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