Re: technology and intelligence

Todd N Nims (nimstod@MAIL.AUBURN.EDU)
Tue, 14 Feb 1995 11:02:50 -0600

One problem. Admittedly, the processes you describe seem to be valid but
I think you are "progressing" tool manufacturing farther than it need
be. Using a stick to dig up plant tubers is so much more logical to me.
Hypothetical situation. Robust A. comes along and finds likely food
source. He (gender neutral) looks around sees a nice stick or broken
branch and goes to work digging up his find. After successfully digging
up the tuber he discards the energy lost but much energy
gained. The robust A. had no reason to carry around a stick that has
been painstakenly fashioned and sharpened to a perfect point (if he
wanted the stick he picked up to sharp, all that had to be done is rub it
against the ground or a handy rock.) neither does he need to carry around
a stone tool, as basic as it may be, that must be maintained and most
importantly must be _carried_. Robust A. didnt have pockets or pouches
to put it in. Well, thats my logic.....hope it makes sense and that Im
not too far off. I would love to see a bibliography on the sources you
used....I am always willing to be proven wrong.

Todd N. Nims
Auburn University, AL

On Sun, 12 Feb 1995, Mr J.M. Ottevanger wrote:

> In the last mail Todd N Nims said:
> >
> > yes but dont forget that a piece of wood is whole lot easier to get and
> > fashioning a point on it is soooooo much more easier. I agree that the
> > stone tool may to some degree be better but it is so much less efficient
> > if you count making it and maintainance.
> >
> fair enough, but for one thing no one really believes that the stone tools found
> at Swartkrans and elsewhere were the only tools in the hominid repertoire until
> say the Clacton spear. We just don't find the more ephemeral wood, leather,
> etc. technology that one might expect early hominids to have used in conjunction
> with stone implements. For another, it doesn't take a lot of effort to knock
> two flakes off a pebble; but a lot more to damage it through subsequent use than
> would be needed to damage your stick, hence being more economical in terms of
> effort. For another thing, Keeley's work (not on the Swartkrans material, I
> confess) shows that these sorts of stone tools were used to process plants
> (through microwearstudies, if you go for them).And further, stone tools may
> help in the manufacture of other tools (such as digging sticks) as well as in
> many subsistence activities apart from food procurement.
> Don't you lot take weekends?
> Jeremy.