Re: On the importance of sticks.
Peter Mitchison (PMitch@catcrtve.demon.co.uk)
Fri, 17 Mar 1995 02:25:20 +0000
In article: <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (JoeBeaver) writes:
> Peter Mitchison writes:
> >Poking a stick into the eye of an uncooperative predator requires a
> >certain amount of co-ordination (but not much strength). Homo Sapiens
> >may be able to do it but could our proto-hominid?
> I found your hypothesis quite interesting. I tend to think that
> there's a little more involved in early hominid evolution, but it seems
> reasonable that what you propose could have had an impact.
> The point I would like to make is that the coordination required
> might not have been quite as extensive as you imply. I feel that actually
> poking an animal in the eye (while it is attacking or preparing to do so)
> would probably be quite difficult, even with practice. On the other hand,
> a stick/small branch which still retained some of its subsidiary
> protrusions (particularly where they had broken off and left sharp points)
> could be scraped/slashed across the head and have a much better chance of
> causing pain or damage to the eye. For example, have you ever followed
> Joseph Beaver
I am sure that you are right Joseph. I had not intended to be quite so
specific in my description of the use of sticks for defence. The thought
of poking a big cat in the eye is quite dramatic though, and I could not
There is another dimension to the argument that I have not mentioned before.
Presumably the proto-hominids went about in troops just as most other primates
do. Armed with sticks and formed into a tight group they could have created
a sort of porcupine defence. The sight of a dozen apes waving sticks and
screaming like football supporters might have been quite impressive.
Peter Mitchison EMail PeterMitch@catcrtve.demon.co.uk
We have all of the ingredients, we just don't know what we are cooking. Douglas Adams.