Re: technology and intelligence

Mr J.M. Ottevanger (J.Ottevanger@LIVERPOOL.AC.UK)
Sun, 12 Feb 1995 13:18:20 +0000

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?