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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Throwing Ourselves Two Million Years into Human Advancement


Divisions of Labor were born with the human ability to throw a projectile.  Research has taught us that as people learned the ability to throw sticks, stones, rocks, and weapons the social nature of life began to change. Where humans were limited in their food supply, the ability to throw objects created more efficient hunting that led to increased calorie intake. Researchers recently published the interesting findings on human development in the journal Nature.

The shoulder has developed in such as way to maintain elastic energy so that when it is released it can produce the fastest motion possible. Other species cannot do this. Where chimpanzees can throw 20 mph the human can often achieve up to 100 mph. This makes the projectiles much faster than the natural speed in the environment. This faster speed creates higher levels of food and nutrition obtainment which fosters population growth. 

The division of labor occurred because food was a commodity that could be bartered and traded. As hunters brought back more food people obtained more nutrition and had larger families, became bigger in size, and were able to focus on other activities. Where animals constantly seek food for survival humans developed the ability to collaborate and collectively share food for the betterment of all. 

Throwing also encouraged the ability to hunt from a distance creating greater spatial awareness that could have led to other projectile concepts that fostered the ideas that led to modern space flight. The more efficient humans became the freer they were to pursue other life activities. Do you think you would have the time to read this article if you were out foraging for dinner? 

The researchers looked through archeological evidence to see when humans actually developed this ability. The problem is that there is a gap somewhere in the transitional development. This means that it may also be a learned function of using the body in a new way. They cannot say with high levels of surety how the skill came into being other than it seemed to show up around 2 million years ago. Without the ability to master projectiles and the resources it harnessed we cannot be sure we would be as developed as we have. 




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