Published On: Thu, Nov 3rd, 2016

A Retrospective of Mankind’s Use of Tools

Prehistoric Tools and TechnologyHumans are unique in many aspects, relative to all other fauna. One, people use complex language to communicate. Two, they are extremely existential. Three, they have perfected the creation and use of technology to their advantages. With regards to the third one, there is much to say about mankind’s affinity to create tools and use them very well.

The modern world would be nonexistent if not for tools. Companies such as the Intex Group have made a business out of the ever-growing need for more advanced equipment. But have you ever wondered how this knack for creating and using tools began?

Back to the Stone Age

Experts believe that the earliest use of tools goes back 2.6 million years to Gona, Ethiopia. The artefacts found there included fist-sized rocks used for pounding, sharp, blade-like pieces for cutting, and even repurposed animal bones used for who-knows-what. Scientists called these tools the Oldowan, after the place where they were found in Gona (the Olduvai Gorge). It is believed that the human ancestors responsible for these tools acted very much like tool-wielding chimps in the wild nowadays.

Shannon McPherron of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology claims that there are even older tools than the Oldowan. McPherron’s team announced the discovery of supposedly 3.39 million-year-old evidence of a systematic slaughter. This sets the timeline back another 800,000 years. The discovery revolves around a cow-sized hoofed mammal’s carcass, whose bones show microscopic scratches from apparent cutting and scraping actions.

Implications

What this means is that even the earliest human ancestors already had the tendency to seek improvements in their lives. This is obviously provided by primitive tools. They didn’t have sharp fangs and/or claws, as well as really powerful muscles and strong teeth to scrape the meat (their primary food) off their kills. They had to use something to make the job easier; otherwise, they would’ve starved.

That said, you can argue about tool use being a survivalist tendency that’s somehow innate in the human race. And seeing as how it helped usher in the modern age, it’s hard to disagree.