Evolving to make tools?

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15784
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by Minimalist » Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Somehow, pottery kilns figure into this. Some unknown genius noted that a certain rock oozed metal when heated in a kiln but not in a regular campfire.............


Then, there is also meteor-derived iron. Passage through the atmosphere would certainly heat a meteor sufficiently. Of course, you couldn't touch it until it cooled but if the iron was soft enough then someone who came along and hit it with a stone hammer would instantly note that it did not behave like other rocks. It could be pounded into shapes.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Leona Conner
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:40 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by Leona Conner » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:41 pm

I like to think that even way back then a lot of people had insatiable curiosity. There was always someone who just had to tinker, just to see what would happen. Sometimes they had an "oh wow" moment and at another an "oh shit" result. But they kept going and passed that along to their offspring who took it one step further, even if it was several generations. You know, "my dad told me that his dad told him about something his dad tried a long time ago and this happened, let's try it but we'll do this instead of that and see what happes."

As a child my curiosity got me into a lot of trouble; and to my joy, I have grandchildren who take after me.

jw1815
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by jw1815 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:35 pm

But without writing the mechanism of transmission is reduced to human memory. How does that work in reality?

"Many moons ago, Oog the Great told me of a rock with a shiny substance coming out of it?"
I wouldn't underestimate the value of oral tranmission of information as a means of remembering things. Some tribal societies have entire clans devoted to memorizing a tribe's genealogies and historical events in the form of founding and epic stories. Sure, they make mistakes over a long period of time (centuries), but so do transcribers of written materials.

Anyway, I doubt that something like seeing lava would be a significant part of a tribal history story. Unless......if the volcanoe's eruption had an effect on the people. Or, if they witnessed a meteorite landing.

More likely, the simple fact that such rocks exist and are a little different from other ones would become part of general knowledge about a region's resources, possibly with some mythologies about their origins, especially if witnessed spewing out of a volcano.

Leona's scenario sounds very realistic and plausible to me.

[edited to correct my mistyping of Leona's name, which left off the "a." -- Sorry, Leona.]
Last edited by jw1815 on Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

jw1815
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by jw1815 » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:12 pm

Since I know very little about extracting metal from ores, I did a couple searches on smelting. Whew. A complex process, not just a matter of melting rocks at high temps. Besides getting the fire hot enough, other substances are sometimes added to bind with or force out the "impurities" in order to isolate the metal. Sometimes the ore rock is ground to a powder first.

Experience with pottery kilns would have taught people something about achieving high temps. Ores often have only little flakes of metal in them and the metals are mixed with other rock particles so that they don't look like the colors and textures of the finished, extracted product. So, what made people notice the metals in rocks in the first place, in order to want them?

Stone Age people certainly had familiarity with rocks, not just their exterior appearance, but their interiors, too, from flaking pieces off of cores. Clay figurines were baked as long as 30,000 YA. Wonder if people added fine rock powder or flakes to baked clay for whatever color or texture effect appealed to them. The "behavior" of clay additives with metals in them would be noticed - melting, changing color.

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15784
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by Minimalist » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:41 am

I wouldn't underestimate the value of oral tranmission of information as a means of remembering things

I can't imagine a way to test that, though.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

jw1815
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by jw1815 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:39 am

Specific genealogies would be pretty untestable. But, historical facts have been found to be true in many tribal oral traditions.

Early missionaries to Hawaii heard tribal epic stories of travel from Tahiti (Kahiki) to Hawaii, along with genealogical details. They were discounted at first, but subsequent studies indicate that many of the facts about timing and how they traveled were accurate. In fact, it was in Michener's book, Hawaii, that I first learned how some tribes designate entire clans as oral historians.

When Alex Haley researched his genealogy (Roots) he visited the tribes that his family descended from. According to a National Geographic story afterward, Haley was able to hear a tribal recitation of the disappearance of the chief's son (Haley's first slave ancestor). Some people have discounted this since then, but I'm not sure on what basis they do that.

The Iroquois Confederacy had their constitutional law of unification between the original 5 tribes embedded in an epic tradition of recitation that used woven bead belts as mnemonic devices for recalling The Great Law on special occasions. From details in the epic founding story, we've been able to identify a time period for the original unification of the confederacy, based on astronomy events mentioned in the story.

Early European colonists in America who negotiated with Native tribal councils wrote about the astonishing memories of the Native people during meetings. While the colonists took notes for minutes, the Native council members often repeated back the details of what had been said previously when they responded with their own proposals. People who don't have writing learn other methods of remembering information. They develop excellent memories on details and use things like rhyme, stories, and metaphors as aids in memorization. Teachers use this when they present information in the form of simple poems and songs in pre school.
Last edited by jw1815 on Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

jw1815
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:23 am

Re: Evolving to make tools?

Post by jw1815 » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:08 pm

As a child my curiosity got me into a lot of trouble
I can identify with that. :) Had to check out things I read or heard about with actual experiments. Asked questions that usually ended up with instructions on where and how to look it up for myself.

Post Reply