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Narrowing Down When Humans Began Hurling Spears 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-it-a-throw dept.
sciencehabit writes "Archaeologists have long debated when early humans began hurling stone-tipped spears and darts at large prey. By throwing a spear, instead of thrusting it, humans could hunt buffalo and other dangerous game from a safe distance, with less risk of a goring or mauling. But direct evidence of this hunting technique in early sites has been lacking. A new study of impact marks on the bones of ancient prey shows that such sophisticated killing techniques go back at least 90,000 years ago in Africa and offers a new method of determining how prehistoric hunters made their kills."
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Narrowing Down When Humans Began Hurling Spears

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  • by sycodon (149926) on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:03PM (#43775605)

    The Romain Empire used concrete extensively, even hydraulic cement (cures under water).

    After the Empire fell, they went back to building with rocks.

  • Re:The Thagomizer (Score:4, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:03PM (#43775607)

    Throwing a spear takes some practice to be at all effective with it, especially at any sort of range when facing something that could either escape and make you starve, or kill you so you'd never have to worry about starving again. It's not like a rock where you can get reasonable aim with a few practice throws, especially a spear large enough to take down big game using a stone or flint tip.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:05PM (#43775639)

    It is said it could cleanly cut through a falling silk scarf.

    I thought at first that the manufacturing process was lost because it was kept a trade secret. However, this paper [] finds that the superior properties of the steel come from impurities that were present in the original iron mine. When iron from a different mine used used, the steelsmiths were unable to reproduce the original's properties. Within a generation, production was entirely abandoned.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:07PM (#43775655) Homepage

    Maybe though, it's why we have an engrained preference for the skinny!

    I doubt you mean skinny like the sacks of antlers they call super models, on the other end there are cultures that think people who have a body shape like a beach ball are ideal. There have been several studies I have seen that in general indicate that a more curvy body shape for women is preferred by men. There is something to be said about having some fat and still looking healthy that was probably selected for in prehistoric times since that would be a good indication that you could provide for your self and were of good health.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354