‘Pre-historic man innovated to develop new weapon systems’

June 11th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 11 (IANS) When it came to creating deadly weapons, primitive man, even with a less developed brain, was just as innovative as his modern counterpart. Missouri University archaeologists have come to this conclusion after discovering that our ancestors relied on trial and error to perfect the highly effective bow and arrow system.

Said R. Lee Lyman, who led the study: “The introduction of the bow and arrow, a different weapon delivery system, demanded some innovative thinking and technology.”

“When it appeared in North America, roughly 1,500 years ago, it eventually replaced the atlatl (spear thrower) and dart.”

“In other words, one could not just shoot a dart from a bow. Components like the shaft and arrow point needed to be reinvented,” he pointed out.

Because flight dynamics and mechanics of the arrow wouldn’t have been fully understood, our ancestors must have experimented with different types of shafts, attempting to discover the best combinations.

This reinvention process can be seen archaeologically through the increase in the number and variation of projectile points - indicating the transition period between the atlatl and the bow and arrow.

“Everyone is looking for the better mouse trap,” Lyman said. “Once a change is made in one variable, it may prompt changes in another variable because the two are mechanically linked.”

Lyman said there is evidence of an initial burst of variation in projectile points at the time bow-and-arrow technology was introduced and that prehistoric artisans experimentally sought arrow points that worked effectively.

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