Man’s First Technologies: Fire and Tools
People of the Stone Age did not have the luxury of housing, turning on the TV nor jumping in the car and getting food at the supermarket, buying clothing or even turning the heater on to keep warm.
This cave man did not have the luxury to dial 000 when they were attacked by Dinosaurs or other humans threatening them…. Rather, they had to fend for themselves, find shelter for safety and be in close proximity to food and water to survive.
Learning is human nature… how to sharpen a flint then attaching it to a piece of wood to create a spear so he could hunt and simultaneously defend himself or even use it as a digging tool.
Ingenuity lead him to inventing fire to keep warm, cook food and provide light when it was dark.
Advances in tool-making technology led to advances in agriculture, thus farming revolutionized the world and set prehistoric humans on a course toward modernity.
Inventions such as the plough helped in the planting of seeds, no longer did humans have to depend on the luck of the hunt and their food supply became much more certain.
Permanent settlements were soon to follow, animals were raised for food as well as to do work. Goats, for instance, were sources of milk and meat. Dogs were used to aid in hunting wild animals.
Modern, civilized societies began to emerge around the globe, human life as we know it started to flourish.
This same ingenuity and experimenting with the unknown over the centuries, has lead us to where we are today with inventions such as the:
Light Bulb, Printing Press, Refrigeration, Telecommunication, Computers, Highrise Buildings, Television, Cell phones, Computers, Satellites and more importantly the many thousands of hand, electric, pneumatic, laser…. tools.
Living in our computer-driven Information Age, we don't necessarily think of fire or tools as technologies.
But by definition technology refers to the "practical application of knowledge in a certain area." Learning how to tame and use fire proved an invaluable technological advance in human development.
Uncontrolled fire terrified our ancestors and still has the power to terrify today. Forest fires, or houses being burnt to the ground are still vexing problems.
However, take time to think of all of the practical uses of fire or its subsequent substitutes:
Where would we be today without it?
What was its importance to early people?
There is heavy debate as to exactly when humans first controlled the use of fire.
If early humans controlled it, how did they start a fire?
We do not have firm answers, but we can simulate their actions by using pieces of flint stones banging them together to created sparks or by rubbing two sticks together generating enough heat to start a blaze.
Conditions of these sticks had to be ideal for a fire.
Yet, they had the intelligence to recognize that they could use fire for a variety of purposes. Fire provided warmth and light and kept wild animals away at night.
Fire was useful in hunting, hunters with torches could drive a herd of animals over the edge of a cliff.
People also learned that they could cook food with fire and preserve meat with smoke. Cooking made food taste better and easier to swallow... this also helped with those people without teeth!
The early humans of 2 million years ago, did not have fire-making skills, so they waited until they found something burning from a natural cause to get fire.
A nightly campfire became a routine.
What was once comfort and safety, was now also a social occasion.
People would collect around the fire each night to share stories of the day's hunt and activities, to laugh and to relax.
The earliest evidence found in Swartkrans, South Africa and at Chesowanja, Kenya Terra and also Amata, France suggests that fire was first used in stone hearths about 1.5 million years ago.
Advances in tool-making technology led to advances in agriculture, farming revolutionized the world and set prehistoric humans on a course toward modernity.
Inventions such as the plough helped in the planting of seeds. No longer did humans have to depend on the luck of the hunt. Their food supply became much more certain and permanent settlements were soon to follow.
Animals were raised for food as well as to do work. Goats were a source of milk and meat. Dogs were used to aid in hunting wild animals.
Modern, civilized societies began to emerge around the globe. Human life as we know it started to flourish, small settlements began to be established.
These small settlements transformed the way humans lived and socialised with each other and helped to establish the fundamentals of a modern society.
As humans became more inventive with their basic hand tools, the use of wood, stone and metal because their main source as an abundant building material.
Not only did it help to provide shelter and eventually lead them building homes for themselves and then furniture.
Humans were also inquisitive by nature to explore what the rest of the world had to offer, humans used wood to build rafts and canoes to explore different communities across water. This helped them to continue their migration into new unexplored territories and ultimately different lands.
Trading between countries helped to establish economies, as well as sharing of ideas, cultures, innovations and goods that transformed human society and even contributed to the development of language and writing.
Technology goes beyond mere tool making; it is a process of creating ever more powerful technologies using the tools from the previous round of innovations.
A decade ago, smartphones (as we know them by today’s standards) didn’t exist.
Three decades earlier, no one even owed a computer. Think about that…the first personal computers arrived about 40 years ago. Today nearly everyone owns one and business would not survive without them. Intuitively, it feels like technology is progressing faster than ever before.
This driving force, which has been dubbed:
The law of accelerating returns, and the surprising implications of human discovery of technology.