Tool - History

History

Anthropologists believe that the use of tools was an important step in the evolution of mankind. Humans evolved an opposable thumb — useful in holding tools — and increased dramatically in intelligence, which aided in the use of tools. Because tools are used extensively by both humans and wild chimpanzees, it is widely assumed that the first routine use of tools took place prior to the divergence between the two species. These early tools, however, were likely made of perishable materials such as sticks, or consisted of unmodified stones that cannot be distinguished from other stones as tools. The beginning of the Stone Age marks the era when hominins first began manufacturing stone tools, and evidence of these tools dates back at least 2.6 million years in Ethiopia. One of the earliest distinguishable stone tool forms is the hand axe.

Up until recently, weapons found in digs were the only tools of “early man” that were studied and given importance. Now, more tools are recognized as culturally and historically relevant. As well as hunting, other activities required tools such as preparing food, “…nutting, leatherworking, grain harvesting and woodworking…” Included in this group are “flake stone tools (which may or may not have been used more commonly by women). ” This recognition in other tools used by early people is attributed to the addition of feminist perspective in anthropology and archaeology.

Tools are the most important items that the ancient humans used to climb to the top of the food chain; by inventing tools, they were able to accomplish tasks that human bodies could not, such as using a spear or bow and arrow to kill prey, since their teeth were not sharp enough to pierce many animals' skins. “Man the hunter” as the catalyst for Hominin change has been questioned. Based on marks on the bones at archaeological sites, it is now more evident that pre-humans were scavenging off of other predator’s carcasses rather than killing their own food.

The transition from stone to metal tools roughly coincided with the development of agriculture around the 4th millennium BC. Mechanical devices experienced a major expansion in their use in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome with the systematic employment of new energy sources.especially waterwheels. Their use expanded through the Dark Ages with the addition of windmills.

Machine tools occasioned a surge in producing new tools in the industrial revolution. Advocates of nanotechnology expect a similar surge as tools become microscopic in size.

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