Ancient Africans engineered pyrotechnology in tool making
In 1961, while delivering a set of lectures at the University of Oxford, Dr. L. S. B. Leakey–renowned and foremost social-anthropologist of the time–questioned the insidious notion that was entertained by some that while the human physiognomical form may have originated in Africa, the mind and its cognitive properties developed in Europe. Leakey intimated that in all the destinations one may travel to, and enter into discourse about Africa, “the question is regularly asked by people who should know better: ‘But what has Africa contributed to the world progress…not this, not that and not the other thing…'”
Evidence that early humans (here we’re talking about around the torso part of the family tree) discovered and engineered pyrotechnology for sophisticated tool creation has been proffered by research teams from Arizona State University, and University of Cape Town. As reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, considerations for the presiding concept that the manipulation of fire for implement creations and use would now have to be moved back to possibly a period between 72,000 and 164,000 years ago. The quintessential significance of such findings is that the artifacts that substantiate the discovery are a type of rock that when heated and tempered, then chiseled to apportionate shape, become a more durable and stronger tool. As all great discoveries were initiated by that anomalous spark, that serendipitous genius moment, that “aha!” period as scientist might proclaim, this technology while requiring the requisite harnessing of fire, also “required a novel association between fire, its heat, and a structural change in stone with consequent flaking benefits.” In the academic disciplines of physics and chemistry, such causation principles and reactions are referred to as heat treatment technology.
While the discovery of such ancient pyrotechnic methodology was astounding merely on physical anthropological and archaeological grounds, I am quite certain that the lion-share of the possibilities that exist for re-imagining and reappraising sociobiological and cultural merits are being celebrated amongst the cultural and social anthropologist; as well as specialist historians, ethnic studies scholars, and possible linguists. For in addition to the physical proofs that existed from which future scientific extrapolations will be made to buttress and extend future research, “[o]ur discovery [also] shows that these early modern humans had this complex cognition,” explains Kyle Brown, the lead author and doctoral candidate from University of Cape Town. And, to explicate another correlate of such technology that integrates other aforementioned disciplines, we are told by Curtis Marean–project director and co-author of the paper–that, “[t]his knowledge is then passed on, and in a way unique to humans, the technology is slowly ratcheted up in complexity as the control of the heating process, cooling and flaking grows in sophistication.” The vector by which such knowledge is primarily stored and shared is language.
So, we now wonder if and when such information will be filtered into the contemporary scholastic curriculum. One cardinal component of developing a critical and culturally relevant pedagogic paradigm, a consortium of sorts that appreciates and illustrates those merits that usually accompany the singular and concerted efforts contributed by ethnic and cultural types, is that the sustained thinking that Africa and Africans were bereft of any sophistication has to be eradicated from existing modalities of thought. In addition to the most recent discoveries that African-continental location was the site for the first exploitation of marine foods, and the modification of pigments for colorings, the concept of heat treatment will also have to be reordered because, “[p]rior to our work.” says Marean, “heat treatment was widely regarded as first occurring in Europe at about 25,000 years ago. We [now] push this back at least 45,000 years, and, perhaps, 139,000 years, and place it on the southern tip of Africa at Pinnacle Point.”
But hey, unlike celebrating the most glorious aspect of one’s existential being–you know, that historical legacy of sorts that we all have that is classified as ancestry–as that of the potato plant, these things have similar nutrients involved. Rarely are tubers completely digestible when first extracted, however, with heat temperence, all exterior and interior nutrients may be appreciated and better suited to satiate intellectual inquiry.