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Discussion Starter #1
Danish archer Lars Anderson attempts to rediscover rapid fire archery techniques that were lost during the early stages of single shot gun innovation. The idea of rapid fire may be very ancient, as it is alluded to in cave paintings, a Saracen training manual enumerates 3 arrows in 1.5 seconds and one leader was known to shoot 10 arrows into the air before the first hit the ground. I thought it was really interesting to watch, but I guess I can't verify most of the claims about ancient prehistory. If it is essentially true, then I find it especially interesting from our perspective as semiautomatic gun owners.

 

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Seen that before. Pretty amazing stuff. As a guy who has a degree in History and studied it quite a bit I've found that modern man tends to think the past was full of ignorance and unsophisticated Neanderthal's compared to our vast "modern" intelligence. What I've found is that mans ingenuity, intelligence, inventiveness, and skill has changed relatively little if any. Technology has changed quite a bit but the skills of the minds behind them are virtually the same.
 

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I had a nice re-curve bow once. I wish I would have kept it seeing this. Would be nice to learn these techniques for deer hunting.
 

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Very cool! It stands to reason that if you practice enough as they used to do, this is possible. Archers were the great equalizers of the day, and believe it or not, we owe archers credit for "the finger" we so proudly flip today. Here is another example of speed shooting:

 
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"Our arrows will black out the sun." ~ Persian underling
"Well then we'll fight in the shade." ~ Spartan
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Another interesting fact about the bow and arrow is that it was invented independently several times in separate regions and by different cultures. It's just one of those ideas that is so ingeniously practical that smart people separated by immense time and space arrived at exactly the same concept.

Joe, I enjoyed that vid. 7n6, I, too, get the urge to try to learn these techniques. Not sure if I could, though! nsnate02, I also covered a lot of human prehistory in my studies, and I completely agree that the genius of ancient humans is often overlooked in favor of the accumulated knowledge of the modern age. There may be some explanations for why we are surrounded by "smart" devices, and yet each of us, myself included, is barely smart enough to use them, let alone invent them independently.

Primate and wildlife research suggest that the most uniquely human intellectual trait is imitation. At least as of 2006 (which admittedly was a while ago, so maybe there have been breakthroughs), there has been no recorded instance of any wild animal imitating the behavior of another wild animal. They can converge on identical behaviors and develop culture (as in bird songs or chimps using tools) but they cannot watch one individual carry out an act in a particular way and then later carry out the same act that they witnessed to solve the same problem. The terminology and methods are more specific than I can recount, but if you are curious, feel free to double check me. Anyway, they can be trained to imitate simple things in labs with a lot of conditioning, which fundamentally alters their neural networks, but it doesn't happen naturally. On the other hand, in nature, with no training from humans, monkeys and apes have demonstrated fundamental characteristics of language, math, and tool use--but imitation is just intellectually beyond the great apes, dolphins, and the rest of the animal kingdom. That is the domain of man. Man, the tool maker, meet man, the imitator. It's plain to see that we imitate constantly and even subconsciously. The next time you are talking to a group of people in a crowd, shift your posture in a conspicuous way and watch your peers imitate it subconsciously. Look at dancing.

Human behavior can more or less be described in terms of a radiation of behaviors in rippling decay of imitators imitating imitators, punctuated by a steady input of our unique thoughts, from some more than others, unfortunately. The fact that we imitate so effortlessly may have, in a synergistic way, selected for all of the best problem solvers and imitators throughout much of our prehistory, which, as anatomically modern humans, spans about 200,000 years. That, itself, is mind blowing to me. The pyramids are ~6k years old, farming is ~12k years old, but there are remains of humans, anatomically indistinguishable from us, dating back ~190k years before that. What do we even know about ourselves? People that are highly impacted by autism can be totally ingenious at various types of reasoning, but act in ways that people consider fairly ridiculous, and their ability to imitate is also greatly impaired. Several of the great, well-known, modern geniuses are assumed to have been impacted more or less by autism. Every human has a certain neuronal balance between that bias towards reasoning and imitation. Even very smart people generally rely on both skills as they go about their trades.

I don't bring this up to encourage people to be elitist, or anything, I just think it's really interesting how these interconnected intellectual abilities have shaped history and prehistory, and we really couldn't have the internet or the Kalashnikov or any modern comforts without a whole lot of people imitating each other along the way. The Kalashnikov is actually a perfect example. We may or may not be as ingenious as we ever have been as a species, but it's obvious, at this point, that our ability to imitate has netted a profound repertoire of accumulated skills, information, and resulting technologies. Ancient humans were left to solve or not solve a lot more problems on their own, and most likely the balance between imitation and genius has fluctuated in time and space. There were probably situations when isolated populations of humans were able to flourish and select for 'imitation' genes when conditions, for example, favored imitating one simple way of acquiring food and shelter, but there were probably also isolated populations in other places at other moments when non-reliance on imitation, and individual spatial reasoning for example, was the difference between life and death, such as on ice sheets, etc. You can see where selective pressure has probably been all over the place for populations of people throughout our 200,000 year past. The smartest and dumbest individual humans to ever walk the Earth may well have already passed long before us, for all we know!
 

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Excellent information..never thought something like that was possible. Thanks for sharing.
 
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