Everything about this article fascinates me.
First, as a breastfeeding counselor, I find the idea that it was the invention of the sling that led to advancements that helped our species come into being PHENOMENAL. Yeah, that's right, it's the women who worked out the technical details so we could advance our butts off the savannah! We want and deserve Oprah and bon-bons.
Upright female hominins walking the savannah had a real problem: their babies couldn't cling to them the way a chimp baby could cling to its mother. Carrying an infant would have been the highest drain on energy for a hominin female - higher than lactation. So what did they do? I believe they figured out how to carry their newborns using a loop of animal tissue.
Once you have slings to carry babies, you have broken a glass ceiling - it doesn't matter whether the infant is helpless for a day, a month or a year. You can have ever more helpless young and that, as far as I can see, is how encephalisation took place in the genus Homo. We used technology to turn ourselves into kangaroos.
Using technology to turn ourselves into kangaroos - awesome visual.
I carried my babies in slings, did you? Did you make use of other technologies to help make your life as a momma easier?
But the article keeps going on with its awesomeness - it didn't just stop there. He goes on to tell us how our brains are smaller these days and we're outsourcing our intelligence. As a science fiction writer, this is the stuff that makes me squeal with girly excitement:
Evidence shows that over the last 30,000 years there has been an overall decrease in brain size and the trend seems to be continuing. That's because we can outsource our intelligence. I don't need to remember as much as a Neanderthal because I have a computer.
And because it's just a cool article, he sums up by talking about space travel:
I look back 4 million years and see our emergence and our evolution and then I look forward 4 million years because those are the timescales I'm used to. And in the long run, humans will go extinct if we can't get off this planet. The only way out, ultimately, is up.
If there isn't a story prompt (or fifty) in here for me and other science fiction writers, I will turn in my Science Fiction Geek Club card (whatever it may be.)
What do you think? Can you see the logic that technology made the humans rather than humans made the technology? And are you even more impressed with women's ingenuity? We've always been seeking ways to multitask - even 2.5 MILLION YEARS AGO. No wonder I'm so tired!