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Perhaps the coolest weapon ever invented by palaeolithic humans, the atlatl is the first lever, as well as weapons system and complex tool invented by ancient Man. The name comes from a combination of Nuhatl indian words of Central America meaning "Water" and "to throw" from its use as a fishing weapon, though separate examples are known from almost every continent, except Africa and Antarctica.
So powerful and effective was the Atlatl that scientist and scholars speculate that it, along with the overkill tactics so common to the human race, caused the extinction of the woolly mammoth in North America before the end of the ice age.
The earliest secure data concerning atlatls has come from several caves in France dating to the Upper Paleolithic, about 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. The very earliest atlatl shaft found to date is a simple antler hook dated to the Solutrean period (about 17,500 years ago), recovered from the site of Combe Sauniere.
It seems to have been introduced to America during the immigration across the Bering Land Bridge, and despite the later introduction of the bow, atlatl use was widespread at the time of first European contact. Complete wooden spearthrowers have been found on dry sites in the western USA, and in waterlogged environments in Florida and Washington.
As well as its practical use as a hunting weapon, it may also have had social effects. John Whittaker, an anthropologist at Grinnell College, Iowa, suggests the device was a social equaliser in that it requires skill rather than muscle power alone. Thus women and children would have been able to participate in hunting,
Originally posted by restlessinMT
Wow! Cool info OP! I never heard of this and now I want one! Forget taking up bow hunting this looks hard but Wow! Gotta get me one of these!
P.S. The size of the arrows reminds of the movie Avatar! Sorry I a a big Sci Fi movie lover!
Thanks again and will be looking more into this! Very cool!
Originally posted by wewillnotcomply666
Very nice thread. The aboriginals use/used something almost exactly the same . Great little invention and surprisingly easy to use and make.
Originally posted by SLAYER69
reply to post by jude11
Which is probably the sole and root cause of many ice age mega fauna's demise.....
Originally posted by Asktheanimals
Well done thread Jude
The atl-atl is the best primitive weapon both for speed, distance and accuracy.
With practice people can even outshoot archers with it.
It will also throw a much heavier and deadlier projectile than your typical arrow.
You can learn how to make and shoot them in 10 minutes people
Watch the videos, these are well worth any survivalists time.
(guy in the last video can't throw for &*4t)
edit on 7-9-2012 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Alda1981
AWESOME!!! child kills an animal for no apparent reason!!!