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Blackberry's avatar

Where did the original ideas that humans have come from (details)?

Asked by Blackberry (29643 points ) June 12th, 2012

This is a pretty vague question. How did early humans come up with the ideas to start the foundation for what we have now? How did all of these ideas come to fruition?

You can apply this to anything you would like: building a traffic system: where did that original idea come from?

How did early humans come up with the idea to plant crops?

Where did the original idea for a water filtration system come about?

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33 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

When they ate something, like they saw animals and birds do, and it tasted okay, they went back to that plant. And sometimes they would poop the seeds or throw them in a particular location, and notice that some of that plant would grow there.

Symbeline's avatar

I’m guessing most of the more basic ideas were heavily centered around the need to survive; they did what was convenient and what worked.

Blackberry's avatar

@NuclearWessels I’m being serious when I say that is very amazing. It’s amazing to know people long before us made that object, and it’s still here today. Here is a 500 year old woman, completely intact. She froze to death in the mountains and was recently found.

YARNLADY's avatar

Exactly the same way they do today, observation and experimentation.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This article states that humans are not unique in their abilities to create. It is a trait shared by other great apes at least.

What you’re asking in the OP is a serious scientific question. It deserves close consideration.

I am not a scientist, but I’m interested in this type of information. It seems like what you’re asking is why humans do what we do. I think many of our basic institutions arose out of instinctual drives.

The idea of government arose from our apish nature to have a dominant male in the clan…perhaps.

Our need for food led to closely observing how nature provided for the hunters and gatherers. That information was copied.

The necessity to avoid disease led directly to finding clean water supplies and making clean water.

Humans have evolved from other life forms, and we have brought characteristics with us that can be traced directly to other animals.

wundayatta's avatar

First you study a subject as thoroughly as possible. Then you ask a question about whether something about the subject is related to another thing and in what way. Then you make a guess about how that relationship works and whether one thing causes another or not. Then you design a way to test that relationship.

If the relationship proves out, you can then design a piece of technology that takes advantage of the relationship, now that you understand it. This is called science, and it is the process of creating knowledge and then building technology to take advantage of the knowledge. It is not at all magical. It is just a lot of work and it requires that people be both curious and lazy.

Laziness is required because people need to want to free up time for other pursuits. If you don’t care what you do, you’ll never seek to save yourself time and you won’t invent anything new. Laziness is the mother of all invention.

cookieman's avatar

Laziness is the mother of all invention.

@wundayatta: This needs to be a bumper sticker.

Anywho… I’m thinking a lot of trial and error.

Blackberry's avatar

@wundayatta Yeah, laziness. I believe there was a hypothesis about how bipedalism came about: it takes less energy to walk with 2 hind limbs or legs, as opposed to the legs and hands.

tranquilsea's avatar

I think our ability to innovate is what has driven many/most of our advances in society. It starts with a need and then we innovate the crap out of it.

ucme's avatar

Mickey Rooney’s school for hard knocks.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve always wondered about this, too. It’s so interesting to think we’ve come all the way from caves to microwaves. Each tiny thing built on the last, and here we are!

Blackberry's avatar

@augustlan We’ve built an extremely complex calculating machine called the computer. These machines can do more work in a minute than we can do in 24 hours…....and we use it to watch porn, lol.

cookieman's avatar

…....and we use it to watch porn

@Blackberry: Isn’t this true of many inventions?

• printing press
• vcr
• film projector
• television
• cable

Blackberry's avatar

@cprevite I guess we can never underestimate humanity’s need for hot sex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is a GREAT question @Blackberry. I sometimes wonder myself, “Who was the first person to see the connection between, say, fire, and more easily edible meat. Who was the first to think of containing fire. Who was the first to take note of a seed sprouting with a familiar type of plant, and then taking the next step…what they could do with it.” It’s mind boggling. Hot sex is not mind boggling! It’s the common to all mammals, and birds and probably fishes and amphibians too!

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Hot sex isn’t mind boggling? Maybe you just need hotter sex. Planck’s Law states the hotter the body, the stronger radiation, lol.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hot sex drives every living thing, from amoebas to flowers to great apes, duh!

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, it drives it real well.

Ok, I’m just kidding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Down boy!!

Blackberry's avatar

Arf. Ruff.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Damn it! You made me spit beer on my key board!!!

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, you don’t need to have sex all that often in order to pass on your genes. One would think that the desire for hot sex would be a great driver for evolution, but I’m not sure you could prove that, especially in this day and age with birth control so readily available.

I think that people who are driven by sex are being more and more marginalized in our society today.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@wundayatta—you only need to have sex one time to pass on the genes, and doesn’t need to be hot sex. The frequency or the desire doesn’t have anything to do with it. But sex is a brand-new, amazing, powerful thing to every 14 year old on the planet and always will be. If that were to change it would be over the course of hundreds and thousands of years, not in just a couple of generations. But I can’t see it changing. The desire for sex is the driver for every living thing on the planet.

wundayatta's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree that it is a very powerful motivator for actions that sometimes result in new life. Too bad I won’t be here to see what happens in a hundred thousand years. I would really like to. Especially if I got to have more sex. I don’t know how I would feel if I ever couldn’t perform. That would be really, really depressing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wouldn’t bother me!

NuclearWessels's avatar

Fun fact I heard today – 1 sperm cell contains about 37.5MB of DNA – so a normal ejaculation transfers about 1,587GB of data in 3 seconds.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I SO needed to know that! :)

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. I would say it delivers all that data, but the issue of transfer is still pretty precarious. Unless that data finds a home, it is pretty much going to be lost forever. The chances of it finding a home are less than one in however many million sperm there are. And it’s not just a matter of joining up with an egg, but also of implanting in the uterine wall and being carried to term and growing up and doing things and maybe even making further data transfers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some of us just got really damn lucky through the generations, didn’t we @wundayatta. You ever think about the chances of any one of us even being here? I mean, that split second had to happen at just THAT split second, and not at any other time, over hundreds of thousands of years for us to come into being. Any deviation, if it had happened a few seconds later with any ONE of our hundreds and thousands of ancestors, someone else would be here.

wundayatta's avatar

That is true, @Dutchess_III. The thing is, once we are in existence, all that has already happened exactly the way it did, and no other way. It was amazing chance, and yet, inevitable, too. Because that’s what happened.

However, for the future, we can’t know. My children got chosen by a lab technician wielding a very thin syringe. He (or she) stuck that syringe into a small mass of immature sperm in a test tube, most likely, and pulled out one, then inserted it through the cell wall of one of my wife’s 9 eggs, and deposited the sperm there. They were unable to get through the cell wall on their own, since they didn’t have tails—the last part that grows.

Nine eggs were fertilized. 7 became embryos. Seven were returned to my wife’s womb in the next four years, and two were fully gestated and born and have been growing ever since. That was sixteen years and nine months ago. My oldest carries the Delta F508 genetic mutation that caused me to be unable to father children without technological intervention. So that’s something she has to watch out for when she finds a father for her children.

Her twin brother, born four years later, doesn’t have that mutation, so hopefully he won’t have any nasty surprises when it comes time to try to become a father, himself. It would be nice if he could do it the way evolution developed for us. But it doesn’t really matter. Because now we have these new technologies, like the Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, that can help people like me pass on their genes.

When they used ICSI for us, we were among the first. It was a pretty new technology. They also abraded the surface of the embryo so that it would have a better chance of implanting on my wife’s uterine wall. That was another new thing. Lots of new ideas and I never would have known about them without the internet, another new thing at the time. My life has been impacted by emerging technologies more than most, I would say. In very crucial ways—down the very basics of creating new life.

What are the chances of that? Doesn’t matter. It happened.

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