Why did man take so long to invent the wheel?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Captain Kremmen, May 29, 2013.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Wikipedia says that wrought iron has a very low carbon content, making it "tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded." It was the most common form of malleable iron before industrial technology made it practical to manufacture steel in commercial quantitites.

    Modern steel is, technically, carbon steel because of its high carbon content. Heat-treating carbon steel makes it stronger, harder and less malleable; but in any form it is not easy to weld.

    Genuine wrought iron is no longer produced commercially. Items advertised as "wrought iron" are carbon steel that is simply worked by hand ("wrought")--or just manufactured to look like it.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Because it's my job as a moderator. This is a place of science. People who want to learn about science are encouraged to come here to learn, ask questions, and participate in discussions. If we allow our boards to be littered with antiscientific trolling like this crap, they won't come. Andy didn't come here to learn. He came here to poison this website with trash.

    No I'm not. I got a degree in business administration 46 years ago but I never took that career path. Computer technology was just starting to take over the world and they needed people to make them work. I've worked in software development for 45 years--compared to the three years when I took a part-time job as a bookkeeper while I was in school.

    I have never claimed to be a great scientist. In fact whenever the issue arises, I make it clear that I'm not even a professional scientist--neither great nor minor. I have a good basic background in mathematics, physics and biology; there are high schools where I'd qualify to teach those subjects, although they're probably not the best high schools in America.

    And that's all I do here. I explain high school-level science to people who don't have the background. Nothing I write is the least bit controversial including evolution, which is accepted as scientific fact everywhere in the world, even by the Pope and the leaders of all the major religions. Evolution (which contradicts the fairytale about the Garden of Eden) and plate tectonics (which contradicts the fairytale about the six-day creation of the world) have been taught in Catholic universities for decades.

    It is only die-hard, uneducated fundamentalists who continue to insist that science is wrong. Unfortunately, to my shame, most of those people live in my country.

    I've never claimed any status to which I am not reasonably entitled. I claim a higher status than Andy because he's trolling a science board with fairytales. Duh?

    Many of my ancestors were Jewish but I'm not. There has been no religion in my family for three generations. We are free of all that nonsense.

    Life is complicated. Sometimes the right thing to do is to be humble, but there are also times when you need to be proud.
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  5. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    It happens all the time. Are you the same animal you were yesterday? How about on the day of your birth? How about as an embryo? if you walk that back to moment of the meiosis of the zygotes from which you were conceived, you'll discover one of the essential mechanisms of evolution, called crossover. It's a way to randomize the propagation of genes that code for certain traits while at the same time preserving genes that code for general traits (like arms and legs). Once in a while there is an error in the process (and other processes besides crossover) which cause mutations. Mutations can sometimes be catastrophic, resulting in harmful birth defects. But once in a small percentage of mutations the change in traits can be significant enough to mark the emergence of new species.

    The belief that organisms can not evolve is contradicted by evidence which you could reproduce yourself if you think science publications are dishonest. One of the most commonly known examples of evolution are the seasonal changes in microbes, in response to human immune systems, which evolve from those offspring that survived the immune response, built in numbers, and produced a new epidemic. The same is true of microbes that evolved resistances to antibiotics or other medicines.

    Many organisms co-evolved with other organisms, especially parasites. The parasites that aid in digestion for example may be specific to the host species and necessarily co-evolved. All of this dovetails with the known eras of appearances and disappearances of species according to fossil evidence, plus the wealth of recent genetic studies that have become another tool for scientists to correlate various kinds of evidence.

    The evolution of humans from "other animals" begins with recognizing the many humanoid fossils already found. Your other remark concerning your disbelief that humans and apes do not share a common past is disproved by Ardi.

    Fossils are hard to find, but a treasure trove already exist. But no matter how many mountains of evidence science brings forward, creationists will ignore and deny it. You may want to open another thread to learn more, or to refer to any of many existing threads on this topic.

    That has nothing to do with evolution.

    Creationism is just a re-hash of the belief in a creation myth, plus an insistence that, to preserve the myth, all evidence to the contrary must be rubbish.

    In the first place you are confusing Origin of Species and the Descent of Man, but you are also incorrectly paraphrasing Darwin. To begin to understand how he discovered evolutionary and natural selection, you would first need to solve the science problem he was working on, which involved explaining how certain finches came to inhabit the Galapagos Islands.

    That's OK we can just rely on the female works in science and we'll get the same result. If either evolution or Big Bang Theory bother you because of your religious beliefs, then you should question the source of your beliefs. It's fine to question both theories, it's just that it requires you to understand science, which is for some reason beyond you.

    Look around you at the developments since the Stone Age and see if you can restate that more accurately.

    Evolutionary biology is not going away, it's only gathering more and more evidence which creationists tend to ignore.

    Why so? What about Ardi, or half a dozen other finds? How about the find that humans carry Neanderthal DNA? Like I say, the evidence just keeps mounting.

    You mean the creationists? In science you are free to prove or disprove anything. We're not chained to any religious belief.

    IF you are so averse to having evolved from a lower animal, you should strive to elevate your own mind, so that you may see the irony in this statement.

    They are essential to survival, which is why we possess such faculties.

    In a cartoon maybe. In which case they would go on the road and start doing evolution tent revivals.

    You said that about half a dozen times.

    Actually it's the other way around. If you want to disprove the facts scientists are publishing, then you have to publish your own evidence in support of creationism. That's where Creation Science came from. But that's also why it's bogus. It never was interested in learning anything about nature in the first place.

    Having said all of this, and thinking that the subject is off-topic, I am reminded that 6 million years of progress (probably more) to get to the wheel was indeed slow, but then again humans had a lot of setbacks, like superstition, so maybe this discussion is more germane than I first thought.
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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Evolution of the wheel "revolved around" evolution of spokes, hubs, bearings and in a way that attached to the horses without cutting into their hide, and with a low enough center of gravity to be stable. The Egyptians solved this using a hexagonal spoke pattern, several novel ways to work the wood, and many field trials before they had a good design. This was explained on a documentary recently on one of the channels you mentioned.
  8. arauca Banned Banned

    By the way . did IBM, Burroughs and National cash computer existed in your corner , we had them in South America in the 1954. Well I will not think of you as a Yead anymore you probably were not Bar Mitzwo .
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    The wheel was invented way earlier than you guys think, it just wasn't really used. If I recall they found child toys with wheels on it from Mayan times. So people even from earlier times could have been aware of wheels, they just didn't have practical use for it, without bearings. So it was good for a child toy pushing it around without much weight, but not good enough for real life applications to move around heavy objects...
    Once the problem of bearing was solved, widespread usage occured...
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes. The municipal government I worked for had one Burroughs mainframe, one RCA (which was bought out by Univac) and one IBM. We didn't have an NCR but other organizations did.

    Only Hitler would have counted me as a Jew, because one grandparent came from a Jewish family and his rule was "25% or more." More amazingly, the Jews would never have accepted me as one of their own because it was my father's father. "Jewishness" is matrilineal. Even more amazingly, my father's grandparents gave up their Jewish religion and culture when they stepped off the boat and settled in America. They joined an Episcopal church and spoke only English at home. Grandpa knew about ten words of Yiddish, never had a Bar Mitzvah, and he married an American Episcopalian lady of English ancestry. I didn't even know I had Jewish ancestors until I was seventeen. I was born during WWII and I think every Jewish family in America was terrified because there was always a tiny chance that something might go wrong and America could lose the war. If Hitler took over the USA they would all have been killed. So my parents didn't want me going around telling people, "Did you know I had one pair of Jewish great-grandparents?"

    Mrs. Fraggle's mother was Jewish, although she eventually married a Christian and joined his church. So I tell everybody, "My family is one-third Jewish."

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    It was the Olmecs, the civilization that ruled that part of the world before the Maya took over, and then the Aztecs, and then the Spaniards, and finally the Mexicans. I already mentioned that we have found toys with wheels in Olmec archeological sites.

    But your timeline is a little off. The Olmecs had already discovered copper and tin and had advanced into the Bronze Age. Their little wheels were roughly contemporary with the wheels in the three Middle Eastern locales where they are first seen, more-or-less 3000BCE.

    I'll take your argument about bearings being the problem, but weren't the first wheel bearings just strips of greased leather? Not a difficult technology for a Bronze Age civilization to discover. I am still a little more swayed by the historians who say that the full potential of the wheel could not have been foreseen until the Scythians (or whoever lived on the Pontic Steppe around 3000BCE) domesticated the horse. Even with crappy bearings, or even no bearings at all, wheeled carts could have been built that were rugged enough and tiny enough to survive being pulled slowly by dogs, goats and donkeys--or even people!

    Cattle had already been domesticated by that time so the oxcart was probably the first large wheeled vehicle to be built. It could carry a big enough load that the bearing problem would have to be solved. Still, a half-assed solution would probably have been good enough to get by for a few centuries, since cattle do not travel anywhere near as fast as horses.
  11. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    @ OP,

    who says it was a man?
  12. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Aha. We're back on track.

    Here is the NOVA documentary that I was referring to.

    A team of experts explore the steps taken by chariot builders of the Golden Age of Egypt, and discover the technological hurdles by building a working model. It illustrates the practical interplay of numerous factors arriving at a particular wheel design. It's a great production rich in history, archaeology and engineering.
  13. arauca Banned Banned

    I would not be surprised if before the wheel was made a round log was used and a hole was burned along the axle and a rod was used as an axle then a horse could be tied to the rod axle this way a load could be pulled
  14. arauca Banned Banned

    Hitlers boys would not ask you for your ancestry . They would ask you drop your pants , and show them you dick, that was the whole questioning . Circumcised, then you are a Jew
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Nobody. The OP said "man", not " a man". In English, "man" can be used as a synonym for mankind.
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Ahem, this strikes me as rather off-topic, to say the least.
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Surely you mean personkind.
    You misogynist.

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    Re the pants dropping.
    How would circumcision show through in the third generation after conversion?
    Lamarckian evolution?
    No, the Nazis were meticulous genealogists.
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Then how did they decide about women?

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    The Germans have always been compulsive recordkeepers. They knew who everybody's ancestors were. They gassed Catholic nuns who may not have even known that four of their great-great grandparents were Jewish.

    For several generations, virtually all male babies in the USA were circumcised, so that would not have worked for the hypothetical Nazi conquerors. It's only recently that some people have begun to campaign against it. And since, statistically, circumcision appears to be a cheap and highly effective way to reduce the spread of HIV, the campaign is not getting a lot of traction.

    As Isaac Asimov put it, "I take man as embracing woman."

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    And this was not original.

    Remember that "man" originally meant "person." "Woman" is wif-man, literally, "female person." Weib is still the German word for "woman." The English cognate "wife" was used that way until the last couple of centuries, as in "midwife" and "goodwife" (pronounced "goody" and nowadays sometimes spelled that way in confusion).

    The titles "Lord" and "Lady" were originally the humble words hlaf-wird, "loaf-ward," i.e., bread-guarder, and hlaf-dig, "loaf-dough," i.e., bread-kneader.

    I don't get much traffic on the Linguistics board. I usually let anything go that smacks of history or scholarship and has anything at all to do with words.

    So far all of the posts have been composed of words, so it's okay.

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  19. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle: "but weren't the first wheel bearings just strips of greased leather? "

    Who knows, I wasn't there. But here is the thing, I would only use that technic to move large objects for building something unusual, not for everyday purpose. Also, I don't think it would work for a long distance. The native Americans used 2 large sticks (so to speak) and that worked just fine when the load is rather small and there are no roads. To use the wheel one needs:

    1. A somehow decent road system.
    2. A target that is used repeatedly, like a farmer's market. When you move around once a year, you can do without wheels.
    3. Widespread usage, instead of just one of a kind. repairs and supplying technology is easier.
    4. Metallurgy...
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This is the key. Without a metal saw, it is simply impossible to cut a board. And with only cross-sectional slabs of wood, it is simply impossible to build a wheel of useful size with enough structural integrity to carry a load of useful mass for a useful distance.

    Wheels made of stone, ceramic, or cross-sectional slabs are strong enough for toys, or maybe even the next-generation dog travois with the point supported by a single wheel instead of dragging on the ground. (Although we don't seem to have actually found any of these artifacts at Neolithic sites!)

    This would certainly have whetted the imagination of the tribe's tinkerers and inspired them to dream of large wheels that could haul a dead mammoth home from the hunt. But without metallurgy, it remained a dream.

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