Tue 23 Dec, 2008 11:45 am
Feel free to speculate. This is a discussion. I want to explore a bit of history regarding the most basic discoveries of humanity, while also exploring how often ideas are lost and then reacquired in human history.
How many times in history was the wheel invented?
Let's say some caveman hits on the idea first, does the idea spread from there, cover the world and never get lost. Or is the wheel discovered many places and many times and then lost a few times along the way?
And in a general sense, how many times throughout history are the most basic tools of humanity (wheel and making fire) "discovered"?
I think that both "the wheel" and "fire making" have been discovered many times, but I have no historic information to back up that conjecture.
Given that these things probably predate any written record I'm not sure how it would/could be determined. Unless there has been evidence of wheels or fire in a particular culture which shows isolation from any other. Even then it would be difficult to know.
The wheel really is not a great invention. One wheel, after all, doesn't get you very far, and even two wheels are pretty much useless in themselves. The key invention wasn't the wheel, it was the axle.
Find the guy who invented the axle -- he's the genius.
Good point. Ok, how many times was the axle invented?