Sunday, June 05, 2011

Why Couldn't Sub-Saharan Africans Invent the Wheel?

IQ Map of World

Before relatively recent contact with outside cultures, Subsaharan Africans did not invent the wheel, did not invent writing, developed minimal art, or agriculture, lacked musical instruments beyond simple percussion, and came up virtually empty in terms of math, science, and technology. Why the absence of invention and development?

The map of world IQ at top provides a tentative answer to the question, but the map raises a more central question: Why do SubSaharan African populations test so low, on average, on tests of IQ, executive function, and impulse control? Is it possible that a significant part of the development of the human "superbrain" -- which makes modern advanced civilisation possible -- developed after humans left the African birthplace?
The dispersal of modern humans from Africa to Europe some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago provides a “minimum date” for the development of language, Hoffecker speculated. “Since all languages have basically the same structure, it is inconceivable to me that they could have evolved independently at different times and places.”

A 2007 study led by Hoffecker and colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences pinpointed the earliest evidence of modern humans in Europe dating back 45,000 years ago. Located on the Don River 250 miles south of Moscow, the multiple sites, collectively known as Kostenki, also yielded ancient bone and ivory needles complete with eyelets, showing the inhabitants tailored furs to survive the harsh winters.

The team also discovered a carved piece of mammoth ivory that appears to be the head of a small figurine dating to more than 40,000 years ago. “If that turns out to be the case, it would be the oldest piece of figurative art ever discovered,” said Hoffecker, whose research at Kostenki is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

The finds from Kostenki illustrate the impact of the creative mind of modern humans as they spread out of Africa into places that were sometimes cold and lean in resources, Hoffecker said. “Fresh from the tropics, they adapted to ice age environments in the central plain of Russia through creative innovations in technology.”

Ancient musical instruments and figurative art discovered in caves in France and Germany date to before 30,000 years ago, he said. “Humans have the ability to imagine something in the brain that doesn’t exist and then create it,” he said. “Whether it’s a hand axe, a flute or a Chevrolet, humans are continually recombining bits of information into novel forms, and the variations are potentially infinite.” _SB

The absence of sophisticated invention or innovation prior to the human diaspora out of Africa, or in SubSaharan Africa since that diaspora, suggests a potentially deep distinction in the way that humans inside SS Africa think in comparison to how Eurasian humans learned to think.

It would be good to be able to research this puzzle, but unfortunately, the straitjacket of Political Correctness prevents the raising of such questions -- even for purposes of objective scientific research. Which means that those of us who are curious will have to conduct our investigations under the table, so to speak.

Is that not always how it is, when intelligent and curious humans are faced with oppressive and authoritarian culture-reichs, such as the modern quasi-left postmodern PC culture?

Ancient Inventions

Inventions of Ancient China

Top 10 Ancient Inventions

Previously published at abu al-fin

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Blogger Marx said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Marx said...

"Before relatively recent contact with outside cultures, subaharan Africans did not invent the wheel, did not invent writing, developed minimal art, or agriculture, lacked musical instruments beyond simple percussion, and came up virtually empty in terms of math, science, and technology. Why the absence of invention and development?"

No wheel? Well without any tamable beasts of burden why would you need one?

No writing? Bullshit. Ever hear of the Nsibidi System? Don't even get me started on that "minimal art" crap.

The agriculture bit can be explained away easily. No good crops ever reached Sub-Saharan Africa, so there was no need to farm extensively like in the temperate breadbaskets of Asia and Europe.

"lacked musical instruments beyond simple percussion". Most ignorant thing I've heard all damn day.

"and came up virtually empty in terms of math, science, and technology. Why the absence of invention and development?" Just because the African idea of civilization is different from the Eurasian idea of civilization, you slap the label of "dumb" onto them? Come on. What about Native Americans in the United States? Unlike Africans, they had no complex government or public works of stone. Were they "less intelligent? By the way, that IQ map is not a racial one, it should represent the economic situation of the peoples in those regions. Africa is the poorest in the world, are they going to be smart and sophisticated?

And besides you left out Ancient Nubia, a black civilization! But no, that magically disappeared in your assessment, right? Just cherry-picking right?

Get your shit together, do your damn research before spouting shit like this.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear Marx, you seem to be very mad. I take it you're black or you're either a mentally deranged sjw.

Firstly, no tamable animals in africa? Are you serious?

Secondly, the Nsibidi system? Don't make me laugh. How has that influenced writing or language? It has not.

Concerning your points or lack thereof about agriculture and musical instrucments, you need to provide reputable sources and proof.

The economic situation is as a result of the people, they are different. Want proof? Post revolution Haiti. more proof? Post apartheid South Africa. Haiti was the best country in the Caribbean, one of the best in the world. It was on par with some European countries, and did just as good if not better than the US when it came to trading. But then, the blacks murdered, raped, and destroyed the country. Same with South Africa.

Ancient Nubia? There isn't even any decent evidence to suggest this was a great civilization.

Stay mad friend.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Lovelytrini82 said...

Have you heard of the Adam Calendar in south africa dated to be around 75,000 years old, it is celestial aligned (primitive??) also many art artifacts were found and brick buildings ( also found in other ancient African kingdoms.
Africa has the 3rd oldest boat and in ancient days was a big trading center that also taught math, sciences, religion.

Herodotus talked of the Egyptians being black and skin and giving great detail in how they looked and obviously blacks migrated all through Africa as it is a continent and not a country.

All languages derived from one single african tongue

1.There is a rock engraving located at Oued Mertoutek Lower level proto sahara 5000-3000 B.C ( think Nubia which was full of math, science, etc)
2.Wadi-el hol 2000-4000 B.C
3.Nisbidi ancient writing and still used today
4.Vai 3000 BC-Present
5.Napatan 800 BC-600 AD Nubia
6.Ge'ez 600 AD-Present
7.Old Nubia writing

Ancient African Kingdoms
1.The Aksum or Axum Empire was an important military power and trading nation in the area that is now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100 to 940 A.D.
At its height, it was one of only four major international superpowers of its day along with Persia, Rome and China. Axum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers, almost half the size of India. Axum traded and projected its influence as far as China and India, where coins minted in Axum were discovered in 1990.

2.Mali Empire
After the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire rose to dominate West Africa. Located on the Niger River to the west of Ghana in what is today Niger and Mali, the empire reached its peak in the 1350s.
The Mali Empire was founded by Mansa (King) Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa. He was the grandson of Sundiata’s half-brother, and led Mali at a time of great prosperity, during which trade tripled. During his rule, Mansa Musa doubled the land area of Mali; it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.
The cities of Mali became important trading centers for all of West Africa, as well as famous centers of wealth, culture and learning. Timbuktu, an important city in Mali, became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Vast libraries and Islamic universities were built. These became meeting places of the finest poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.
The Kingdom of Mali had a semi-democratic government with one of the world’s oldest known constitutions – The Kurukan Fuga.

3.Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was the largest state in African history and the most powerful of the medieval west African states. It expanded rapidly beginning with King Sonni Ali in the 1460s and by 1500s, it had risen to stretch from Cameroon to the Maghreb. In 1360, disputes over succession weakened the Mali Empire, and in the 1430s, Songhai, previously a Mali dependency, gained independence under the Sonni Dynasty. Around thirty years later, Sonni Sulayman Dama attacked Mema, the Mali province west of Timbuktu, paving the way for his successor, Sonni Ali, to turn his country into one of the greatest empires sub-Saharan Africa has ever seen.

and there is more

The list goes on in information and truth of Africa and what has come out of Africa but Europeans hide that information to give "plausible" reason why Blacks are more dumbed. Search the Dogon people and many others that knew things way before europeans Scientist even understood. Its a shame that your color keeps you dumb and you automatically assume people are anger when you are proven wrong. You may delete this but at least do some this day in age knowledge and truth is in yourself a favor

6:31 PM  
Blogger Lovelytrini82 said...

and for a dumb group of people did you know they were also "iron working" some 5000 years ago in West Africa there were different practices direct reduction and this was not brought to them but they were doing. History needs to be taught correctly and honestly. This is such an ignorant reading, I am very appalled especially since Africans were treated less then human and you had whites who made sure to try to play with eugenics to white them out ( founder of planned parenthood) why would you expect for white researches to open talk about the innovative and grand structures, art, music ( that we still see today), because it is not classical music it automatically is not good is art in all fashions and the appreciation of variety is a beautiful thing.
Were native americans, taino indians, mayans, aztezs, caribs, aboriginals STUPID because they didn't do what europeans did, honestly i think we would be better off if we followed the ancients...a cleaner and greener world..smh shame on you for your ignorance.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it when you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to defend yourselves. I shouldn't even take you seriously since that whole "adam's calendar" nonsense has been debunked.

I also love how there always seems to be some conspiracy about the "truth" of africa, always shrouded in mystery.

Again, what has those "empires" contributed to the world? Nothing. I love how those "empires" have evolved into squalor where today people are burned alive for being "witches", where albinos are hunted, and where babies are raped because it's seen as a cure for aids.

You must be confused, I accept that almost every other race contributed to this world besides one certain race.

Arabs contributed to science and medicine, Indians contributed to mathematics and education, the Romans laid the groundwork for politics and political systems, The Native Americans contributed to agriculture, the Chinese contributed to paper making and mapping, the Greeks contributed to almost everything.

On the other hand, africans have contributed high rates of crime, rapes, murders, rise in handouts, among other things.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Blksambo said...

I agree. I wonder why it is next to impossible to get a straight answer on this subject from a negro. They dispute FACTS and embrace fantacy. Why can't a SINGLE negro just admit that they are a scourge on the earth?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Savage _Tv said...

You only agree because it goes with your racist ass views.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Savage _Tv said...

You are so ignorant it fucking hurts. Both of you.

5:19 PM  
Blogger pickletree100 said...

Fascinating. Even more than five years since this blog was started, I think that its relevancy will be timeless -- thank you author. Side note: how can anyone denigrate this author if their approach is coming from the vantage of scientific inquiry? Frankly, I am disappointed why we often as a global society cant grow despite our differences in terms of race, nationality and religion.

For the record, I'm an Egyptian-American guy who is officially14% Sub-Saharan African. Please refer to the following for my dna breakdown:

My take: I think that the author has a valid question. On the record, Ghana, Mali, Benin and Zimbabwe Empires had their greatest achievements in the Common Era. All the countries had access to gold, which should have provided them room to flourish by invention.

As many previous people to this blog have noted, these empires were centers of trade.

However, take the Babyloniens of Mesopotamia, which flourished almost 1500 years before the Ghana Empire. These people engineered their now-famous aqueducts to the Gardens of Babylon -- a pretty awesome feat. Why then were Sub-Saharan Africans so far behind on the learning curve when they could incorporate these ideas for irrigation?

Moreover, unlike historical traders like the Phoenicians, who developed script or made ships, and who came around 2000 years earlier than Ghana Empire, these same Sub-Saharan Africans couldnt create better paradigms for trade?


With this said, I also wondered when the Berbers (and any other converted Bedouins) who were indoctrinated to Islam by Muhammed around 500 C.E., left little to be discovered when they sacked these African empires, thus destroying any real history or providing any hints of solid ingenuity? Not to mention, who knows what occurred when slave trading was at its height. Oppressors often would extinguish identity (burn books, destroy architecture, etc.) in order demoralize the people, making them believe that they were less than human.

I also wondered of the 40M Africans who were taken into slavery, how many of them would have been the next Einstein? How often owing to these inhumain acts that natural selection couldn't take its course allowing intellectual pursuits to flourish?

Therefore, from a factual standpoint, yes I think that today's history isn't very informative; on the surface, the achievements are not pronounced, if at all. With this said, I would imagine that these empires were more than what historians -- the very same historians who subjugated these people -- would have us all to believe as to what Sub-Saharan Africans really accomplished. Remember history is always written by the victor. In this case, Sub-Saharan Africans have historically been pillaged leaving little in terms of objective truth.

6:05 PM  
Blogger pickletree100 said...

Tiny correction.
I was referring to the second arab invasion of Islam by the bedouins who also converted berbers around 1045 C.E. called Hilalian. These guys left a destructive path in the wake of their conquests in Africa. Empires were extinguished.

7:24 PM  
Blogger pickletree100 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Rusengo said...

Nsibidi,Sand-writing in angola, Makonde carvings, balafon,inanga,kenya writing systems on gourds,ekpe,nok culture,adam's calendar, the stone circles all over southern and eastern Africa, thimlich odinga,etc,...

4:57 AM  
Blogger Rusengo said...

The Great Zimbabwe,marakwet irrigation system,benin bronze, Nubia,Konso stone structures,timbuktu and its indigenous architecture all over West-Africa,etc,...Ishango bones, ancient harpoons with symbols, prehistoric symbols in South-Africa, Dufuna boat,...You are a joke!

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@george graham

And this, my friends, is what happens when you give an idiot a voice. This article being a whopping five-years-old's the only thing stopping me from refuting your demonstrably false statements, but I've got to say it's pretty ridiculous how you seem to have no qualms spreading such bullshit around like it's nothing. What you've managed to prove, however, is that America seriously needs to start teaching African history in their schools...lest we'll have more monsters like you running around, thinking they know everything about an entire continent of people despite ignoring its genuinely interesting and rich history of civilization and culture, and the decades upon centuries of turmoil and horror it went through and caused it to become the place it is now.

But I guess actually learning about what you don't understand is too hard, and chalking it all up to their skin color is miles easier...and the most ironic thing is that you're on the Internet, a place where you could learn everything about fucking anything. Granted, in the grand scheme of things what you think about these people doesn't matter, and the truth will always be out there regardless if you disregard it, but all it takes is a couple fucking Google or Wikipedia searches and you'll find out so much fucking more about Africa and its people...but no. Sticking to ignorance is easier, and as the saying goes...

Ignorance is bliss.

And so I leave you, George Graham...

I leave you to your stupidity and ignorance.

11:17 PM  
Blogger topayo said...

You are wrong, there was no written language, not even a sign of intelect. The negroid species has smaller brains it is not their fault..

10:46 PM  
Blogger Zu Byerly said...

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:59 PM  
Blogger marcus easton said...

I wonder what people in subsaharan Africa needed wheels for. We were forest race, you don't go through the jungle on wheels, it's like demandind wheels from eskimos.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Journeyman said...

The first statement about inventing the wheel may be true, and may be false. All that we can say at this time is that the evidence we have found of the earliest wheel is in Sumeria. Not that the Sumerians necessarily invented it either. But assuming that it is true, um, so what? There are many other groups that did not invent the wheel either. That does not make one group better than another.
The Second statement talks about writing systems without the outside world. Well, there obviously were indigenous writing systems. Nsibidi is estimated to have existed in present day Nigeria and Cameroun since 5000BC. Tifinagh or Mande which has existed from 3000BC to present orginates from Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. Vai which is as old as Mande is from Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and Ge'ez or Ethiopic is also indigenous. The author's comments berating Nsibidi are a ridiculous smokescreen. First he says it does not exist then when challanged by someone naming a written sub saharan language says that it is not good enough as if he has some basis or authority to judge its legitimacy. But for a second time, I digress. Even if there were no indigenous written subsaharan languages, that would not make them any less than anyone else. There are many groups, including ones in Europe, Asia and the Americas who never developed written symbols for words or sounds, it is not necessarily essential. Many great civilizations were without written languages in Africa, Japan, Korea, and again, the Americas.
Third, there is strong evidence that some forms of agriculture were going on in the Niger delta region 10,000 years ago. Though the evidence is not as easy to find as in other regions. Some of that regardless of what the author says in his following comments is because of a more challenging climate and less variety of domesticatible animals. However, farming in some form did exist before Europeans showed up. Even in the languages of isolated peoples in sub saharan Africa whose language does has not been influenced by outsiders, agricultural terms show up, showing a long existing knowledge of the subject.

Minimal Art? Seriously? The whole of subsahran Africa is covered with examples that show an obvious advanced knowledge of sculpture, pottery, and painting techniques. The statement is so ridiculous that I will say little else about it other than to suggest that he google the above terms along with sub saharan Africa and there he will find, (if knowledge is his true objective, which it may not be) a large quantity of information on the subject.

Music, which by the way is art was also developed in Africa indigenously. There are many examples of indigenous string and wind instruments that have existed before Europeans showed up.
1. Mangbetu or African Harp
2. Malian Kora harp-lute
3. Akonting-Senegal
4. Mbira-Thumb piano-Kenya, Tanzania
5. Balophone-Xylophone
6. Muscial Bow
7. Lute,
8. Lyre
9. Harp
10. Zither

Math, yes, there was math in subsaharan africa, Bones thousands of years old, used to play math games on have been found in subsaharan africa. Which show that they had mastered counting, a 10 based number system and prime numbers. Similar evidence has been found in caves in sub saharan Africa as well. So there goes your assertion about that. Again, look it up, the information is there. Math is so intuitive to the homo sapien mind that it is stupid to believe that one group would be devoid of it.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Journeyman said...

Science and technology also obviously existed in Subsaharan Africa. Africa has had metallurgy for thousands of years, which obviously, means that they had a knowledge of chemistry, Large kingdoms in West Africa which were isolated from Europe had ships, which some say arrived in the Americas before the Europeans got there. There were cities and kingdoms before the Europeans started to arrive in Africa that had large buildings and other structures built entirely by blacks. Which means that they had an indigenous knowledge of contruction and engineering. Subsaharan Africans have had natural, herbal remedies for thousands of years, which shows a knowledge of biology and medicine.But again, even a lack of those things indigenously, (which was not the case with sub saharan Africans) does not necessarily make one group more valuable than another.

If you were to show that subsaharan Africans were somehow not able to understand math, or science, or art, music etc because they were somehow less capable than some other group, then you of course would need to provide evidence of that. Which, would be surprising because there are many black Africans who have excelled and currently excell in all of the things you mentioned. But to say that they did not have these things indigenously is simply wrong, and if they did not invent one of the aforementioned things, that does nothing to prove your suggestion that black Africans are somehow lacking as compared to other groups. There are many groups that did not invent one thing or another and many valid reasons why. So please save your pitiful, attempt to mask your dim-witted racist agenda with pseudo-science, especially when all evidence suggests you don't have a leg to stand on.

11:01 PM  
Blogger ufotripper said...

There is no shame in simply admitting that Africa was less developed than Europe. Many great cultures we're not. For example, Japan was still using medieval technology when the west made contact with superior ships and weaponry. Even the Asians couldn't match the Western technologies.

Although Asian music and literature are rich in their own right, the art and literature of the west is difficult to match in its wealth. One can find concerts of Mozart and plays of Shakespeare performed in Asia. Students study classical European music,. And no one is forcing them to. Most music today moved forward with the profileration of European musical instruments. Soul,jazz, and blues did not come from Africa, bit from Africans in America, who had access to European instruments such as clarinets and pianos and cielos, etc.

Africans have contributed much after being brought into Western culture - music, dance, humor, etc. They should not be ashamed that sub-saharan Africa, due to its geography, did not allow civilization and technology to bloom.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey poor guy you clearly must be black ( sarcasim) Haiti after gaining their independence experienced what north Korea is now experiencing silly rabbit.

4:38 AM  
Blogger malenursenyc said...

Silly rabbit. Africa has contributed to the wealth of Europe and America without it Europe would fall into poverty. Probably why they killed Gadaffi cause he wanted to unite Africa which would make it a financial power.

Was there no science and medicine in Africa? Was there no political systems? Was there no agriculture? For a white person I would think you would be smarter. Just because something is not used by the European culture does not mean it didn't exist or is not useful. Question for you when the wheel was invented and writing did all Europeans have it? No of course not you dumbass from trading with each other the ideas spread.

4:54 AM  
Blogger malenursenyc said...

But there were civilizations , SMH

5:01 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hanson said...

Wheels set the stage for technological development (gears are basically wheels; in a forest you could use a pulley to hoist things up into a tree house).

An interesting argument would be how far it is possible to progress without the wheel. I don't think it's much further than the loin cloth and spear thing.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hanson said...

Africa's geography is rich in resources, and as the birthplace of hominids, there's always been some trade route or another in and out of Africa; yet, despite the advancement of their neighbors, they lacked the cognitive ability to understand, mimic, and improve upon technologies that were literally a stone's throw away for thousands of years.

Other animals have witnessed human technology too, and they can't imitate it either.

12:52 AM  
Blogger malenursenyc said...

Every single thing you mentioned has a black element in it. Did you know the Greeks are more related to Ethiopians then Mediterranean s. Arabs and blacks have been intertwined for countless years they invaded Europe and blacks were apart of the history of Europe. Just like great Zimbabwe which y'all tried to claim , you are jealous of us.

5:53 PM  
Blogger malenursenyc said...

Don't forget fractals in their design

5:58 PM  

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