The gun and its development

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

I recently mentioned that the old books in Google’s digital library really drive home how the past is a foreign country. Take this intro, from William Wellington Greener’s  The gun and its development:

Weapons which would kill at a distance were possessed by man in the prehistoric age; but what those arms were the archaeologist and ethnologist must decide. For the purpose of this treatise it is of small moment whether primitive man was better armed than the modern Ainu or the African pigmy. It is probable that the races of men coeval with the mastodon and the cave-bear were better armed than is generally supposed; the much-despised Australian aborigine, notwithstanding his lack of intelligence, is the inventor of two weapons — the boomerang and the throwing-stick for hurling spears — which races much higher in the scale of humanity could not improve upon.

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