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Richard C. Ropp
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403
Phone: 1-800-839-8640
First Edition published by AuthorHouse
Printed in the United States of America
Bloomington, Indiana
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
© 2008 Richard Ropp. All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4389-3861-5 (sc)
Edition © Richard C Ropp
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Foreward by Michael Aia
Over a period of several days I enjoyed reading the 2nd Edition of “Peregrinations ...
“which title gives the reader fair warning that he is about to traverse a wide variety of
topics that are based on a lifetime of thought, learning and experience”.! The stories
about “family life on the farm” I found particularly interesting, as I now live in what
was for centuries an active farm community that over a! brief period of time lost a
closely-knit way of life! and morality that once characterized much of America and
perhaps the rest of the world.
Some of the text is a diary of personal experiences and family genealogy, which I wish
I too could leave behind as a legacy to my family. Curiously, in the Epilogue (on page
100)! there is! a brief mention of his marriage in 1952 to Francesca Margarita
Casillas but no further detail on the person who became the most important person
in his life. Perhaps she has written her own autobiography (which I would enjoy
reading) and so no further mention would be needed in this text.
The tabulated and graphical summaries of several important scientific topics are both
interesting and! useful to a broad audience. His discussions of the history of Man
and our current understanding of human behavior, biology, the nature of matter and
energy,! the earth, and the universe are educational! and lead directly to some issues
of current study and the speculations made. Other included topics relate to technical
areas where he has accumulated a detailed knowledge of highly specialized fields of
technical and commercial importance some of which are now more of historical than
current interest, as is the path of most endeavors with the passage of time, whereas
most people wish to deal only with the present.
In summary, the book appears to meet the intent to document much of his life’s ex-
perience and work. Most of us never get around to doing that very well..!!
In the first edition, I began this soliloquy to document some of the past lore of the
farming communities in the United States during the 1880’s to the 1940’s. These
were tales of a vanished society that were still vivid in my father’s memory (who had
lived through them). They reverberated with me because I “heard them from the
horse’s mouth”. In this revision, I first examine the origin of Homo Sapiens with re-
gard to archeological, paleontological, linguistic and societal sources of information
that have been discovered to this date. Perhaps the most revealing source of infor-
mation concerning the past history of mankind has been the complete sequencing of
the human genome, announced in 2002. Since then, the Neanderthal genome has
been completely sequenced from a preserved finger bone and shown to be similar to
Mankind in many aspects but different in many others. One important conclusion
has been that many Europeans carry a significant portion of Neanderthal genome se-
quences (not genes) which means that interbreeding must have occurred in the past.
A number of past and present animals, birds and insects have also been sequenced
and identified. Plants of all kinds have also been sequenced, some for monetary gain.
The history of Mankind is then followed by a listing of a few of the many significant
inventions that have occurred both in the physical and biological sciences. A history
of the Ropp family during the 1880’s to the 1940’s follows, combined with a descrip-
tion of farmland life in the U.S. in the 1870s through the 1940’s.
I had written some personal but unpublished opinions concerning the current socie-
tal inequities and discriminations that have been ongoing in the U.S. for many years.
These are included again. Finally, I address what is known to date concerning the
Universe. Perhaps the most momentous discovery has been the nature of the HIGGS
boson (I originally thought it was a quark). It turns out that this is not a particle like
the proton, neutron, electron or photon (which have spins) but is a field or force car-
rier (since the HIGGS as a particle, would have no spin and would not exist long in a
Universe full of spin particles. There are some that say that the Higgs field is a parti-
cle with waves but zero spin. I do not know which is the correct way to depict it. All of
the other quarks have 1/2 spin. The following diagram presents what is known con-
cerning Quarks (which comprise all matter in the Universe), Leptons (which includes
electrons and positrons and the Higgs field boson (which causes Quarks to exhibit
Finally, I address the nature of the Universe and what discoveries will be requisite if
Man is to be able to explore the Universe at all. These are in the form of a fanciful
set-of-time discoveries with a short dialogue concerning their effect upon the human
society at that time.
The Human Condition
My original publications concerned my research when I was employed at Sylvania
Electric Products at Towanda, Pa. and later at Westinghouse in Bloomfield, NJ. I then
began a period of consulting years and became interested in how the human condi-
tion began. It is clear that Man (Homo Sapiens) is only about 200,000 years old on an
Earth that is 4.54 x 10
years old. That is, the Earth is 22,700 times older than Man.
I had read many accounts of how Man evolved and wrote this segment to detail and
summarize the past history of Man and what is currently known concerning how the
human genus actually developed from prior species of hominids.
"Life" on the planet Earth, as we know it today, developed over billions of years. This
process started with self-propagating one-cell organisms, some of which evolved into
multi-celled plants and some into multi-celled animals. At the present time, the ani-
mal called "Man" has taken over (or "usurped"- depending upon your point of view)
most of the livable land areas and has changed them to make them "more livable".
That is, man’s functioning to procreate his species has altered the land. This has in-
cluded such activities as tilling the soil and the domestication of animals for the pro-
duction of food. In earlier generations, removal and seeding of various species of
plants occupied a great deal of his effort. Man also dug in the earth to obtain metal
ores, "precious stones" and raw materials for chemicals, including minerals and
crude oil. Even today Man's major efforts continue to be those that have significant
impact upon the topography of the Earth and its other denizens. It is an incontro-
vertible fact that Man has become dominant "upon the face of the Earth" and is in
control of the majority of the other animal species, as well as contributing to the de-
mise of many. (However, man has not been able to control the insect population, but
merely keeps it in check). Nevertheless, natural selection, or evolution, was the cause
of the disappearance of many of the so-called "prehistoric" creatures long before the
advent of the human race. What this means is that living conditions changed (some-
times precipitously and drastically) and those species not able to change or adapt
disappeared in favor of those who could do so. To see how this came about is one of
the objectives of this narrative. We will explore how Man became dominant and the
reasons why he (she) has been successful in contrast to other animal species.
Obviously, we are primarily interested in our own genre, Homo Sapiens. However,
knowledge of other animals sometimes has great influence upon information affecting
our own vitality and well-being as well. To see how these achievements have tran-
spired, we must first outline how mankind came into being so as to be able to detail
his anthropological makeup.
How Man Began
I have heard the expression "The story of Man has many beginnings but no endings".
What that means to me is that Man is still evolving and has not yet reached an end-
point of evolution.
The following discussion concerns the state of the scientific discipline known as Pale-
ontology which remains in a stage of flux as research continues. Many of these active
scientists continue to explore how Man as an animal arose or who his exact antece-
dents were. Some paleontologists still believe that Man was the product of many mil-
lions of years of evolution, or emerged due to climatic change that forced certain
hominids to change their lifestyle in order to survive. However, it is clear that Man
arose in Africa due to mutational causes in which a new type of animal emerged with
increased cranial capacity and added intelligence. Furthermore, it is patent that Man
as an animal is the product of both evolution and that of mutation. What this means
is that mankind arose from hominid ancestors, but that the earliest Homo Sapiens,
i.e.- Homo Antecessor, finally gave rise to Homo Sapiens, i.e.- modern Man, through
a series of mutations that ended as a Being with increased awareness, curiosity and
brain capacity.
This is evident from both paleontological and genetic sources. Additionally, the study
of languages, i.e.- Linguistics, has come to the same conclusion, namely that man-
kind originated in Africa and had one original language before the massive migrations
occurred which spread mankind over the face of the Earth. Whether such migrations
were caused by climatic change or "wanderlust" (or a combination of both) will re-
main shrouded in time. Nevertheless, these wanderings by families or tribes of indi-
viduals has been well documented and shown to have occurred from Africa into the
Middle East, i.e.- the Mesopotamian valley complex (now Iran but originally Persia)
where many individuals remained. From there, the wandering split into two
branches. One went north into Europe to populate all of the lands as far as what is
now called Germany, England, Norway and then east to the steppes of Russia while
the other went South along the perimeter of the Arabian peninsula into what is now
New Guinea and then India.
From there, another split occurred wherein the Pacific lands like Australia and iso-
lated islands like Fuji were populated while the other branched into Indonesia and
then into China. From there, the wanderings went north and crossed over into what
is now Canada into the United States and then into South America. All of these wan-
derings occurred as the peoples followed game trails. At all of these destinations,
some of the families or tribes remained while others continued their wanderlust.
How Homo Sapiens Developed
The planet Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. That this statement is true has been
documented from many sources, including that of the study of fossils and extinct life.
The first life on Earth came about from induced chemical combinations between
amino acids or sugars that then formed proteins or cellulose. These at some point
coalesced into primitive cells that were organisms capable of reproducing themselves.
All life is composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen that resulted from carbon di-
oxide, oxygen and nitrogen being dissolved in water from the atmosphere. The early
formation of amino acids is believed to be due to dissolution of these gases into the
aqueous oceans which reacted to form amino acids and then to further condense into
ordered proteins. This mechanism has been confirmed by laboratory experiments in
which the meteorological conditions were duplicated so as to substantiate such for-
mation. Over a period of time, this condition resulted in the evolution of simple one-
celled organisms such as algae or bacteria, the former being composed of cellulose
while the latter is composed of proteins. The driving force was, of course, reproduc-
tion of the species. It is not generally recognized, but the earlist and most populous
entities on Earth are those of bacteria which infest the sea and all of its denizens and
bacteria which infest the land and all of its denizens.
Whether cellulose preceded proteins, or vice versa, is still a matter of conjecture.
However, it is probable that plants preceded animals since the former utilize carbon
dioxide and transpire oxygen while the opposite is true for the latter. The fact that
was a major constituent in the early atmosphere of the Earth while O
was minor lends considerable weight to this belief. Some twenty amino acids are in-
volved as building blocks in a typical animal cell. The original type of cell is believed
to have been prokaryotic in nature, that is- it lacked a nucleus. Evolution into eu-
karyotic cells having a double-layered nucleus followed soon after. A major difference
between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells is that the nucleus of the latter contains
DNA that is bound to proteins and is organized into chromosomes and genes. The
development of eukaryotic cells paved the way for evolution into multi-celled organ-
isms. The following sequence is believed to have arisen:
1) Algae,
2) Fungi
3) Bacteria
4) Protozoa
All of these are single cell organisms. The first two are classified, as "plants" while the
last two are "animals". From here, life branched out into the Plant and Animal king-
doms, which consist of multi-cellular organisms capable of reproduction. The major
difference between plant and animal cells is that the former is based upon cellulose
(which is a series of condensed sugars) while the latter is based upon proteins (which
are condensed amino acids). Plant cells have a rigid cellulose wall while animal cells
have a semi-pliant lipid (fat) wall.
Man as a Multi-Celled Animal
Once the eukaryotic cell had matured, evolution of plants and animals then pro-
ceeded to the point wherein each individual possessed organized groups of cells that
performed specific functions vital to the survival of the organism. That is, each sys-
tem (or organ as it is usually called) has a specific function within the entity. This is
illustrated in the following table:
Table 1
Functions of Organ Systems within a Multicellular Being
System Function
Internal transport of nutrients and vital gases
Provides a means of gas exchange between the blood
and the environment
Functions in procuring and processing nutrients
Covers and protects internal Organs
Supports organs and provides for shape of body and
Functions in movement and locomotion - also aids in
Control system essential in coordinating and inte-
grating activities of other organs and with the external
Serves as an additional coordinator of body functions
Functions in reproduction of the individual for con-
tinuation of the species
As can be seen, each cell is a part of one of the organs that perform a specific func-
tion vital to the longevity of the individual. Yet each cell has the same set of chromo-
somes and genes even though its function differs from its counterpart in another or-
gan. This table illustrates the complexity of the many individual species and how
complicated the combination of the original one-celled organism into multi-celled en-
tities has become. Note that Man has some 46 chromosomes with the attendant
genes prevalent in each and every cell of his body along with some 23,000 genes.
When each cell further divides, these chromosomes are preserved in each of the
daughter cells. The cells thus maintain the evolutionary functions and heritage of the
individual, even though not all of the available genes are active in each cell. As a
matter of fact, each cell performs according to its designed organ function as a spe-
cialized system within the total individual. What this means is that each cell has its
own duties within the organ to perform the organ objectives, even though each cell
retains all of the chromosomal and genetic functions.
It should be clear, then, that each cell has all of the chromosomal functions but does
not utilize all of them (only those pertinent to the organ-function).
Let us now investigate how Man came into being and his relationship to other spe-
cies. In this way, we can relate Man to other species and contrast their relationship
to that of mankind.
How Homo Sapiens Came into Being
According to Paleontological sources, Man is said to have originated through a
series of hominid ancestors whose development spanned a time period of at least 4
million years. The original hominids were unprepossessing mammals who were
probably tree-dwellers. It is likely that natural selection and climatic change in par-
ticular caused a transition of some of these hominids from jungle tree-dwellers to a
woodland-type or plains-like subsistence. A major difference, of course, was the
change from running on all fours to that of bipedal locomotion, as documented by
Mary Leakey in 1978. She observed footprints of hominid beings (Homo Australo-
pithecus) that were preserved for 3.6 million years in fossilized volcanic ash. When
the bipedal transformation actually occurred is not known. However, it was crucial
and necessary for survival on the grasslands when hominids were forced from tree-
dwelling. Note also that since only two of the four limbs were used for running from
predators, the other two could then be used simultaneously for defense.
At some point in time, a branching of primates into simians and hominids (man like
creatures) likely occurred. This is illustrated in the following diagram:
In this diagram, those hominids that existed at the same time as Homo Sapiens
are shown in a "dotted" box. Note that Homo erectus existed over a very long period
of time while other contemporary hominids did not survive.
The earliest hominid remains have been dated at about 4.2 million years and have
been named "Ardipithyecus Ramidus". These pre-humans lived in a tropical rain for-
est and likely lived in trees like our present-day monkeys.
During the next million years, Ardipithyecus Ramidus evolved into a pre-human who
walked on two legs and probably used tools. This hominid has been called "Australo-
pithecus Afarensis" (also called "Lucy"). However, something drastic happened to the
tree of human evolution about 3.0 million years ago. The first of a dramatic climate
shift from tropical rain forest to long severe cool and dry seasons occurred in Africa,
the homeland of man-kind. The gathering of this evidence, obtained by Peter de
Menocal of Columbia University, involved analyzing ocean sediment cores drilled off
the coast of Africa. The sediments revealed that, over some 8 million years, three dry
periods occurred at:
3.05-2.65 million years ago
1.85- 1.60 million years ago
1.35-1.00 million years ago.
Each dry period alternated with a longer wet period and the evolutionary tree shook.
During the long dry period around 2.8 million years ago, the cold dry periods result-
ing in killing of the rain forests, while grasslands took over.
It was at this time that Australopithecus Afarensis evolved into two branches, "Par-
anthropus" (also known as "Australopithicus Africanus") which begat the primates,
i.e.- modern-day monkeys and chimpanzees) and "Homo" (which was the branch from
which Mankind evolved). We will not examine the first branch in any detail except to
say that a number of primate ancestors appeared and disappeared before the modern
type of primate materialized. The above diagram represents the latest thoughts on
human ancestry.
Nonetheless, as research in Paleontology progresses, these relationships may change.
Homo ancestors of the past have included:
Homo rudolfensis: 2.5- 1.9 million years BC
Homo ergaster: 1.9 - 1.6 million years BC
Homo antecessor: 1.0 - 0.8 million years BC
The exact lineage is still not certain and there may be a human antecedent between
Homo sapiens and Homo antecessor as well. It was Homo Erectus who evolved into a
more manlike creature over a period of several million years, resulting in a group of
hominids that we have come to call Neanderthals. Some of these hominid antece-
dents were originally thought to be related to Mankind. Indeed, it was recently an-
nounced that a possible Neanderthal ancestor dating back more than 600,000 years
has been discovered, fossilized in a cave in southeastern Italy. Contemporary work
has also shown that mankind, i.e.-
Homo Sapiens, probably originated in Eastern Africa about 160,000 - 240,000 years
ago. Recently, Neanderthal genomic DNA has been analyzed and reported. The fol-
lowing diagram, is taken from their publication
Note that the genomic data shows that a split occurred about 706,000 years ago into
two separate species who apparently existed together until a rift occurred. Then, at
about 370,000 years ago, each family or tribe went their separate ways. Finally, the
first anatomically known human species appeared (which coincides with the known
genetic, paleontological and liguistic sources concerning Homo Sapiens).
"Sequencing and Analysis of Neanderthal Genomic DNA" by James P. Noonan et al (10 others),
SCIENCE 314 p113 (2006)
It is obvious that the major attribute that separates Homo Sapiens from other
animals is that of intelligence. Therefore, it seems likely that the appearance of man-
kind was due to a massive mutation of genes that produced offspring with substan-
tially improved intelligence and curiosity. The scientific evidence given to date indi-
cates that Homo Sapiens can be traced back to a single female. It is clear that the
above listed study by Dr. Noonan agrees with the earlier work in 1987 by Dr. Allen
Wilson's group who reported an estimate of age of different human lineages based on
measures of present-day diversity in the set of genes passed from mother to child.
The genetic evidence supports the current view that Homo Sapiens emerged only in
Africa and probably replaced more "archaic" species within 100,000 years of concep-
tion, with no intermixing of species. The focus of Wilson's work was on DNA from
mitochondria. Each cell comprising the human body contains this DNA with about
33,000 genes superimposed thereupon. Each gene is a messenger-template which
controls a specific enzyme or protein synthesis within that cell. Mitochondria are
small sub-units which transport energy within the cell. Mitochondria DNA differs
from cell-DNA in that it is circular, and is inherited only from the mother. Hence, it
provides a pedigree. Thus, each individual is connected by an unbroken chain of
mothers back into the past.
Three concepts, discovered in the late 1950's, helped lead Dr. Wilson to his conclu-
sions. One was the discovery of so called "neutral mutations", which are inactive
changes in the DNA-structure of an individual. Neutral mutations have no effect
upon the performance of the individual, but are visible to molecular biologists. A sec-
ond major finding was that neutral mutations accumulate at much the same rate in
all organisms, whether they are plants, bacteria or animals. Thus, there is a sort of
timepiece ticking away in the genomes (collection of genes). This provides a way to
put a time scale on evolution. The third basis for his work was that the maternal
lineages will necessarily trace back to one, and only one, mother in a remote genera-
tion. This last concept is the one that is basic to population genetics.
Life is a statistical process. At any time, a mother will have one or more daughters,
and some sons. From a standpoint of mitochondrial transmission, the lineage has
died with the sons. At the same time that extinction is going on as a natural process
(with the birth of sons), proliferation is also occurring (by the birth of daughters),
with surviving lineages often increasing greatly. Combining these concepts leads to
the genealogical tree. Among the descendents of any given mother, mutations will
arise independently, so that the twigs will not be identical to one another. These
differences are evident to the molecular biologist so that the branching diagram can
be traced. It leads back to one mother. The picture that has emerged is of a tree with
several branches connecting to the common mother. These branches were caused by
evolution and adaptation to the immediate environment. By analyzing neutral genetic
mutations, it has been possible to quantify the amount of evolution that has oc-
curred, using places like New Guinea where the time scale of populations resulting
from very late colonization events is well known. The point is, that it was hard to get
to New Guinea, and once there, it was hard to get back. Native Australians and
American Indians are other examples. From the agreement between such calibration
points, Dr. Wilson arrived at the 200,000 year estimate. Actually, the range is
180,000 to 200,000 years.
A debate occupied several years concerning whether Homo Sapiens materialized di-
rectly from Neanderthals or from a descendant of Homo Erectus. However, this dis-
pute has been solved in that DNA from a Neanderthal has been analyzed and shown
to differ somewhat from Homo Sapiens. It may be this factor, coupled with the much
larger factor of brainpower that caused the demise of the Neanderthals because they
could not compete. One immediate ancestor of mankind is Cro-Magnon man, who is
possibly one step in the evolution of modern man, i.e.- Homo Sapiens to Homo
Sapiens Sapiens. Paleontologists are still divided in their opinions concerning who
came first and who is the actual ancestor of Homo Sapiens.
However, both genetic evidence of the human family tree and study of languages have
come to the same conclusion, namely that mankind originated in Africa and that
massive migrations occurred throughout the history of man. The earliest genetic tree
implies movement of Homo Sapiens from East Africa into the Middle East (100,000
years ago), into the Far East, including Australia, about 60,000 years ago, and into
Northern Europe and crossing into North America about 35,000 years ago. Details of
the actual routes are speculative.
Studies of peoples and classification of languages have reached the same conclusion,
namely that early Homo Sapiens most likely evolved from a single source and that
language differentiated from a single linguistic source. Prior to that time, language
and communication among hominids was extremely limited, if it existed at all.
The fact that all Homo Sapiens individuals are mammalian mutants and suffer
from a potentially fatal liver-enzyme disease may come as a shock to most people.
This genetic disease is of universal occurrence in the human population. The disease
is scurvy and the curative substance is ascorbic acid, or Vitamin-C. Man is one of the
few mammals not biochemically equipped to make their own ascorbic acid directly in
their livers. In most animals, after liver synthesis, ascorbic acid is poured directly
into the bloodstream in large daily amounts. For example, goats synthesize about
13.3 grams (about 26 tablets of 500 milligram each) of Vitamin-C per day; dogs and
cats = 2.8 grams daily (6 tablets), but man synthesizes 0.0 grams daily. This abnor-
mality is due entirely to the genetic code inherited by each person.
How old is the genetic code? Genes are specific sequences of bases attached to the
sugar-backbone to form the DNA molecule having the double helix or spiral staircase
structure. Organization of these constitutes the overall chromosomal structure. By
identifying the sequences of bases, one can relate the sequences of many organisms
to one another. As a result, there are three major classifications (Kingdoms) of living
a) Plants (which include all types of categories which utilize sunlight and
carbon dioxide gas to synthesize sugars and cellulose)
b )Animals (which include mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and insects)
c) Bacteria and related one-celled organisms.
Each classification has many subspecies comprising that kingdom. In particular,
there are about 1000 base-sequences known today, involving all three kingdoms.
There are at least two ways of ordering this wealth of sequence data. First, one may
focus on one species and produce an alignment of its DNA-transfer sequence func-
tions. Fifteen such specie families have been thus identified, with each family con-
sisting of 15-30 individuals. Secondly, one may identify a specific sequence and fol-
low it through the various species. This has been done for 24 family-species in all
three kingdoms. Kinship relations are revealed by alignment of sequences. The re-
sults show that individual and master sequences of DNA-transfer functions reflect
kinship relations consistent with generally accepted evolutionary patterns of the ap-
pearance of life on earth.
What this means is that the first life to appear consisted of one-celled creatures
which evolved into the complex kingdoms of life known today. All three kingdoms
have certain sequences exactly the same. Thus, the three main kingdoms appear to
be "equally old". The early nodes of kingdom separation can be dated to be about 2.5
± 0.5 billion years old, and the genetic code cannot therefore be older than 3.8 ±0.6
billion years. Because the earth is about 4.2 billion years of age, "life", as we know it,
did evolve on the earth, and was not of extraterrestrial origin.
At this point, it might be well to point out that mammals would not have evolved and
become dominant except for the caprice of one large meteor hitting the earth about
65 million years ago. According to some experts, it struck the earth in the Yucatan
peninsula and resulted in the almost complete demise of the reptilian, i.e.- dinosaur,
population that was sovereign at that time. It is believed that dinosaurs had rudi-
mentary lung capacity since they evolved in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Once the
meteor stuck, huge clouds of dust obscured the sun and resulted in loss of oxygen in
the atmosphere. This has been made apparent by analysis of both rocks and air en-
trapped within amber, i.e.- studies of air entrapped in amber beads have revealed
that air in the Pleistocene era contained about 35% oxygen (It now is about 21%).
Had the dinosaurs survived, with all of their capacity for carnivorous rapacity, large
mammals, including cats and primates, would never have prospered and evolved in
the manner that they have.
Mammals, including Homo Erectus, could only have survived by remaining in se-
cluded parts of the world where the dinosaurs could not have penetrated (if there
were any such places!). These reptilian megafauna would have eaten both simians
and hominids as well as any pastoralist fauna that they could catch. However, these
raptors did not survive in the aftermath of the explosion (which created dense clouds
of dust) because of their lack of adaptability to the deficiency of sunlight, heat, and
especially to the lowered atmospheric oxygen.
Nonetheless, this does not explain the genesis of Homo Sapiens. It has been generally
agreed that the chain of succession includes:
Early man ape (Australopithecus afarensis: the first hominid)- age = 3-4 million
Java ape-man (Homo Rudolfensis)- age = 2-2.5 million years
Homo Ergaster- age = 1.5-1.9 million years
Homo Antecessor - age = 800.000 - 1 million years and finally,0
Homo Sapiens - age = 160,000-200,000 years.
If this is true, then we are no more than 8000 generations of age (using 25 years as
one generation). I, myself, will see at least five generations. So, you can see how new
Man is to the Earth.
Undoubtedly, the remnants of an Ice Age had a marked effect upon the dates and
paths of human migration. During an Ice Age, migration was restricted because of its
effects upon the Earth's climate and the necessity for providing some kind of covering
from the cold if Man was to exist and prosper. Over the past 900,000 years, four gla-
cial periods have occurred. The following Table, shows the periods of the Ice Ages
comprising the Pleistocene Epoch. Four Ice Ages are shown along with the interim
years and how long they lasted.
Recent Glacial Ages in Years
Began (Years Ago) Lasted Climate
1st Ice Age 600,000 64,000 Cold
1st Interim 536,000 60,000 Warm
2nd Ice Age 476,000 156,000 Cold
2nd Interim 320,000 90,000 Warm
3rd Ice Age 230,000 55,000 Cold
3rd Interim 175,000 60,000 Warm
4th Ice Age 115,000 75,000 Cold
4th Interim 40,000 ----- Warm
It is likely that Neanderthals also migrated into Europe and Eastern Asia during the
Third Interglacial Period (about 175,000 years ago). By the time the Fourth Glacial
Period arrived, Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens families were scattered over Africa,
Europe and most of Asia. Homo erectus and Homo Heidelbergensis had disappeared
or were disappearing. Nevertheless, there appears to be a changeover about 40,000
years ago from dominance by Neanderthals (particularly in Europe where the records
are the most clear) to Homo Sapiens. This date coincides with the onset of the 4
terim Period. It seems likely that Homo Sapiens also migrated into Europe, and else-
where, while the Neanderthals were declining and died out. It should be clear, then,
that Man (which includes all of the so-called "Races") evolved from a single source
and that there is no such thing as a "Race" but only evolutionary mammals possess-
ing singular attributes molded by their ancestral environment.
Thus, the terms:
"Negroid, i.e.-black",
"Anglo-Saxon, i.e.-white",
"Oriental, i.e.- "yellow"
are figments of the imagination since only one "race" exists, i.e.- the human race.
Man's Early History
Homo ergaster, a human ancestor who lived during the time span of about 1.5 mil-
lion years ago (see above), was undoubtedly a "plains-dweller. Tool artifacts attribut-
able to Homo-ergaster have been dated in Russia as having an age of more than
500,000 years. Although these tools were crude, they resemble those already found
in Africa and dated to be 1.2 million years old by the Leakey’s. What this means is
that Homo erectus may have migrated from East Africa to the Asian continent over
500,000 years ago. The only other known site for Homo erectus was Peking, China
and the so-called "Peking Man". But its date was closer to 300,000 years ago. Indeed,
a possible ancestor has been found in southeastern Italy at Altamura. If this is true,
then the Altamura discovery links Homo erectus with Neanderthals, a time period
that has been especially "murky" since the fossil record for Homo erectus is
1,000,000+ years while that for Neanderthals is about 370,000- 200,000 years ago.
Neanderthals made tools and weapons of flint (Old Stone Age) for hunting and do-
mestic use. They knew the use of fire and had many of the attributes that we con-
sider, nowadays, to be essential to civilization. Neanderthals had family groups and
buried their dead. They occupied caves as the weather became colder. The matter of
their speech is one of conjecture. This may have been one of the major barriers to
communication between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal families and groups. Thus,
the direct ancestor of mankind appears to be Homo antecessor at this point in time.
It has been said that early hominids first communicated by "grunts" and "ges-
tures". Whether this is true or not we have no way of knowing. However, it is manifest
that Man, in the beginning, probably did express himself in this manner since we
know that newborn babies express themselves similarly. As Homo Sapiens evolved,
separate groups of families and descendants coalesced together into Tribes and then
into settlements. During this time, Man had evolved into a hunter but was learning to
become a farmer and herdsman. This meant that Man was evolving into social groups
where verbal communication was essential. Each family and tribe developed its own
means of communication both within itself and with strangers. Thus, language was
As Man learned to communicate, he undoubtedly used gestures to emphasize his
ideas. Indeed, "sign-language" was still used on the American prairies between rival
Indian tribes as a means of communication as late as the 1800's. As the complexity
of social groups increased, each group developed its own language and mores (This
accounts for the more than 6000 separate languages that we know of today, of which
90% have become obsolete).
The use of drums came into vogue. Undoubtedly, communication with drumbeats is
still practiced in some remote parts of the world. Man also learned to use fire both as
a means of communication and more importantly as a means of keeping warm and
for self-defense.
Man's First Use of Science and Technology
The major difference between Man and other species of animals has been the devel-
opment of science and technology. Foremost in the history of Man and his survival
has been the development of weapons and shelters. Originally, Man made use of
natural sanctuaries such as caves. The development of tools such as fire-hardened
spears and throwing stones was foremost in Man's triumph over his environment and
was essential to his long-term survival. Probably the first real advance of Man over
the prevailing predatory animal life was his development of the use of fire. This had
the effect of warding off attacks by predators and other competitors who might oth-
erwise have rapidly extinguished all mankind.
In the beginning, cave-fires were undoubtedly started from firebrands or torches car-
ried from natural fires found in the environment. Later, Man learned how to start
fires by either rubbing or twirling a hard piece of wood against a softer one, or by
striking two chips of rock together. The latter may have come about as Man learned
how to flake stone such as flint to form arrowheads. At any rate, striking stones have
been dated from before 10,000 B.C. and the flintlock was used until about 1800 A.D.
to ignite gunpowder to discharge firearms. Even today, the use of torches prevails for
outdoor activities. Originally, man lived in caves and other natural structures. Later,
rude dwellings were built from branches tied together and perhaps covered with mud.
Or, they might be formed from animal-skins tied together over a framework of
branches. The only inside light was from the hole at the top of the structure which
allowed smoke from a fire to dissipate. More sophisticated structures began to appear
near to the end of the New Stone Age, about 8000 years ago, particularly in the re-
gion now called Mesopotamia in the Middle East. At first, houses were constructed
with windows as openings to provide light and air in the dwelling. Only crude shut-
ters and lattices covered the first windows. Later, linen, oiled paper, and sometimes
mica or gypsum was used for windowpanes, in addition to wooden shutters.
Perhaps the greatest advancement that Man has made was the transition from
Hunter- Wanderer to that of Farmer Home-Dweller. The rise of agriculture following
the last Ice Age triggered a long train of cultural events involving economic, political
and technological innovations. The origin and invention of agriculture began in
Mesopotamia, just south of Turkey, in the so called "Fertile Crescent".
Why did Agriculture arise in the Mesopotamian valley? According to some reports, a
wild type of grain grew in the narrow swathe of hills from southeast Turkey to Iran,
i.e.- the "Fertile Crescent". The site of domestication of "eikhorn" wheat began there,
probably because it had been gathered on an annual basis for many years and some-
one tried planting some of the kernels in a tended plot or field. According to this re-
port, the domestication of this early type of grain occurred about 8000 b.c. and by
6000 b.c. had spread to the Mediterranean countries of Greece, Turkey and to Italy,
as well as Egypt and the Middle Eastern countries (from Pakistan to the Balkans and
India). By 3800 b.c., Agriculture had become the dominant way of life and had sup-
planted Hunting as the preferred method of family food gathering in much of the
European continent, as well as much of the "civilized" world
See J. Diamond, "Location, Location, Location: The First Farmers", Science 278 1243 (1997)
Hein et al
tested the DNA of several varieties of wild cereal grains that still grow in
the Fertile Crescent to show that the domesticated eikhorn variety was definitely re-
lated to at least one or more of the wild varieties still found there. Thus, genetically
speaking, cultivated eikhorn wheat is quite similar to wild eikhorn in general, and we
can now appreciate why eikhorn's domestication was so quick and easy. The Cres-
cent's archaeological records also show that only a few centuries, at most, were re-
quired for the transition from Hunter- Gatherer villages harvesting wild plants to
Farming villages planting fully domesticated crops. However, the transition brought
other rewards as well, including heavier seeds, firmer stalks and denser crop-masses
(which resulted in larger crop-harvests). Repeated cycles of sowing, growing and har-
vesting would have accounted for these mutations since the harvesters would have
chosen choice seeds for replanting. It is clear that at least three crops, chickpeas,
bitter-vetch and eikhorn-wheat were domesticated in the Crescent Valley.
Additionally, it is likely that domestication of animals such as pigs, sheep, goats and
cattle occurred shortly after the transition made by human tribes from Hunter- Gath-
erer to Agriculture and Farming. Other crops then became part of the agricultural
diet, including olives, grapes, peas, lentils, and flax. Within 2000 years of domestica-
tion of eikhorn wheat in the Crescent, its results had spread both east and west over
both Europe and Eurasia. Plant and animal domestication was a prerequisite to the
growth of large, dense, sedentary human populations in which food production of
only a part of the human effort. Such activities yielded storable food surpluses to feed
non-farming parts of the population. Hence, domesticated farming triggered the
emergence of kings, bureaucrats, scribes, professional soldiers, metalworkers and
other full-time craftsmen.
Literacy, metallurgy, stratified societies, advanced weapons and empires all came
about, as food-production became a minor part of human activities. So-called "City-
States" were established about 5000 years ago where people built more complicated
and fortified structures for mutual protection. Most walls were as much as 30 feet
thick and were slanted from bottom to top to compensate for the poor strength of the
sun-dried mud bricks used in their construction. Windows were an impossible lux-
ury. Approximately 4000 years ago, the peoples of the Mediterranean area developed
tombs and temples built of stone blocks. The great temples and pyramids, built about
M. Hein et al, Science 278 1312 (1997)
3500 years ago in Egypt, are fine examples of stone construction. Again, windows
were an impossibility. In Egypt, houses occupied by people were made largely of wood
or sun-dried brick and mud plaster, with openings as windows. The hot climate dic-
tated use of shutters, but not closure of the windows. Walls of buildings of the Baby-
lonian and Assyrian era, constructed of clay bricks fortified with straw, also had to be
30-40 feet thick in order to carry weight and not to crumble when wet. Long, narrow
rooms were the rule and doors were narrow. Again, ventilation and internal lighting
was accomplished by holes in the roof and torches hung on the walls. Windows were
virtually unknown.
It was the use of mud-bricks in Babylonian and Assyrian buildings that made possi-
ble the use of the arch and the vault. The Minoan culture on the island of Crete used
the arch to support wall construction and the column to support the roof. Their
buildings consisted of courts surrounded by rows of columns, and had guarded
gateways. Because of the warm climate, windows were not needed. Low, wide arches,
thick walls, heavy roof supports and virtually no windows characterized the build-
ings. This architecture was carried over into the Greek and Roman cultures, each of
which contributed. Following the fall of Rome in 476 A.D., Romanesque style build-
ings began to appear in Europe in the 900's, using the ribbed vault and pointed arch.
Houses then became more livable, with somewhat larger windows. However, very
large windows were little used, except in the churches. In this case, a framework of
light stone bars divided a large window into smaller areas so that colored or "stained"
glass panes could be more easily supported. Usually, this took the form of tall narrow
arched divisions below, with circles, cusps and other shapes cut into the stone which
formed the upper part of the window. When the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe
were built in the Middle Ages, their beautiful stained-glass windows became famous.
Because of the great difficulty in obtaining large flat pieces of stone, small panes were
later fastened together by canes of lead metal to form a larger network. Such "win-
dows" persist even today as "Stained-Glass". By the 1200's, small-paned glass win-
dows began to be used and were common from the 1500's onward. In the present era,
homes and buildings are planned so that windows will admit as much light as possi-
ble. Sometimes, walls of glass-blocks are used. Large picture windows have become
the norm. The disadvantage of having many large windows in a building or home is
that they permit a great amount of heat to be lost during cold weather. This has led
to "double-glazed" windows, that is, two glass panels set together, but separated by
an air-space, in a single pane.
All this came about as Man developed improved domiciles, tools and weapons. The
first weapons were undoubtedly clubs of wood. Later, sharpened poles were used as
spears and the points were usually fire-hardened. Then came the use of stone blades
as spear-points. These may have been either flint or obsidian. Obsidian, a glass
formed by volcanic action, had widespread usage during the Stone Age because it
was easily flaked to form sharp cutting edges for arrowheads, spearheads, knives and
the like. Its use has been documented in East Africa as early as 150,000 years ago
and it was used at least to the end of the Stone Age in the New World, about 1500
years ago. Indeed, obsidian has been known as the "Dating Stone" because of the
ease to which it lends itself in age determination. Wherever prehistoric peoples and
volcanic glass occurred together in nature, humans made use of this natural product
as a raw material for manufacture of tools. This has become evident from the wide-
spread discovery of detritus, in the form of worked fragments and shards, found in
the vicinity of present-day deposits of eruptive rocks in many parts of the world.
Somewhere in time, one of our observant forefathers invented the "throwing-stick". A
pouch or notch on one end held a stone that was accelerated by use of the inherent
lever thereby provided by the stick. Following this, an instrument was invented in
which a throng (made from an animal’s intestines) bent a pliable wooden stick, i.e.. -
the "bow". It was this invention that accelerated a "throwing-stick", i.e.- an arrow.
One end of the arrow was provided with a sharp point, at first merely fire hardened,
and later contained an arrow point made from stone or obsidian.
The next major step in weapons development was the smelting of metals, which pro-
duced swords, and improved arrow-points. The domestication of animals followed
along with the use of the horse for locomotion. Personal protection then appeared in
the form of shields and armor, made either from hides or metal. The Romans are fa-
mous for their use of shields in their phalanxes that were responsible, in large part,
for their invincibility at that time. Only the advanced use of mobility, i.e.- cavalry, by
the Parthians’, resulted in defeat of the Roman phalanxes. The development of gun-
powder used in propellant weapons was probably the next major advancement in
weaponry, followed by the atom bomb.
We will not dwell further on these aspects since they are not directly germane to
our purpose. However, a major step in the civilization of man came about through the
development of communications. At some time (recently by galactic standards), Man
learned how to communicate because of continual communication between families
and tribes.
Development of Speech and Writing
The history of writing involves the evolution of language, of counting and the alpha-
bet as we know it today. Mankind developed languages first. At least 6000 languages
have been cataloged but only a fraction of those are spoken today. It is not clear how
languages originated and matured. It is probable that individual extended families
(which grew into kinships, tribes, then clans and finally nations) spoke their own
language. Any given language is a system of symbols or ideas. Writing is a method for
representing those symbols. A writing system may be defined as any conventional
system of marks or signs that represents the articulation of a language. Writing ren-
ders language visible while speech is ephemeral. Writing is concrete and, by compari-
son, permanent. But, both speaking and writing depend upon the underlying struc-
tures of language. Consequently, writing cannot ordinarily be read by someone not
familiar with the linguistic structure underlying the oral form of the language.
Counting evolved as Man began to use domesticated animals for food. As Man
changed from being a hunter and wanderer to a herdsman and farmer (about 12,000
years ago), the need to keep track of animals engendered means for counting. A
shepherd could record the exact number of sheep in his flock by cutting notches on a
stick, or by carrying one pebble for each animal. The Inca of Peru tied knots in
strings of various lengths and colors to keep accounts of herds belonging to various
owners. However, these methods are transient and more permanent methods slowly
developed as human society evolved. The result we call "mathematics".
About 300 BC, the Hindus invented a system of numerals which the Arabs borrowed
in 800 AD to invent our present-day number system. It was the Romans who devised
a system of numerology using the so-called "Roman Numerals" while the Arabs bor-
rowed from the Hindu system to develop our present-day system of numbers, based
upon ten (I often wonder what would have happened if we all had been born with
twelve fingers).
Although drawings on rock walls within caves do convey meanings that anyone
can understand, they have no relationship to language as such. Such writing forms
are called ideographs. Man first took the decisive step in writing when he learned that
ideas could be expressed indirectly without the use of pictures. The earliest form is
called "logography" and consisted of the use of signs that stood for individual words.
A comparison of logo-forms and cuniformic writings is given in the following diagram:
This earliest known form of writing occurred more than 5000-6000 years ago with the
use of logoforms and syllabic signs. The Sumerians, who lived in southern Mesopo-
tamia, were the first people to reach a stage of word writing in about 3100 BC, i.e.-
about 5100 years ago. At first, they used signs to represent both words and numbers
but could not easily write personal names and abstract notions. To overcome these
problems, the Sumerians developed what is now called Rebus that uses signs to rep-
resent both phonetics and abstract ideas. Gradually, these signs came to resemble
what we now call "cuniform" as practiced by the Phoenicians. This earliest form of
writing used pointed sticks that were pressed into clay tablets to form marks denot-
ing business transfers of goods and materials. The clay tablet was then baked to
form a permanent record. Obviously, the advent of pottery making, which occurred
approximately 10,000-12,000 years before, was an important part of cuniform re-
It may not be generally known, but it is possible to accurately date such records. The
method is based upon the fact that all of the materials that we handle have radioac-
tive isotopes associated with them. This includes pottery which contain quartz grains,
present within the clay. Because of the natural radioactivity present in the soil due to
, the quartz grains gradually store energy
from α, β, and γ rays emitted over a period of time. Such grains are thermolumines-
cent when heated. That is, they give off photons proportional to the amount of stored
energy present. Quartz has the propensity to store energy from external radiation
sources in "traps" within the quartz structure. Such traps are formed due to the de-
fect structure normally present in the quartz crystal. Both left-handed and right-
handed quartz have point defects (generally vacancies) that are capable of such ac-
tion. Thus, when clay is baked to a pottery form, any energy present is discharged
during the heating process. If these quartz grains are collected from a piece of pottery
and are heated, it is possible to accurately date the original time of manufacture.
The Egyptians borrowed the cuniform method of writings, which had been modified
by the Babylonians and the Hittites, and further refined it about 3300 years ago into
Hieroglyphics, which is a form of word-signs. Although the Hittites used both word-
signs and vowel-signs, the Egyptians used only word-signs. About the same time, the
Chinese developed the most complicated and most highly developed system of word
writing in the world. Today, their alphabet contains over 6000 signs. It remained for
the Semites to develop a system of 22-30 signs, each representing a consonant
sound, like the present day alphabet. But, the vowel to be used was not specified. It
was the Greeks who first evolved a system of vowel signs and the first useful alpha-
bet. About 300 BC, the Hindus invented a system of numerals that the Arabs bor-
rowed in 800 AD to invent our present-day number system.
The next stage in communication came about with the advent of permanent storage
of knowledge. Up to this point, many of the old "traditions" prevalent in many cul-
tures were handed down mouth-to-mouth (Consider that many of the Indian tribes of
the United States still do not have written records or an alphabet, but rely upon tra-
ditional verbal methods for keeping their culture alive). With the coming of papyrus
in Egypt on which permanent records could be stored, mankind was prepared to re-
cord cultural progress in an indelible form for use by succeeding generations. At
about the same time, the development of parchment plus the use of ink and a form of
paper in Asia and China led to the invention of books in which knowledge and expe-
rience could be stored for use by all scholars.
It was the Romans who devised a system of numerology using the so-called "Roman
Numerals" while the Arabs borrowed the Hindu system to develop our present-day
system of numbers, based upon ten. By 60 AD, writing and the use of specific alpha-
betized characters were firmly established in certain parts of the world. It was then
that Marcus Tullius Tiro invented a system of shorthand writing. The oldest known
reference book still in existence is that of Pliny the Elder who wrote his Natural His-
tory in 70 AD. Block-printing was practiced in Asia in the 450's AD and the oldest
known block-printed book is "The Diamond Sutra", first printed in 868 AD. Although
books were known during that period, they were produced by hand in which each
letter was hand-printed. At that time, parchment was used as the writing medium.
Three types of writing media were in use in the ancient world. These were paper, pa-
pyrus and parchment (vellum). The Chinese developed paper more than 4000 years
ago. Paper is made by crushing suitable wood (usually a "soft" wood) into its individ-
ual fibers, i.e.- "pulp", washing them, adding chalk or other whitening agents, sepa-
rating them into a thin mat and then drying the mat. (Paper-making has matured
into more rigorous manufacturing procedures today. We will not examine them here).
The Egyptians perfected papyrus from reeds found along the Nile river (perhaps be-
cause they did not have a usable supply of suitable wood). The manufacture of papy-
rus is very similar to that of paper in that strips of softened papyrus are laid together,
a cross-layered mat is added and the two layers are "glued" together. The Europeans
had neither the technology for making paper or the availability of papyrus reeds and
therefore resorted to parchment. This writing medium is made by taking an animal
skin, such as a goat or sheep, cleaning it of all hair and flesh, stretching it on a rack,
scraping it to a "paper-thin" degree and then drying it (Oils were used to make the
parchment supple). Vellum was made from calf-skin.
These developments led to the invention of books in which knowledge and experience
could be stored for later use by all scholars. In the 14th century, and early in the 15
century, simple presses were being used toimpress the "printing" from elaborate
text illustration blocks. Books created by block printing were tedious to produce
since each letter had to be carved each time it appeared on a page. The method was
used most often for short, simple works, largely religious, in which the length of the
text could be subordinated to illustration. Hardly any European block books are
known to have been executed after the early 16th century. The first hand-made mov-
able-type printing press was first invented in China about the 11th century A.D.,
using wooden characters. Four centuries elapsed before Gutenberg introduced the
moveable type concept of printing books to Europe.
The History and Art of Writing
The earliest known writing instrument used to inscribe clay tablets was the stylus.
This was used approximately from 3000 BC to the Middle Ages.
The Stylus:
This is a pointed instrument for writing and marking. The stylus was used in ancient
times as a tool for writing on parchment or papyrus with ink. The stylus was formed
from a reed and used by the scribes for scribal arts, particularly for accounting. It
was not very versatile in creating alphabetic letters and
was used mostly for markings such as cuniform. The early Greeks incised letters on
wax-covered boxwood tablets using a stylus made of a pointed shaft of metal, bone,
or ivory. In the Middle Ages, schoolboys in Europe used similar instruments to write
on wooden tablets coated with black or green wax, producing whitish marks that
could be erased by rubbing with the rounded end.
The Qalam:
The early Egyptians employed thick reeds for penlike implements (qalam) about 300
BC. The qalam was first used in Arabic countries early in the first millennium. It was
cut from between two nodes of a stem of a reed chosen for its straight fibers. As thick
as a finger and 8 or 10 inches long, a qalum was made by soaking the reed segment
and then sundrying it. A nib, somewhat resembling that of a steel pen, was then
fashioned by slicing off the thicker end at an angle and cutting an ink-slot in the tip.
Separate nibs were shaped for different calligraphic styles, their points varying in
width, sharpness, angle or concavity, and position of the ink-slot. As did the quill pen
in some western societies, the qalam depicted in military insignia came to repre-
sent administrative staff as distinct from combat personnel. One Islamic tradition
proclaimed that it was God who created the qalam in order to record what was to
The Quill or Calamus:
Early in the 3rd century AD, a new type of writing instrument was perfected in
Europe. It was very similar to the Qalam but involved the use of local materials since
the type of reed used in the Middle East was not readily available. The Quill involved
use of the hollow, horny barrel of a bird's feather, and a liquid ink. It was undoubt-
edly perfected by monks who had a need for recording religious writings. This was the
forerunner of the pen and ink used in the 18th century. Quills were used as the prin-
cipal writing instrument from the 6th century until the mid-19th century, when steel
pen points were introduced. The strongest quills were obtained from living birds in
their new growth period in the spring. Only the five outer wing feathers (follicles) were
considered suitable for writing and the second and third were especially preferred.
Quills from the left wing were favored because the feathers curve outward and away
from a right-handed writer. Goose feathers were the principal source of quills. Quills
from the scarcer, more expensive swan were preferred when available. However, for
making fine lines, quills from crows were better than either. Quill pens made from
feathers of the eagle, owl, hawk, and turkey have also been used.
However, the use of quills would not have been possible without the discovery and
usage of inks.
Writing inks date from about 2500 BC and were used in ancient Egypt and China.
The earliest ink consisted of lampblack mixed and ground with a solution of certain
gums. This suspension was molded into sticks and allowed to dry. Before use, the
sticks were remixed with water. Various colored juices, extracts, and suspensions of
substances from plants, animals, and minerals also have been used as inks, includ-
ing alizarin, indigo, pokeberries, cochineal, and sepia.
Later inks consisted of a mixture of carbon black dispersed in a liquid medium such
as water. Carbon black was produced by controlled combustion of wood or other
materials such as coconut husks. To make the ink, it was suspended in water along
with stabilizing agents, including natural gum or animal glue. This became known
as "India" ink and is still in use today. By the end of the 2nd century AD, the Chinese
had discovered printing. Certainly, they then had at their disposal the three elements
necessary for printing: (1) paper and the techniques of its manufacture (which they
had known for several centuries); (2) ink, whose basic formula they had known for at
least 3000 years and (3) surfaces for printing which bore themes or texts carved in
relief. Some of these passages were classics of Buddhist thought inscribed on marble
pillars. To print these, Pilgrims applied sheets of damp paper, daubing the surface
with ink, so that the parts that stood out in relief showed up. Still others were relig-
ious seals used to transfer pictures and texts of prayers to paper. It was this use of
seals that led in the 4th or 5th century to the development of ink of a good consis-
tency for printing.
Printing inks are more viscous than writing inks and must stay wet on the press. Yet,
they must dry rapidly on the printed page. Drying of inks after printing can be con-
trolled in a variety of ways. If water is the vehicle, evaporation (with the use of heat-?)
leaves the pigment behind on the page. If the page is absorbent (paper but not
parchment), the water is drawn into the pores. Oxidation is another method used for
drying printing inks. Printing inks similar to those in use today were first developed
in Europe in the 15th century. They were made by boiling linseed oil with a resin or
varnish (shellac) and mixing it with lamp-black. Such an ink dries through oxidation
since the linseed oil is already partially oxidized. The resulting print is stable, indeli-
ble and not subject to aging like other inks prepared from "gall-nuts", "hawthorne-
bark", and the like.
For many centuries, some writing inks were a mixture of a soluble iron salt with an
extract of tannin. This is the basis of modern blue-black inks. Modern inks usually
contain ferrous sulfate as the iron salt with a small amount of mineral organic acid.
The resulting solution is light bluish black and, if used alone on paper, appears only
faintly. After standing it becomes darker and insoluble in water, which gives it a per-
manent quality.
The Pen:
This is essentially a tool for writing or drawing with a colored fluid. The earliest an-
cestor of the pen probably was the brush used for writing by the Chinese as early as
the 1st millennium BC. A specific allusion to the quill pen occurs in the 7thcentury
writings of St. Isodore of Seville, but such pens made of bird feathers were proba-
bly in use at an even earlier date. They provided a degree of writing ease and control
never realized before and were used in Europe until the mid-19th century, when
metallic pens and pen nibs (writing points) largely supplanted them. Such devices
were known in classical times but little used (a bronze pen was found in the ruins of
Pompeii). John Mitchell of Birmingham, England is credited with having introduced
the machine-made steel pen point in 1828. Two years later the English inventor
James Perry sought to produce more flexible steel points by cutting a center hole at
the top of a central slit and then making additional slits on either side. The incon-
venience of having to continually dip a pen to replenish its ink supply stimulated the
development of the fountain pen, a type of pen in which ink is held in a reservoir and
passes to the writing point through capillary channels. The first practical version of
the fountain pen was produced in 1884 by the American inventor L.E. Waterman. We
will not discuss more modern pens such as the ball-point pen which dates from the
late 19th century or soft-tip pens that use points made of porous materials. The lat-
ter became commercially available during the 1960s.
The Pencil:
This writing device is a slender rod of a solid substance, usually graphite, encased in
a cylinder of wood, metal, or plastic. The pencil is generally used as an implement for
writing, drawing, or marking. It was introduced more than 4 centuries ago. In 1564,
an unusually large and pure deposit of a new mineral was discovered near Cumber-
land, England. This new mineral occurred in soft, lustrous veins and was originally
thought to be a form of lead. It was therefore called "black-lead". Immediately, it was
shown to make a dark but removable mark, much blacker than the metal. Metallic
lead had been used since Roman times and was one of the most common alternatives
to writing on paper because use of quill and ink was so cumbersome. Black-lead was
first used in chunks called marking stones. Later, it was cut into strips or small rods
and wrapped with twine to provide a comfortable grip. In 1565, the German-Swiss
naturalist Conrad von Gesner first described a writing instrument in which black-
lead was inserted into a wooden holder. This prevented a writer's fingers from getting
smeared and also protected the expensive black-lead rod from breaking. Von Gesner
was also the first to describe black-lead as a distinct mineral, not a form of the metal.
In 1779 the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele showed graphite to be a form of
carbon. He later named it "graphite". The name graphite is from the Greek graphein,
"to write." Although the English supply was pure enough to be used in its natural
state, other countries sought alternatives, binding powdered graphite from mines
and industries with glues, gums and resins into usable shapes. In 1662, Abraham
Faber in Germany made the first graphite composition pencil from 2 parts graphite
and 1 part sulfur, a mixture that came closest to the writing properties of pure
graphite. During the Napoleonic wars in the late 18th century, Nicalous Conté, a
French engineer, found a way to make good pencils from poor graphite. He mixed
powdered graphite with powdered clay and water which he then pressed into wooden
molds. Upon firing the thin rods, the resulting pencils, also known as Conté crayons,
were more reliable and uniform than natural graphite pencils. However, the name
"lead" continued to be used to describe graphite rods used for writing. The hardness
of writing pencils, which is related to the proportion of clay (used as a binder) to
graphite in the lead, is usually designated by numbers from one, the softest, to six,
the hardest. Artists' drawing pencils range in a hardness designation generally given
from 2B, the softest, to F, the hardest. The designation of the hardness of drafting
pencils ranges from HB, the softest, to 10H, the hardest. The darkness of a pencil
mark depends on the number of small particles of graphite actually deposited by the
pencil. The particles are equally black regardless of the hardness of the lead. Only the
size and number of particles determine the apparent degree of blackness of the pencil
The degree of hardness of a lead is a measure of how much the pencil lead resists
abrasion by the fibers of the paper. Since we read the debris which is rubbed off
from the graphite rod, the more graphite there is in the mixture, the softer is pencil
lead and the blacker is the mark. Graphite is unique in that it is the only form of car-
bon that exists in atomic layers in the solid. The layers are easily moved and/or re-
moved, by abrasion. Thus, it can also be used as a solid lubricant. Henry David Tho-
reau's father was one of the earliest manufacturers of pencils. He improved the Conté
process so that Thoreau pencils were the best made in the U.S. However, less expen-
sive German pencils made by the firm, A.W. Faber, captured a large part of the world
market. By the middle of the 19th century, after about 300 years, the English graph-
ite mines finally played out. Meanwhile, an equally rich and pure source was discov-
ered in Asia. Faber gained exclusive rights to this deposit and proceeded to make less
expensive products. Yellow-painted Faber pencils became the most popular among
the writing public and the world standard. Other competing manufacturers copied
this image to imply that they, too, came from Asia. About the same time, in the U.S.,
another major graphite deposit was discovered in Texas. However, in 1896, Edward
Acheson perfected a process for making graphite directly from coke (a residue from
petroleum refining). Virtually all pencils made today use manufactured graphite
rather than the
natural form.
The Ubiquitous Eraser:
An eraser is a device to remove markings on paper or other media in order to change
what had been formerly composed as a rhetoric for instructional or other reasons. It
usually involves pencil markings which involve graphite as the writing medium. De-
velopment of the graphite pencil began in the 1560's. And the first crude pencils were
fabricated shortly after that. Unwanted markings were first rubbed off using a ball of
moist piece of bread or similar materials.
A French expedition to South America in1735 had discovered and described the latex
of the Hevea brasiliensis tree and named it "caoutchouc"- i.e.- condensed latex. In
1752, the "Proceedings of the French Academy" reported a suggestion for using
caoutchouc to erase black marks made by ink or pencil. In 1770, Joseph Priestley
noted that caoutchouc could be used to "rub out" pencil marks, hence the term "rub-
ber". However, the natural product had several drawbacks, chief among them being
that it became too hard in winter and too soft in summer. Charles Goodyear solved
this problem in 1839 by discovering the vulcanization process for natural latex. Be-
cause of the prior usage of the term, rubber, it became the name of choice for all
products involving materials made from the natural latex. The first patent on an inte-
gral pencil and eraser was issued in the United States to Joseph Rechendorfer of New
York City on March 30, 1858. Natural rubber was chemically identified as cis-
polyisoprene in the 1880's.
Although attempts were made to prepare synthetic rubber, such efforts were not very
successful until the advent of World War II. When direct polymerization of isoprene
was developed. Even then, control of cis-bonds in the polymer was difficult until the
advent of the Zeigler-Natta catalysts. These allowed the production of 100% cis-
polyisoprene. Synthetic rubbers began to replace natural rubber in erasers in the
1960's. Although several other synthetic rubbers have been used in the past to make
erasers, nearly all erasers are now made from PVC, polyvinyl chloride. The change
was made in the mid-1990's because some children were allergic to latex. The mod-
ern eraser is usually a mixture of vegetable oil, fine pumice, and sulfur bonded with
the rubber. The mix is processed, extruded, and vulcanized in rubber-processing
For pencil erasers, the mix is extruded as a short rod and is cured under pressure
and elevated temperature. This rod is then cut into shorter pieces called "plugs". A
band of metal, called a "ferrule" is glued on the end of the pencil where a groove has
been cut. The plug is then pressed into the ferrule to complete the finished pencil. -
March 2003
History of Man's Evolution of Technology
The advent of Homo Sapiens Sapiens on the face of the Earth gave rise to massive
changes in the ecology of the other animal species inhabiting the planet. During the
first 100,000 years of his existence, Man remained a hunter and wanderer. As stated
before, perhaps this was due to the remnants of the last Ice Age. But, as the seasons
grew warmer, Man began to roam further and further, as did his rivals and progeni-
tors, the Neanderthals. However, it is likely that Man rapidly improved both his
weapons and living standards, including that of speech and language. While Man was
mastering the arts of Speech, Writing and Communication, he also was perfecting the
arts of using inventions and discovery to make life easier. This included improved
habitats as well as weapons. It was these innovations in communication that en-
hanced Man's competition for food and shelter and gave ascendancy over the Nean-
derthals who began to become extinct. As has been shown, Neanderthals still existed
as short a time ago as 40,000 years BC. But, they did not survive the climatic
changes that were occurring at that time. Many other animals such as mammoths
and saber-toothed tigers, who were prevalent during the time of the Neanderthals,
also did not survive. Many other species have also become extinct. Only mankind has
had the flexibility and intelligence to survive under adverse conditions. In many
cases, this occurred by deliberate migration to climes more friendly to living.
Steps in Mans Ascendancy
The first steps toward improving life were undoubtedly that of language and commu-
nication. This came about as improvements in weaponry and habitat also evolved. At
the same time, Man was evolving toward a tiller of the soil. In the beginning, most of
the work was done by women while males were warriors and hunters. The following
lists some of these important changes, in both habitat and weaponry. Note that we
have given an extremely abbreviated listing and that a complete list would encompass
many more pages.
Changes in Weaponry and Habitat over the Millennia
a. Weaponry b. Habitat
Stone Axes & Wooden Clubs Caves & Trees
Throwing Sticks "Lean-to" from branches
Spears with stone points Tents from animal hides
Arrows with stone points Houses from mud bricks
We will not dwell upon weaponry further except to list changes that occurred as Man
learned to build and use materials for this purpose. Nevertheless, the smelting of
metals, the making of glass and the use of communication through specific lan-
guages deserve to be noted.
We have already listed how city-states arose. All these improvements in living stan-
dards appeared near the end of the "New Stone Age", or about 8500 years ago. Most
of these changes in habitat occurred because of tribal rivalries. Each tribe arose from
a single family who lived and worked together, and who had the same ancestors.
Tribal rivalry and competition caused several families to band together for protection.
Kings arose because they could organize and protect individuals by maintaining ar-
mies of warriors. Rivalry increased because each tribe had devised its own language
and could not communicate with other tribes as readily, and in some cases only by
hand-signs or gestures.
Thus, a major step in furthering language and communication arose when alphabets
were devised. Prior to that time, as we have already stated, traditions were passed
only by word of mouth by special persons within each tribe. In some cases, these
persons were known as "soothsayers". Writing was thus the means to further and ad-
vance communication within the human communities. Before writing and mathe-
matics arose, communication was sparse between rival clans and tribes.
Modes of Communication Over the Years
The earliest known form of communication occurred more than 5000-6000 years ago
with the use of logoforms and syllabic signs. The Sumerians, who lived in southern
Mesopotamia, were the first people to reach a stage of word writing in about 3100
BC, i.e.- about 5100 years ago. These signs came to resemble what we now call "cu-
niform" as practiced by the Phoenicians. (see above). Clay tablets were marked and
then baked to form a permanent record. Obviously, the advent of pottery making,
which occurred approximately 10,000- 12,000 years before, was an important part of
cuniform records. As shown in the following Table, each of the steps listed was sig-
nificant in developing modes of communication. This improvement continues even to
the present day.
DATE Peoples Type of Communication
~3000 BC
Hieroglyphics-a form of picture writing
~3000 VC
Cuniform- a symbol language
~ 1000 BC
Invented papyrus sheets for writing
~ 800 BC
Assyrians &
First established libraries of written
322 BC
Aristotle first compiled all existing
knowledge into a series of books
~ 300 BC
Invented decimal numerals
~ 200 BC
Parchment developed in Western Asia
~ 63 BC
Marcus Tiro-a Slave- invented shorthand
~70 AD
Pliny the Elder edited “Natural History”-
oldest reference work in existence
~ 105 AD
Use of paper and ink
~ 450 AD
Use of block printing
~ 800 AD
Use of decimal system of numerology
~ 868 AD
Oldest preserved block-printed book,
The Diamond Sutra, printed
~1440 AD
Gutenberg invented movable type
1539 AD
First printing press in United States
1622 AD
Weekly newsprint “Weekly News”
1665 AD
First newspaper - London Gazette
1704 AD
United States
First newspaper-Boston Newsletter
First magazine-Gentlemen's Magazine
First Dictionary of the English Language
First daily newspaper-Evening Post
First newspaper machine invented
United States
Cylinder press developed
United States
Noah Webster's dictionary published
Photography invented by Louis Daguerre
United States
First public library in New Hampshire
United States
First free public education in Mass
United States
Telegraph invented by Samuel Morse
United States
First transatlantic cable laid
It was not until the early 1700's that a method to make paper from wood chips was
invented by René Antoine de Réaumur, a French scientist. It was Johannes Guten-
berg who first invented movable type in 1440 AD which led to the development of the
first printing press in Germany. This made way for the development of the modern
type of books, libraries, modern writing, printing presses and the myriad methods of
printing in use today. Note that the printing of books may soon be over since elec-
tronic printing seems to be making headway daily over the old ways of communicat-
ing on paper.
Other inventions relating to communication were the establishment of free public
education in America in 1837 and the deve