I swear neither of us had been drinking when this thought struck, (Honest). It was one of those weird ideas that seeped its way into our conversation as we were talking about evolution. How it is that humans are the way they are today, walking upright but with very useful arms with the common hand we take for granted at the end. This marvel with its fingers and opposable thumb allowing us to hold things with such ease.
It then prompted the question about how our arms, in particular, have played their part in where humanity as a civilisation has developed itself to today.
We wondered if humans had originally, when they evolved from the primordial soup, evolved to have four arms, would we have developed our current civilisation, as we know it today, faster?
We know that crazy idea needs some explanation so here is an initial thought to ponder. (Bear with us we think we do make sense eventually!)
After leaving the primordial soup, walking on all fours on dry land then over millions of years slowly evolving into the upright bipedal ape form we recognise today we now have our arms and hands as they are more or less today, so civilisation begins they say.
Most know that humans originally rubbed two sticks together to make fire. Yet this must have taken a long time to achieve initially. Now, had they had four arms, would this have enabled humanity to make fire quicker, (You know more sticks, faster rubbing.), perhaps making it even make it more common sooner? After all if something is hard to achieve then it takes much longer to propagate through a society. If it is an easier thing to do then more people adopt it quicker.
With fire having been widespread quicker through that early civilisation, we ask the question, “Would this have led to the ages of civilisation being reached much faster?” Those we today know as the Stone, Bronze, Iron, Industrial, even perhaps the technological age of today? After all in todays civilisation we use robots with multiple limbs to develop things quicker for our benefit these days. (This is like having many arms right?). Hence back to our thought where if humans had evolved with four arms then would humanity be further forward in where civilisation would be developed to now over that same time span?
Let us try to explain this a little bit further as fire is only one simple example that we have used so far. Here is another part of our thinking that humans with four arms may have developed our advanced civilisation quicker.
There is also that saying, “Two pairs of hand are better than one!” Which we all know is a very true statement as it is easier to achieve something together than on our own.
Taking that in to account could this mean that the wheel may have been easy to first create? Maybe if two people had worked on it, one to hold the stone whilst the other was shaping it perhaps, it would have been made quicker. Yet with one person trying to make a wheel he may have struggled to hold and shape it with just two arms and hands? So human time ticked by until two people came together doing the right thing together before the wheel finally came to be an easy thing to make. Yet with four arms that one person could have managed to make the wheel easily on his own.
There must be many moments in time where this has also been the case where time was lost as the development had to wait for two people to be in the right place, at the same time with those two pairs of hands. Yet had they had four arms it would only have needed one person thus time would have been saved and those pivotal moments of development reached far quicker.
Now here is a weird postulation to try and add credence to this idea by the fact that Dinosaurs never developed anything as they had no arms at all to use to do so. I know most would say that it was their mental capacity was so poor, (Mind you there are some humans that seem have that same trait!), yet there were some smarter Dinosaurs that were much smarter, like the “raptors”, who are thought to have had problem solving intelligence plus an ability to communicate. Perhaps given more evolved usable arms they might have achieved things we might think unbelievable.
Here is another thought that had humans not developed the arms as we know them today, is it possible we would still be an undeveloped civilisation not having made fire, the wheel, developed the Stone, Bronze, Iron and today’s technology eras? In fact would we simply be another form of animal no different to any other that might even have been wiped out by those higher up the food chain as we would never have developed the weapons to protect or hunt others to survive?
How did nature know to give us larger brains because we had would have arms?
(c) Harlin & Lamo The Lion 2017