Did the last ice age slow down our technological evolution?

I’m curious, if it were not for the last ice age, would humans have developed faster as a society? What are your thoughts?

I’ve heard it argued that the last glaciation prevented the invention of agriculture, without which most technological advancement is impossible. So yes it did, if that hypothesis is correct.

Because The Lord created man on the 6th day and I’m sure Adam was completely the same
As any man today. The estimated matter of your statement is incorrect. Advice: pay attention.

Thank you for the excellent example of how the ice age has slowed down our intellectual evolution.

It could be argued that the ice age hastened the development of technology - glaciers scour the landscape, exposing near-surface mineral deposits of things like copper and coal - and these easily-mined deposits were important in the early history of metalworking etc.

Wait a second an ice age doesn’t mean that the entire planet is covered in glaciers . Some areas would be wetter and better climate than they are now .

What was the climate like in the Fertile Crescent during the last ice age ? What was sub Saharan Africa like or Central America ?

Actually, It’s been shown that the Sahara was wetter and covered in several types of plant life (savannah, some jungle, etc depending on area) and it changed between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. There is evidence of communities upto an estimated 10,000 in number.

Additionally, the Levant and the Tigris/Euphrates cradle was prime property during the ice age and continued with little amount of usable land change after the ice age ended, most changes are thought to be dependent on the course of rivers.

In general, I don’t think the ice age slowed down progress. I think that the pace of progress just got faster over time, as has always happened. For instance, there would have been a longer time between the sharpened stick and the stone tipped stick than there was between the copper sword and the iron sword, which was a longer gap than between the iron sword and the steel sword.

As social creatures, as soon as we make technology available to all, the combined mental power of everyone can go into improving it. The more people you have with knowledge, the greater chance you advance technology by combining someone’s experience with some else’s expertise. And this advancement can come from any part of the process, such as instead of forging a sword and wrapping the dull portion with animal skins, they start wrapping it with thin rope for durability. Or adding a hilt to keep the blade sharp between stabbings. And so forth.

More likely it was the other way around. Anatomically modern humans had already lived through a nice long interglacial before the last glacial period and don’t seem to have come up with much of archaeological significance. It isn’t really until the glacial period was in full swing that things appear to have really started taking off technologically. It’s quite possible that without being forced to adapt to the ice age, humanity would have just kept doing whatever it was they’d been doing for the previous forty millennia.

You can read all about it in Children of the Ice Age

The ice age was critical because all the stupider humans froze to death.

Cite, please. Note I will enjoy, but not accept as evidence, the tongue-on-pole scene from A Christmas Story.

I recently watched a documentary that concludes that human intelligence was probably a direct result more of climate change than of anything else. A lot of people having been asking whether hands or bipedalism or diet or whatever encouraged large brains, and the position of that documentary is that you see the greatest growth in intelligence at a time when rapid climate change meant that behaviors had to change quite rapidly. You couldn’t wait for a new behavior to evolve as instinct - only someone capable of adapting via intelligence could handle those swings of extremes.

It sounds like it was probably based on the book linked to by John Mace.

If that argument is true, we just weren’t smart enough to develop until the latest ice age, and a stable climatic period gave us the chance to really run with it.

Not necessarily. If the climate wasn’t as predictable as it is in the present era then it would be worse for agriculture than it is now in equally warm regions.

I believe climate in both the last ice age and the previous interglacial was less predictable and stable than today. That is bad for the development of agriculture and settled socieities. Normally, agiculturalists push out nomadic bands, because they produce more food, and thus a greater population density. Except in marginal terriotries. If the climate is unstable, agiculture loses out to small bands of nomads.

Long ago (before the internet) I remember reading about something called the early agricultural experiment. A period of about 2000 years when the climate was nearly as stable as today, and things similar to sicles etc start appearing. About 13 000 to 11 000 BC or something. Might have been pseudoscience, I was a lot less critical of my sources back then. Of course, since then we’ve found Gobekli Tepe, so who knows.

That’s my suspicion too. Large-scale agriculture began in the current Holocene era, about 10Kya. According to Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” the climate has been unusually stable during this period. However, other relatively rapid technological advances in toolkit happened more like 40Kya. Before that, all human populations (including Neandertals) used pretty much the same stone toolkit all over the world. After that, toolkits grew more complex, diverse, and specialized, implying that something special happened around that time. It may have been an advance in language, allowing better teaching and spreading of innovations.

Not directly relevant to the question, but the “mini ice age”, roughly 1650-1800, corresponds to the European explosion in technology that lead directly to the Industrial Revolution.

Ancient Aliens?? :wink:

Linked with RositaMike’s statement:

I wonder if the changing environment from the ice age and into warmer times and then back into colder times with the LIA actually made us more aggressive in adapting.

I have this odd mental image of a tall monolithic crystal obelisk. Perhaps that’s just a racial memory kicking in …

Stop beating that monkeyman! Think of the children!

How much of that technological advancement had anything to do with keeping warm, though? Mechanized weaving, steam engines and the adoption of coal/coke all seem to have had little to do with the weather.