Miscellany: The Earliest Weapons
I took a course called "Development of World Civilizations" in undergrad, because in my first couple of years in college I still believed in getting a well-rounded education. Reality hit me like a 2x4, though, and I took engineering classes exclusively in my junior and senior years. That's a bit of a shame, since I liked studying human evolution and ancient civilizations.
Specifically, I learned about one of the first weapons humans ever made - the atlatl (I pronounce it "attle-attle"):
The atlatl, and other tools like it, are quintessentially human concoctions. The earliest hominids were fairly outmatched against the rest of nature - no claws, poor senses, mediocre foot speed. It's sort of inspiring that our species could go from launching a spear to launching a rocket in about 50,000 years.