New technologies are shedding light on SA’s ancient past and the development of humanity’s cognitive abilities. Recent academic papers have been published that plot paths to understanding this forgotten history in terms of technology use and artistic development. A pilot study has shown that it is possible to unravel the ancient alchemy of hunter-gatherer poisons. Thousands of years before the Sumerians developed writing in 3,000 BC or Egyptians began building their first dynasty, people in southern Africa were developing the first forms of technology. Researchers consider the use of poisons on arrow tips to be an important milestone in human cognitive development. An arrow light-weight enough to travel relatively long distances would not have the force to do a large animal much harm, which is why the poisons are useful. But little research has been conducted on what plants were used in the poisons. "Now, with the availability of new, more advanced, sensitive and reliable chemical d...

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