Were Spear-Thrower Tools Ancient Biomimetics?

When watching movies where indigenous people were attacking, hunting, or driving off enemies, I noticed something resembling a long trough used to launch a dart, arrow, or spear. Seemed silly to me, just throw the spear. I was dreadfully wrong on that. Although it looked awkward, the tool became an extension of the arm and gave more power to the projectile. This made it possible for womenfolk and young'uns to get into the act. When you had a group of people on the prod who were skilled in using those tools, you'd better get out of Dodge mighty quick-like!

Devices like atlatls used for hunting and driving off invaders may have been an early example of biomimetics.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Richard Keatinge (CC BY-SA 3.0)
I was uncomfortable using a photo where people could be recognized,
so I blurred the facts even though the original image does not do this.
There are several names and styles, and simple enough that you can make your own atlatl. Interesting that these spear-throwing devices are very similar, and can be found in 'Straya and the Americas, among other places. I'm not willing to suggest that this is an example of people from the dispersal at Babel taking their skills with them. However, ancient peoples may have done the thing we now call biomimetics or biomimicry: seeing something in nature and imitating it for human use.

Imagine if you will a couple of people watching a heron. Its neck extends, pulls back, and snaps into the water to snag a fish. One watcher says to the other, "I think we can use that principle." The other says, "Sorry, would you say that louder? I'm a bit hard of heron". After a good laugh, they got to work.

On a side note, there is a minor sport that was popular with gamblers several years ago called jai alai. Very fast action. According to a jai alai site, it is "...played in a three-walled court with a hard rubber ball that is caught and thrown with a cesta, a long, curved wicker scoop strapped to one arm". Sounds familiar.

There are some similarities in the spear-throwers and the actions of the bird neck. Biomimetics from way back when? Could very well be! Our Creator gave us minds to use so we can improve our lives and intelligently design things based on the critters that he intelligently designed himself.
When archaeologists find an atlatl—as they have done in north Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia—they quickly recognize it as a tool designed to aid spear-throwing. Aztec warriors used the device to powerfully propel spears through the body armour of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century; the word atlatl in fact comes from the Nahautl language spoken by the Aztecs.

Australian Aboriginals know it as the woomera.
To read the rest of this short but interesting article, click on "The atlatl (woomera) and the heron’s neck".