Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ted Cloak: The Wheel and Cultural Evolution

Bumping this to the top of the queue as a reminder, Cloak was there first. And that 1968 study of the spoked wheel is very interesting. I wish there were more work like it.
Before there was Dawkins, there was Ted Cloak. His 1968 study (PDF) of the cultural evolution of the spoked wooden wheel and documentation of the manufacture of same (with photos) is a classic document, one not widely enough known. Here's a website he's put up setting out his ideas. Pay particular attention to his use of the work of William Powers (includes a number of useful videos of Power's Model).

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Addendum: Note the following passage from David G. Hays, The Evolution of Technology, Chapter 5, “Politics, Cognition, and Personality”:
In reading to prepare to write this book, I have learned that the wheel was used for ritual over many years before it was put to use in war and, still later, work.

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