Two Legs, Thing Using and Talking: The Origins of the Creative Engineering Mind

Professor F.T. Evans

School of Engineering, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK


Abstract: Instead of seeing technology as outside ourselves, it is argued that it is an innate human function and the main driving force in human evolution. Opportunistic 'thing using', long before stone tools appeared, was the likeliest cause of bipedalism. It also forced brain development and the emergence of creativity. The neural basis for this creative technical activity later provided the brain functions on which language could develop. This simple unifying hypothesis has interesting implications for the way that we see technology in history, and for determinist theories of the future. It also bears on the way engineers are trained, and more important, the human faculties which need to be fostered in children.

Keywords: Bipedalism; Creativity; Language origins; Palaeontology; Technology; Tool using;