July 20, 2019
There is a most important fact to be learned from the very earliest graphic signs. In chapters 2 and 3 we saw that the bipolar technicity of many vertebrates culminated in anthropoids in the forming of two functional pairs (hand/tools, face/language), making the motor function of the hand and of the face the decisive factor in the process of modeling of thought into instruments of material action, on the one hand, and into sound symbols, on the other. The emergence of graphic signs at the end of the Palaeoanthropians' reign presupposes the establishment of a new relationship between the two operating poles - a relationship exclusively characteristic of humanity in the narrow sense, that is to say, one that meets the requirements of mental symbolization to the same extent as today. In this new relationship the sense of vision holds the dominant place in the pairs 'face/reading' and 'hand/graphic sign'l. This relationship is indeed exclusively human: While it can at a pinch be claimed that tools are not unknown to some animal species and that language merely represents the step after the vocal signals of the animal world, nothing comparable to the writing and reading of symbols existed before the dawn of _Homo sapiens_.
Source: Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1993). Gesture and speech. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press.
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