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Primitive weapons

Primitive Handmade Bow

Humans used bows and arrows for hunting and violence long before recorded history, and the practice was common to many prehistoric cultures. They were important weapons of war from ancient history until the early modern period, where they were rendered increasingly obsolete by the development of the more powerful and accurate firearms, and were eventually dropped from warfare. Today, bows and arrows are mostly used for hunting and sports.

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Primitive Atlatl with Darts

A spear-thrower, spear-throwing lever or is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart or javelin-throwing, and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to store energy during the throw.

It may consist of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.

A spear-thrower is a long-range weapon and can readily impart to a projectile speeds of over 150 km/h (93 mph).

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Primitive Blow Pipes with Darts

A blowpipe (also called a blowgun or blow tube) is a simple ranged weapon consisting of a long narrow tube for shooting light projectiles such as darts. It operates by having the projectile placed inside the pipe and using the force created by forced exhalation ("blow") to pneumatically propel the projectile. The propulsive power is limited by the strength of the user's respiratory muscles and the vital capacity of their lungs.

Many cultures have used this weapon, but various indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia, the Amazon and Guiana regions of South America, Western Europe and Guatemala in Central America are best known for its use.

Projectiles include seeds, clay pellets, and darts. Some cultures dip the tip of the darts in curare or other arrow poisons in order to paralyze the target. Blowpipes were very rarely used by these tribes as anti-personnel weapons, but primarily to hunt small animals such as monkeys and birds. North American Cherokees were known for making blowpipes from river cane to supplement their diet with rabbits and other small creatures.

Shorter blowpipes and smaller bore darts were used for varmint hunting by pre-adolescent boys in traditional Cherokee villages. They used the blowpipes to cut down on small rodents such as rats, mice, chipmunks and other mammals that cut or gnaw into food caches, seed and vegetable stores, or that are attracted to the planted vegetables. While this custom gave the boys something to do around the village and kept them out of mischief, it also worked as an early form of pest control. Some food was also obtained by the boys, who hunted squirrels with blowpipes well into the 20th century.

Today blowpipes are used with tranquilizer darts to capture wildlife or to stun caged dangerous animals. Herpetologists use blowpipes to capture elusive lizards with stun darts. Blowpipes are also used recreationally, with either darts or paintballs.

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