And no-one could say they were fools
But the axes they made
They failed to upgrade
‘cause no-one could teach them the rules.
In considering the evolution of human intelligence there is uncertainty about when an effective language first emerged and there is also a mystery of the early stone hand axes, which were made to the same design for about a million years. If the early hominins who made these tools were really that intelligent one might expect that someone in more than 70,000 generations would have found a way of making better stone hand axes.
This suggests that a new tool will be successful - and if information on how to make a tool is passed on by simply watching and copying the process is likely to be much more efficient if the teacher can use language to explain the process and also to explain where the pupil is going wrong. This difference is likely more significant the more steps there are in the tool making process.
While there is not firm evidence (language does not leave direct evidence in the record until writing was invented) it seems likely that humans started making more sophisticated hand axes, and other flint tools, once language had reached the stage where it had become a powerful tool for reaching tool making.
[This is particularly relevant to my research on the evolution of human intelligence, My model suggests that there is a mountain to climb as tasks involve more and more rules - until the crest in reached - when, once a suitable language tool is invented - and from that point on ]the more you know the easier it is to know even more ...]