Throwing is an action which consists in accelerating a projectile and then releasing it so that it follows a ballistic trajectory, usually with the aim of impacting a remote target. This action is only possible for animals with the ability to grasp objects with their hands or other appendages.
Primates are the most capable throwers in the animal kingdom, and they typically throw feces as a form of agonistic behavior. Of all primates, humans are by far the most capable throwers. They throw a large variety of projectiles, with a much greater efficacy and accuracy. Humans have thrown projectiles for hunting and in warfare – first through rock-throwing, then refined weapon-throwing (e.g. spear), and into modern day with hand grenades and tear gas canisters.
If humans initially threw objects by hand, they very early designed tools to improve the efficiency of their throwing techniques. The sling, the bow and arrow, and various models of catapults are notable examples of throwing mechanisms.
With the advent of gun powder, research in throwing mechanisms as ranged weapons essentially halted, but throwing either by hand or with mechanical assistance has persisted for recreational purpose or as a form of exercise. Throwing is thus still performed in many sports and games, particularly ball games, and in throwing sports the action is the main determiner of the outcome.
Throwing dates back 2 million years to Homo erectus .Development of the offensive throwing of projectiles is mostly a development of the human lineage, although the aimed throwing of sticks and rocks by male chimpanzees during agonistic displays has been observed, first described by Jane Goodall in 1964. "Accumulative throwing", that is, the targeted throwing of rocks at a specific target, leading to the gradual accumulation of a stone pile, has also been described for chimpanzees. Wooden darts were used for hunting at least from the Middle Paleolithic , by Homo heidelbergensis . The spear-thrower is a development of the Upper Paleolithic, certainly in use by the Solutrean (c. 20,000 years ago).
Human athletes can achieve throwing speeds close to 145 km/h (90 mph), far in excess of the maximal speed attainable by chimpanzees, at about 30 km/h (20 mph). This ability reflects the ability of the human shoulder muscles and tendons to store elasticity until it is needed to propel an object.
Types of throws include overhand throws, underhand throws and using both hands. Overhand throws are thrown predominantly above the shoulder, underhand throws below. Overhand throws are usually significantly faster, and ball speeds of 105 miles per hour (169 km/h) have been recorded in baseball. Thrown objects can often be intentionally spun for stability or aerodynamic effects.
The overhand throwing motion is a complex motor skill that involves the entire body in a series of linked movements starting from the legs, progressing up through the pelvis and trunk, and culminating in a ballistic motion in the arm that propels a projectile forward. It is used almost exclusively in athletic events. The throwing motion can be broken down into three basic steps: cocking, accelerating, and releasing.
Desired qualities in the action produce a fast, accurate throw. These qualities are affected by the physical attributes of the thrower like height, strength, and flexibility. However it is mainly the throwing motion mechanics and the thrower's ability to coordinate them that determines the quality of the throw. Determining the desired qualities of the throwing motion is difficult to assess due to the extremely short amount of time that it takes professionals to perform the motion.
Throwing is used for propelling weapons such as stones or spears at enemies, predators, or prey.
Track and field contains four major throwing events: discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw and shot put. The weight throw is the fifth most common field throwing event, while the club throw is unique to disability athletics.
Research by MythBusters found that men and women throw almost equally well with their non-dominant hand, suggesting that the sexual differences were probably due to differences in training.
Throwing is rare among non-primates but, providing the definition is relaxed to entail for instance spitting, several examples can be found amongst various taxa, such as the camelids or the archerfish.
If one is willing to consider dropping as a special case of throwing, then one can include birds, most notably vultures, as some species are known to drop stones in order to break shells or other hard food sources on the ground.
Killer whales are often observed throwing seals in the air, usually using their caudal fin. This behavior is speculated to be purely recreational.
The chimpanzee, also known simply as chimp, is a species of great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. The chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo are classified in the genus Pan. Evidence from fossils and DNA sequencing shows that Pan is a sister taxon to the human lineage and is humans' closest living relative. The chimpanzee is covered in coarse black hair, but has a bare face, fingers, toes, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. It is larger and more robust than the bonobo, weighing 40–70 kg (88–154 lb) for males and 27–50 kg (60–110 lb) for females and standing 120 to 150 cm.
The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic, also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers c. 99% of the period of human technological prehistory. It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene c. 11,650 cal BP.
A sling is a projectile weapon typically used to throw a blunt projectile such as a stone, clay, or lead "sling-bullet". It is also known as the shepherd's sling. Someone who specializes in using slings is called a slinger.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as bone, flint, obsidian, iron, steel, or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defense, and warfare. In broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a tactical, strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target.
The genus Pan consists of two extant species: the chimpanzee and the bonobo. Taxonomically, these two ape species are collectively termed panins; however, both species are more commonly referred to collectively using the generalized term chimpanzees, or chimps. Together with humans, gorillas, and orangutans they are part of the family Hominidae. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, chimpanzees and bonobos are currently both found in the Congo jungle, while only the chimpanzee is also found further north in West Africa. Both species are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and in 2017 the Convention on Migratory Species selected the chimpanzee for special protection.
A projectile is a missile propelled by the exertion of a force which is allowed to move free under the influence of gravity and air resistance. Although any objects in motion through space are projectiles, they are commonly found in warfare and sports.
A spear-thrower, spear-throwing lever or atlatl 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.
Ballistics is the field of mechanics concerned with the launching, flight behavior and impact effects of projectiles, especially ranged weapon munitions such as bullets, unguided bombs, rockets or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance.
Shurikenjutsu (手裏剣術) is a general term describing the traditional Japanese martial arts of throwing shuriken, which are small, hand-held weapons used primarily by the Samurai in feudal Japan, such as metal spikes bō shuriken, circular plates of metal known as hira shuriken, and knives (tantō).
In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed until 1884.
A ranged weapon is any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the user holding the weapon itself. The act of using such a weapon is also known as shooting. It is sometimes also called projectile weapon or missile weapon because it typically works by launching solid projectiles ("missiles"), though technically a fluid-projector and a directed-energy weapon are also ranged weapons. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in hand-to-hand combat is called a melee weapon.
Darts are airborne ranged weapons. They are designed to fly such that a sharp, often weighted point will strike first. They can be distinguished from javelins by the presence of fletching and a shaft that is shorter and/or more flexible. Darts can be propelled by hand or with the aid of a hand-held implement. They can be distinguished from arrows because they are too short to be used in a bow.
Card throwing is the art of throwing standard playing cards with great accuracy and/or force. It is performed both as part of stage magic shows and as a competitive physical feat among magicians, with official records existing for longest distance thrown, fastest speed, highest throw, greatest accuracy, and the greatest number of cards in one minute.
The throwing stick or throwing club is a wooden rod with either a pointed tip or a spearhead attached to one end, intended for use as a weapon. A throwing stick can be either straight or roughly boomerang-shaped, and is much shorter than the javelin. It became obsolete as slings and bows became more prevalent, except on the Australian continent, where the native people continued refining the basic design. Throwing sticks shaped like returning boomerangs are designed to fly straight to a target at long ranges, their surfaces acting as airfoils. When tuned correctly they do not exhibit curved flight, but rather they fly on an extended straight flight path. Straight flight ranges greater than 100 meters have been reported by historical sources as well as in recent research.
Hunting weapons are weapons designed or used primarily for hunting game animals for food or sport, as distinct from defensive weapons or weapons used primarily in warfare.
Tool use by animals is a phenomenon in which an animal uses any kind of tool in order to achieve a goal such as acquiring food and water, grooming, defense, communication, recreation or construction. Originally thought to be a skill possessed only by humans, some tool use requires a sophisticated level of cognition. There is considerable discussion about the definition of what constitutes a tool and therefore which behaviours can be considered true examples of tool use. A wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, fish, cephalopods, and insects, are considered to use tools.
Although projectiles are commonly used in human conflict, projectile use by organisms other than humans is relatively rare.
The overhandthrow is a single-handed throw of a projectile where the object is thrown above the shoulder.
Throwing sports, or throwing games, are physical, human competitions where the outcome is measured by a player's ability to throw an object.
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