A tool is a device that can be used to produce or achieve something, but that is not consumed in the process. Colloquially a tool can also be a procedure or process used for a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such as Instrument, Utensil, Implement, Machine, Apparatus.
Evolution of tool use
Anthropologists believe that the use of tools was an important step in the evolution of mankind. Humans evolved an opposable thumb — useful in holding tools — and increased dramatically in intelligence, which aided in the use of tools.
Tools are the most important items that the ancient humans used to climb to the top of the food chain; by inventing tools, they were able to accomplish tasks that human bodies could not, such as using a spear or bow and arrow to kill prey, since their teeth were not sharp enough to pierce many animals' skins.
A telephone is a communication tool that interfaces between two people engaged in conversation at one level. And between each user and the communication network at another. It is in the domain of media and communications technology that a counter-intuitive aspect of our relationships with our tools first began to gain popular recognition. Marshall McLuhan famously said "We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us." McLuhan was referring to the fact that our social practices co-evolve with our use of new tools and the refinements we make to existing tools.
Tool use by animals
Observation has confirmed that that multiple species can use tools, including monkeys, apes, several birds, and sea otters. Philosophers originally thought that only humans had the ability to make tools, until zoologists observed birds and monkeys making tools. Now humans' unique relationship to tools is considered to be that we are the only species that uses tools to make other tools.
The basic functions of tools are:
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