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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.

Common modern ball throwers (molded plastic shafts used for throwing tennis balls for dogs to fetch) use the same principle.

The amentum gives not only range, but also spin to the projectile.

atlatl use was widespread at the time of first European contact.

The use of the device would reduce the telltale "zip" of a swung atlatl to a more subtle "woof" sound that did not travel as far and was less likely to alert prey.

Robert Berg's theory is that the bannerstone was carried by hunters as a spindle weight to produce string from natural fibers gathered while hunting, for the purpose of tying on fletching and hafting stone or bone points.

Some even preferred this weapon over the bow and arrow, and used it not only in combat but also in sports competitions.

Such was the case with the Tarairiu, a Tapuya tribe of migratory foragers and raiders inhabiting the forested mountains and highland savannahs of Rio Grande do Norte in mid-17th-century Brazil.

This allowed for more forgiving flint knapping: dart heads designed for a particular spear thrower tend to differ in mass by only a few percent.

By the Iron Age, the amentum, a strap attached to the shaft, was the standard European mechanism for throwing lighter javelins.

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