Is there evidence that early civilizations across the world discovered archery independently from one another (like Native Americans, Europeans and Africans)? Or can the technology be traced back to a certain time period/region before humans spread out from Africa?
According to wikipedia, the earliest evidence of archery equipment unearthed (from a Danish Bog) was dated about 9000-10000 BCE. Before that, it appears that spear-throwers were generally used for the same purpose.
Considering that the only societies known to be out of touch with the rest humanity after that period were those in Australia, and they are also the only large areas that entirely kept to spear-throwers, you could make an argument that bows were only invented once, and everyone else just saw someone else doing it. I doubt we'll be able to say for sure without more archeological work.