Monday, 24 March 2014

Persistence Hunting and the Bushmen
San Hunters Tracking Wildebeest on Nyae Nyae Pan
Photo Credit in this post: Louis Liebenberg 
Persistence hunting was a phrase coined by Louis Liebenberg in his efforts to explain the ability of hunter/gatherers to think scientifically. This might sound a bit weird but given it second thoughts it explains to a large degree the Bushmen's ability to have survived and endured in one of the most harsh environments on earth for thousands of years. His study of, and involvement with the Bushmen over a period of 4 years led to the development of the world renown CyberTracker. You can read more about that in some of the other posts.     
He mentions the following: "Probably over 2 million years old and likely the most ancient form of hunting (before the domestication of dogs and the invention of weapons), persistence hunting is/was done without weapons. This was mainly possible because of the unique human physical ability to outrun an animal to exhaustion. Strange as it sounds humans are the best adapted creatures on earth to run long distances in hot conditions. Because unlike most animals our upright bodies aren’t so close to the hot ground, we sweat to cool down, don’t need to drink as frequently as other animals and our breathing is independent from our stride. But besides endurance running, another important factor contributing to our persistence hunting success was our unique ability for scientific thinking. Humans had to be able to deduce, predict and theorize where the prey might be or run to."



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