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Thread: Here is an interesting theoretical article. Ancient humans as hunters. page

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    tzulogic's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting theoretical article. Ancient humans as hunters.

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    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports...han_cats_.html

    Apologies, appeared I forgot to paste the link!

    The article talks about how in hot weather, humans have a great advantage with our great ability to sweat. Combine this with slow twitch muscles and a social hunting group, and we can outlast our prey using 'persistence hunting.'

    It uses the man vs. horse race as an example. Where practiced runners compete in a 22 mile race against your run of the mill horse, and sometimes win. Most likely because the heat just makes it hard for the horse, but a human can efficiently shed that heat.

    Entertaining to read.
    Last edited by tzulogic; 03-15-2013 at 07:15 PM.

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    The stats I heard is that over enough distance there was no animal that could outrun us, provided we could track them, they were dinner.

    Homo erectus was the first runner and they also had a taste for meat, we were running well before we really knew what we could do with these big brains, some of the other adaptations were swinging arms for counterbalancing and a narrowed head i.e flatened face to minimise lateral forces allowing us to keep our head facing forward while our body was piviting, there are many more, but endurance running was a key adaptation required for survival of the line, without it our Big Brains would have jus been a juicy dinner for some predator on the Savanah.

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    Yep, I heard that too. I saw a documentary where they filmed a group of Bushmen hunting an Oryx. It'd start running and they'd chase it a ways until it pulled head of them, then they'd track it (sometimes walking) until they caught up and just kept it on the run by tracking/chasing until it was about to collapse from exhaustion then they used a spear to make the kill.

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    This is how Bushmen hunt even now. It doesn't get much more primal than this video.
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    A nice theory, but too many flaws or gaps:
    -distance runners and marathoners fall apart from the hip down at around 50, showing our legs weren't designed for running a marathon a month, let alone one a week
    -the toll on the heart is also massive
    -tribes that exclusively used persistence-hunting died young (even discounting infant-mortality)
    -horses (and their 'family') DO sweat

    Humans probably DID engage in some forms of persistence-hunting, but it would have been more:
    1.- creep up on animal (walk)
    2.- stab animal (muscular force)
    3.- run and hide/back off (sprint)
    4.- track wounded animal (walk)
    5.- finish it off (muscular force)
    6.- carry it home (heavy weights)
    rather than:
    1.- run for hours until it is almost dead
    2.- finish it off and carry it home
    The former is less energetically expensive and less risky, as it uses short bursts of intense activity, teamwork, brains and tools to kill a much larger animal (like mammoths, deer, elk... which, if chased persistence-style, would have stampeded and trampled) rather than using a long-stretch of intense activity and herding-behaviour to kill a smaller animal (younger deer, ponies... any animal that WOULDN'T just trample a predator).
    In fact, most modern tribes use the former method of hunting, with none using the latter.

    And if we want to say that our older ancestors used persistence-hunting as they weren't very smart: some well-learned people believe that we evolved to punch, with some of our ancestors potentially punching the likes of reindeer and elk to death. The human body may no longer be adapted to certain hunting techniques and modern humans use a combination of brains, tools, teamwork, endurance AND intensity to hunt larger animals with minimal effort. Considering that along with the host of problems marathon-runners develop, I'd rather not jump to the conclusion we should all be running several hundred km a day.
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    Kochin, did you watch the Bushman video I posted? They do persistence hunting. They don't do it every day but they do it. They are probably the poorest people on earth and they live a long time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedonist2 View Post
    Kochin, did you watch the Bushman video I posted? They do persistence hunting. They don't do it every day but they do it. They are probably the poorest people on earth and they live a long time.
    It depends on your definition of poor.....Yes they are financially poor but they are rich in the skills required to survive in their environment.

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    1. Humans are wonderful wonderful sweaters. You might think of us as niche hunters. I do not think that without more effective ranged weaponry we could have spread out from africa. During the cold or moderate seasons the animals would have no problem outpacing us. However, in very hot weather humans can outlast prey with our superior ability to sweat. And, thanks for the reminder Hedonist, that was a great video, our ability to carry water.

    I don't think we had to chase it for hours, probably not. Have you seen the way wolves and lions hunt? I imagine our pack behavior would have been even more sophisticated then that. You surround the prey and drive it to confusion. We would have used big gestures, sprints, and loud noises. Through persistence I bet you could tackle an animal in 20 minutes. Not hours.

    However, sometimes hours would be necessary. There would be times. In which case we are very well equipped to do so. Also, once you catch your prey, you don't have to do it everyday! It would be maybe once a week. If that.

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    and herding-behaviour to kill a smaller animal (younger deer, ponies... any animal that WOULDN'T just trample a predator).
    Pinkamena could trample a predator!



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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedonist2 View Post
    Kochin, did you watch the Bushman video I posted? They do persistence hunting. They don't do it every day but they do it. They are probably the poorest people on earth and they live a long time.
    I may have been wrong about tribes no longer using it (never heard of the San, amazed that I didn't, but there you go), but my point about the difference between how humans use persistence hunting and a marathon remains.
    Notes:
    -tracking is an important part, hours of walking
    -only the designated runner does the actual persistence and this individual would retire once he grew slow, unlike modern marathoners who continue jogging until their bodies give up on them
    -the others alternate running and walking, more of a long sprint or a fast jog than a marathon or even a half marathon

    From what I can see, the fastest become the runners (with the slower hunters never doing the running), the runners retire once they're slow, the runners take turns over hunts and not every hunt would be persistence, meaning the same man may only run every few months.

    It hardly makes the case for marathons that Stipp suggests, does it?
    Last edited by Kochin; 03-19-2013 at 12:48 PM.
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    Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

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