Every once in a while I'll see an old photograph documenting Native American food preservation methods. The one that comes to mind was off a woman hanging fish out to dry in Alaska. My first thought seeing it was, "Holy crap, bears are going to eat that up in a second!" We now have to use bear cans and the like to keep them out of our rations while camping or they'll destroy our whole campsite. What changed?
asked byHappy_Now (24553)
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on July 16, 2011
at 02:18 AM
Human population density.
Even if a village dried fish everyday, it pales in comparison to the amount of edible garbage that is left in trash cans. Also, the village probably moved a bit or at least the location of the drying racks, but I'll bet the trashcans/campsites located in some of the parks have been there since day 1. Fixed location of garbage helps to increase the population of the bears and momma bear can show baby bear where to get easy food.
Finally, in the day of those pictures, bears were probably hunted or at least an attempt was made to kill them when they raided the drying racks, today people take pictures and say "how cute."
on July 16, 2011
at 02:51 AM
Things changed because hunter-gatherers, over millennia, "trained" large predators to fear humans and their tools.
The Hadza and lions are a classic example.
"We would look for lion kills on the basis of where vultures are landing," O'Connell recalls of one stay with the Hadza, "and then walk up and try to take the kill from the lions.... That can be very scary, walking up with a Hadza man when there are several lions and hyena on the kill, and it's just you and your camera and him and his one bow. And he is fully confident he is going to take that meat away. He has no doubt. We watched Hadza hunters get meat this way 20 times, and each time they drove off the lions." What if the lion doesn't back off? "That happened one time," O'Connell says. "The lion got killed and eaten." A wise lion knows the Hadza are masters of the bush.
Another interesting observation is that ecosystems where an animal didn't have human or other terrestrial predators in its evolutionary history -- ergo, would not be "trained" to fear humans, would suffer disastrous consequences when found by humans as they did not fear them. The ne plus ultra of this would undoubtedly be The Dodo.
on July 24, 2011
at 01:14 AM
The dogs hanging around the village would probably have run any bears off. In one of the books on dogs that I've read -- might have been "The Wolf in The Parlor"? -- the author talks about being in an African village one night when the word came that a lion was prowling nearby. The village dogs kept the lion from raiding the village's livestock pens.