The Persistence Hunt: Bushmen run a kudu to death


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 16, 2010 - 07:59pm PT
It's likely that we evolved to run down animals in relentless long distance pursuits. It's why we're hairless, upright, 2 legged apes:

During his first full-throttle “persistence hunt,” the South African biologist Louis Liebenberg was working with bushmen in the Kalahari Desert in the early 1990s. He accompanied a hunting party armed with handmade bows and arrows. The hunters stalked kudu — a nimble antelope, slightly smaller than an elk. When a young stag split off from the herd, the bushmen ran flat-out after it.

The kudu moved quickly out of sight in the brushy Kalahari landscape. But keeping up was more than just a matter of running; the hunters also needed to pick up footprints in the sand on the fly. Liebenberg, then age 30, hadn’t done the conditioning to be a long-distance runner, and he was wearing heavy leather boots as a precaution against poisonous snakes. And this was shaping up to be a hard run.

In persistence hunting, the trick is to trot almost nonstop in the heat of the midday sun, pushing the animal along so that it never has time to recover in the shade of an acacia tree. The Kalahari hunters have figured out how to play one critical advantage in a deadly game that pitches their survival against that of animals: Humans have an evaporative cooling system, in the form of sweat; antelope don’t. When conditions are right, a man can run even the fastest antelope on earth to death by overheating.

rest of the story:

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Dec 16, 2010 - 08:27pm PT
Yeah, Frederichs suggested this book called "Born to Run" over the T-day holidays, which talks quite a bit about persistence hunting and the researchers who investigated it.

Really good book, "Born to Run". Looks at all kinds of stuff about distance running...why so many get injured, why certain tribes excel, how modern shoes screw people up, all within a compelling narrative of the reporter going to run with some of Americas best ultra runners in a race with the mexican indians down in the copper canyon region who routintely run 5o-100 miles for "fun".
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