Civilization has developed at a very high rate, despite certain periods of technological and evolutionary stagnation. However, there still a number of tribes in Africa which haven’t embraced the on-set of technology, instead living like we used to ages ago. Read on to find out more about how Africa’s Bushmen San tribes use poisoned arrows to hunt.
The Bushmen San tribes from Namibia
Led by the University of Kansas’ Dr. Caroline Chaboo, a team of researchers went to live alongside the San tribe populations of Namibia for a while in order to study them. These Bushmen are expert hunters, quickly evolving their hunting strategies.
Because of their need to hunt in order to provide food, the Bushmen tribes learned very quickly of different methods of hunting, managing to adapt and implement techniques into their daily hunts.
Being pretty much the last place on Earth where such levels of technology can be observed, the researchers were pretty excited about observing them hunt, and even more so when they found out exactly how quickly their skills evolved.
The research was basically a multi-disciplinary foray into the Bushmen culture, focused on providing historical, ecological, socio-cultural and entomological data on the San tribe communities and their means of hunting.
The team of American scientists observed the largest two of the nine remaining groups of Bushmen for the study, hoping to find out more about them, as well as some other information pertaining to the other groups.
Hunters show extensive knowledge of their environment
A huge part of the paper was dedicated to the tribesmen’s poisons, ranging from plant-based to insect based. While some used poisonous plants to slow down their prey after hitting it with an arrow, other tribes went for using particular beetle species.
What was of particular interest was how the tribesmen prepared the poison.
First of all, they never went for the pupae or the fully grown insect, only for the larvae. From there, Bushmen will roll the larvae between their fingers and extract its innards in a special bowl-like contraption made from a giraffe’s knuckle bone, where they are to be mixed with the remaining ingredients.
The most interesting part was constituted by the huge amounts of variation among the nine tribes, as well as by the incredibly short amount of time it took the tribesmen to go from developing the bow and arrow to using poisons to hunt.
It can’t really be determined for how long people will have the opportunity to examine a window into their past, so researchers are trying to observe as much as possible without being intrusive or disruptive to the Bushmen.
Image source: Wikimedia