Thursday, May 05, 2011

Persistence Hunting

The pronghorn. The fastest mammal in North America.. the second fastest animal in the world, capable of running 55mph for extended periods.

In another part of the state of New Mexico, hundreds of miles from where I'm sitting, human beings tried to run a pronghorn down, using only their lung capacity, their legs, and their brainpower.  What the hell are they up to?
"The pronghorn is the second-fastest animal on earth, while the men are merely elite marathon runners who are trying to verify a theory about human evolution. Some scientists believe that our ancestors evolved into endurance athletes in order to hunt quad­rupeds by running them to exhaustion. If the theory holds up, the antelope I'm watching will eventually tire and the men will catch it. Then they'll have to decide whether to kill it for food or let it go."
I'm not sure whether or not I can buy into that theory, but it's really tantalizing to picture it.  Read the whole article to find out how these world class marathoners fared against our New Mexico Pronghorn.

This, of course, is not the only animal that is run down by humans.  There are numerous, incredibly fast and agile football players in college and pro ranks, including the University of Michigan who hale from a poor, rural location in Florida called Pahokee.  They  hone their skills like this..

Cottontails and "muck rabbits" (whatever they are)are one thing. Our blacktail jackrabbits are another thing altogether. Nobody is going to catch one on foot. That's why we use another method that's nearly as old as persistance hunting-

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