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wd40
2011-Dec-20, 06:49 PM
Even with candles, until modern lighting, most humans since the dawn of civilization 10,000BC, went to bed at nightfall, and woke up at dawn.

If they got up in the middle of the night, they lit a candle or lamp and pottered around for an hour and went back to bed.

The question is: in the aeon before beds, mattresses, lamps and candles, being that humans- 300,000BC were all living in the equatorial region where night always lasts 12 hours throught the year, and being that a human needs only 6-8 hours sleep, what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?

Strange
2011-Dec-20, 06:54 PM
Sat round a fire and told each other ghost stories? Drank ale and sang songs? Planned the next days hunt?

Where do you get these questions from?

Hal37214
2011-Dec-20, 07:01 PM
Is there no starshine or moonshine in these strangely binary equatorial regions?

wd40
2011-Dec-20, 07:04 PM
Even today, I don't think the natives in equatorial Africa will go walking around the savannah at night even with all the stars and a full moon, even with an electric torch.

Being that he was in a continual fight to survive maybe the first humans slept less, or even more than us? Is our c8 hours of sleep a recent evolutionary adaptation?

Hal37214
2011-Dec-20, 07:07 PM
Even today, the natives in equatorial Africa won't go walking around the savannah at night even with a full moon.

That just means they don't want to be eaten by nocturnal predators. In fact, for safety, the longer they can stay up, in a defensible position, the better.

Strange
2011-Dec-20, 07:07 PM
Even today, I don't think the natives in equatorial Africa will go walking around the savannah at night even with all the stars and a full moon.

Well, that may make sense (got a reference to support it?) but that doesn't mean they won't go walking around their village; visiting neighbours, having a drink, visiting another neighbour, having a drink ... going to the local bar, having another drink, singing some songs, boasting about what they are going to catch the next day, ...

crescent
2011-Dec-20, 07:26 PM
I don't know what they did before they harnessed fire, but once fire became available I would guess they had enough to do around the fire to keep busy for a few hours.

I mean, cooking would have been time consuming, smoking hides/leather to help cure it, smoking meat to preserve it, boiling grain to prepare it for fermentation. Hours and hours of work around a fire.

In other words, very little different from some of the cultures that exist today, or a good many pretty well understood societies that were in hunter/gatherer mode until somewhat recently, such as American Indians.

Perikles
2011-Dec-20, 07:35 PM
The question is: in the aeon before beds, mattresses, lamps and candles, being that humans- 300,000BC were all living in the equatorial region where night always lasts 12 hours throught the year, and being that a human needs only 6-8 hours sleep, what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?Do you know what? You may have accidentally stumbled on a reason for the development of language. A Nobel prize is in the post.

CosmicUnderstanding
2011-Dec-20, 07:37 PM
I often ponder what day and night life would be like if our Earth rotated at half the speed it currently does. Our sleep patterns appear to be custom tailored to this rotation. I'm guessing we would have adapted to the slower rotation speed meaning we stayed up and slept twice as long as we do now, but I have no evidence to support that speculation.

Perikles
2011-Dec-20, 07:42 PM
I often ponder what day and night life would be like if our Earth rotated at half the speed it currently does. We would still be contemplating hypothetical questions like "what if our Earth rotated at twice the speed it currently does. "

Swift
2011-Dec-20, 07:43 PM
Is there no starshine or moonshine in these strangely binary equatorial regions?
Even in equatorial regions, there is also some twilight, so it is not 12 hours of complete darkness.

I have often hiked at night and usually do so without a light. Even on moonless nights or in heavy woods, once your eyes dark adjust, it is quite possible to navigate.

I have also spent good portions of the night around a campfire, socializing or just looking at the flames.

NEOWatcher
2011-Dec-20, 07:46 PM
The question is: in the aeon before beds, mattresses, lamps and candles, being that humans- 300,000BC were all living in the equatorial region where night always lasts 12 hours throught the year, and being that a human needs only 6-8 hours sleep, what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?
Then there's twighlight, full moons.
Then there is looking up at the night sky to see what the "gods" are doing.

Oh; and there's evidence that humans used fire as far back as 800,000 years ago and harnessed it about 3-400,000 years ago.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-20, 07:55 PM
I've hiked at night, albeit not for a long time. I've also spent many a convivial evening sitting around a campfire.

wd40
2011-Dec-20, 08:25 PM
there's evidence that humans used fire as far back as 800,000 years ago and harnessed it about 3-400,000 years ago.

Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?

Scriitor
2011-Dec-20, 08:36 PM
Oh, I think I see where this is going...

Okay, I got a head-scratcher of my own. Why does human head hair grow so very long? That must have been a real bugger to trim back in the day, with only a flint barber kit.

Strange
2011-Dec-20, 08:41 PM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?

Define civilization.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-20, 08:45 PM
The question is: in the aeon before beds, mattresses, lamps and candles, being that humans- 300,000BC were all living in the equatorial region where night always lasts 12 hours throught the year, and being that a human needs only 6-8 hours sleep, what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?
Sleep.

Or try to make more people.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-20, 08:46 PM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?
Ah, it's another wedge question.

Answer: not enough extelligence.

PraedSt
2011-Dec-20, 08:53 PM
The question is: in the aeon before beds, mattresses, lamps and candles, being that humans- 300,000BC were all living in the equatorial region where night always lasts 12 hours throught the year, and being that a human needs only 6-8 hours sleep, what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?Even allowing for fire, they might actually have slept longer. For example, even now it's not difficult to become habituated to 10 hour sleeps. Ask any student.

ETA: Oops. Sorry Henrik.

Hal37214
2011-Dec-20, 08:55 PM
Even allowing for fire, they might actually have slept longer. For example, even now it's not difficult to become habituated to 10 hour sleeps. Ask any student.

Ah, but most students don't worry about being dragged off by a lion while they sleep.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-20, 09:00 PM
Seeing that lions are daytime hunters, neither did early hominids.

PraedSt
2011-Dec-20, 09:00 PM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?I think civilization, as in "living in cities", was a byproduct of agriculture; so you have to ask why agriculture took so long to develop.

Hal37214
2011-Dec-20, 09:23 PM
Seeing that lions are daytime hunters, neither did early hominids.

True that, but I've also observed that my daughter, the university student, seems to be mostly a day-sleeper these days.

Strange
2011-Dec-20, 09:25 PM
I think civilization, as in "living in cities", was a byproduct of agriculture; so you have to ask why agriculture took so long to develop.

That is why I asked what wd40 meant by "civilization"; the literal sense of cities requires a surplus from organized agriculture, a certain level of technology, the right raw materials, etc.

Noclevername
2011-Dec-20, 09:28 PM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?

Why do you assume that fire automatically leads to civilization? There are still hunter-gatherer societies today who have had fire for tens of thousands of years.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-20, 09:29 PM
True that, but I've also observed that my daughter, the university student, seems to be mostly a day-sleeper these days.

Heck, for reasons I cannot explain, we are becoming day-sleepers here. We didn't go to sleep until five AM the other day.

Torsten
2011-Dec-20, 09:38 PM
...surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?

I'd started to write about a number of things in the OP, but really, the points have been made. However, I'd like wd40 to engage on the following:

While there surely is a risk from nocturnal predators, why would you describe the situation as being "surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile"? Did you simply not consider how much light the moon contributes when it's out? The notion of "complete darkness" is generally false.

And to elaborate a bit on the this, a few years ago I was forced by equipment failure to hike about 13-14 km down a snowmobile track on an unplowed, snow covered road in order to get back to my vehicle. The last 8 km were done in darkness: overcast sky, no moon up yet, and the nearest human light source was a lone yard light probably about 30 km away. So it was dark. And yet I managed to do it without a flashlight and without being eaten by a predator.

Humans are not as helpless and unresourceful as your questions often imply. Most of us are savvy about the environment we inhabit. I suspect our ancestors were too.

Torsten
2011-Dec-20, 09:39 PM
Heck, for reasons I cannot explain, we are becoming day-sleepers here. We didn't go to sleep until five AM the other day.

Oh, you party animal, you! :)

slang
2011-Dec-20, 10:21 PM
Ah, but most students don't worry about being dragged off by a lion while they sleep.

Cougars, tho...

Gillianren
2011-Dec-20, 11:04 PM
Oh, you party animal, you! :)

Yup, sitting up until all hours, watching In Treatment or The Mary Tyler Moore Show and reading. Wooooooooo!

Seriously, though, we can have no idea what sleep patterns our ancestors had--sleep doesn't fossilize.

Solfe
2011-Dec-21, 02:59 AM
6-8 hours of sleep is an average. Humans have biphasic sleep, usually two periods a night. In the Middle Ages they actually had names for the two periods. In addition to that, many cultures nap in the afternoon meaning that they can stay up later while requiring less sleep when there is no sun.

I camp a lot. When the sun sets, it isn't very dark when the moon is up. In winter, the effect of the moon is stronger and the desire to make sure the fire is going and you aren't going freeze to death is pretty high.

I suspect that very early man slept in two periods so that usually someone was awake and checking for predators. Once fire and dogs arrived on the scene, I am sure the reasons for activities changed.

Jens
2011-Dec-21, 04:17 AM
People have mentioned looking out for predators, and it kind of got me thinking: how much sense does it make for humans (without guns) to look out for predators? I would think that for the most part, people would be sleeping together near a fire and it would be pretty late once the predator gets anywhere near. It would just be a question of picking up the clubs and swinging them at the bear, and this would take place at a fairly close distance so I wonder if it would really be all that helpful to see the bear at 500 meters or whatever. You couldn't outrun it, especially not in a group. I suppose the rationale for looking out would be a predator that comes into the circle, steals a child, and runs away.

And then also about the initial question, I think one of the activities during the awake period was procreation.

SkepticJ
2011-Dec-21, 08:04 AM
In the Middle Ages they actually had names for the two periods.

And they used the gap between the two to do stuff. Because why not?

Noclevername
2011-Dec-21, 09:24 AM
People have mentioned looking out for predators, and it kind of got me thinking: how much sense does it make for humans (without guns) to look out for predators? I would think that for the most part, people would be sleeping together near a fire and it would be pretty late once the predator gets anywhere near. It would just be a question of picking up the clubs and swinging them at the bear, and this would take place at a fairly close distance so I wonder if it would really be all that helpful to see the bear at 500 meters or whatever. You couldn't outrun it, especially not in a group. I suppose the rationale for looking out would be a predator that comes into the circle, steals a child, and runs away.


Early homo sapiens already had throwing weapons with a longer range than, say, Neanderthal weapons. "Swinging clubs" was hardly their best defense.

Solfe
2011-Dec-21, 12:57 PM
A pack of angry people might scare away predators. Stomping, smashing sticks/clubs and howling would be more effective than actual combat or escape. (Edit - Picture an angry but smaller Silverback.) I would imagine a bear or a lion would not go into a ring of people to pick one off. Wolves on the other hand might. I would think that intimidation would be a key factor in not being attacked.

Mileage definitely varies, I have heard all kinds of things that people should/shouldn't do when under animal attack; stomping, screaming and sticks if I recall correctly all appear on both lists. Do not try this at the zoo.

Jim
2011-Dec-21, 01:51 PM
Even with candles, until modern lighting, most humans since the dawn of civilization 10,000BC, went to bed at nightfall, and woke up at dawn.

How do you know this?


... what did early homo sapiens do during those 4-6 hours of wakefulness surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile?

Someone's been obsessing on the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey.


... why would you describe the situation as being "surrounded by complete darkness and being essentially immobile"? Did you simply not consider how much light the moon contributes when it's out? The notion of "complete darkness" is generally false.

Don't forget the galactic light.


... and without being eaten by a predator.

Good to know. Thanks for the clarification.


... Once fire and dogs arrived on the scene, I am sure the reasons for activities changed.

Dogs may have been the greatest discovery/partnership Man ever made. Dogs started being domesticated about 10-15,000 years ago. It's a wonderfully symbiotic relationship, providing companionship and protection for both.

A bunch of people shouting and stomping their feet may only whet a predator's appetite, but a pack of dogs, growling with teeth bared, can back one down with ease.

tusenfem
2011-Dec-21, 02:09 PM
Cougars, tho...

How about those orange lions?

Strange
2011-Dec-21, 02:09 PM
Dogs started being domesticated about 10-15,000 years ago. It's a wonderfully symbiotic relationship, providing companionship and protection for both.

After which the cats realised they should get in on the act as well. And so they domesticated us.

Swift
2011-Dec-21, 02:12 PM
After which the cats realised they should get in on the act as well. And so they domesticated us.
Cat sleep pattern: sleep, sleep, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, sleep, play, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, eat, sleep, sleep, sleep :D

Torsten
2011-Dec-21, 08:51 PM
Don't forget the galactic light.

Galactic light was part of the story of my walk, and I noticed a really neat thing about night vision described in earlier posts (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/112979-The-most-unusual-thing-you-ve-ever-done-at-the-craziest-hour?p=1857096#post1857096). (Shame on me - I described it as "absolute" darkness there. Oh well, it was in babbling, so I claim dramatic license.)



Good to know. Thanks for the clarification.

Well, I know of several people who have been partly eaten by bears and survived to tell the story, so I don't necessarily take it for granted. :)

PraedSt
2011-Dec-21, 09:04 PM
People have mentioned looking out for predators, and it kind of got me thinking: how much sense does it make for humans (without guns) to look out for predators? I would think that for the most part, people would be sleeping together near a fire and it would be pretty late once the predator gets anywhere near. It would just be a question of picking up the clubs and swinging them at the bear, and this would take place at a fairly close distance so I wonder if it would really be all that helpful to see the bear at 500 meters or whatever. You couldn't outrun it, especially not in a group. I suppose the rationale for looking out would be a predator that comes into the circle, steals a child, and runs away. It's always nice to know what's coming. And predators often abort their attack if they know they've been spotted, especially if the prey is likely to be a pain in the backside.

Hal37214
2011-Dec-21, 09:48 PM
It's always nice to know what's coming. And predators often abort their attack if they know they've been spotted, especially if the prey is likely to be a pain in the backside.

Of course, as my grandfather used to tell me, "The most dangerous animal you can meet in the wild, is another man." I suspect people have been keeping sentry against human threats for almost exactly as long as there have been people.

Delvo
2011-Dec-21, 10:36 PM
Don't forget that the natural state of humans is to be armed; spears were invented before our ancestors could even be called human, so there's never been a human population that lacked them.

Somes J
2011-Dec-26, 03:36 AM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear? Perhaps behaviorally pre-modern humans could manage fire-making, but not civilization?

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-26, 03:55 AM
Civilization requires accumulation of a lot of information, shared collectively by its members.
The amount of information that could be kept was limited by the lack of writing, with a limited about of knowledge only the bits most relevant for survival could be kept, use of fire would be passed on, creating fire (with evidence suggests was invented about 100.000 years after use began) definitely.

Also, the rate of invention was a bit slower before we could afford to have people whose only job it is to think.

JCoyote
2011-Dec-26, 05:15 AM
Even getting hunter-gatherer groups to accept the idea that raising food as opposed to simply finding it was ultimately better likely took many, many generations. Acceptance of, and later reliance on, farming probably took a much larger portion of time than many would assume, especially considering that humans have had spears their entire history making us apex predators the entire time. A lot of groups probably didn't want to feed the people who didn't feel like hunting but wanted to play around with seeds instead. The turn-around for successful hunting is hours, the turn around for successful farming is months or years.

The time spent around the fire probably helped, I believe this is where abstract thinking started up, another piece that, given long gestation times, can lead to culture and civilixation.

swampyankee
2011-Dec-26, 09:56 PM
People have mentioned looking out for predators, and it kind of got me thinking: how much sense does it make for humans (without guns) to look out for predators? I would think that for the most part, people would be sleeping together near a fire and it would be pretty late once the predator gets anywhere near. It would just be a question of picking up the clubs and swinging them at the bear, and this would take place at a fairly close distance so I wonder if it would really be all that helpful to see the bear at 500 meters or whatever. You couldn't outrun it, especially not in a group. I suppose the rationale for looking out would be a predator that comes into the circle, steals a child, and runs away.

And then also about the initial question, I think one of the activities during the awake period was procreation.

Remember, most predators want easy kills. There appears to be some anecdotal evidence that people wearing masks that look like faces on the backs of their heads are attacked less often by tigers than those who don't, so just being up and paying attention would deter many predators. Add spears? Gee, they're already rotissery-ready!

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-27, 07:50 AM
Part of the reason for the Neolithic Transformation (as they were calling it back when I took Anthropology 102) was climate change forcing people to adapt to more arid circumstances. Perhaps this brought grasses to them, perhaps it happened right at the right time that people were expanding into areas with farmable plants and general populations were high enough that trade was being established, including trade in foods that weren't as perishable (grains as opposed to fruits and veggies).

As for sleeping, why would we assume that people didn't post guards who alternately kept watch and slept.

As for predators, a lot of them probably learned from experience that humans and even earlier hominids were dangerous and unpredictable, especially since humans don't generally act like prey animals (even less so then than today). They would be wary and they would not teach their offspring to seek us out. Since humans were probably skinny back then, they were mostly skin and bones with some tough meat instead of being plump with protein and calorie-rich fat deposits anyways. Even if they didn't try to predate humans, most predators are scavengers and those that tried to steal a kill by a group of humans might find themselves unsuccessful and injured for their trouble. Add to that that humans were also scavengers and a hungry pack of humans with weapons might successfully take on a predator defending its own kill and steal their meat, and the animals would be very cautious around us. In addition, they may not like the smell of human encampments with our middens, and humans might have been erecting dead animal carcasses as warnings and some predators might have been smart enough to get the message that humans can kill members of that animal's own species. (I'm not sure about land animals, but sharks have a very averse reaction to the scent of the death of one of their own kind.) With our own less acute sense of smell, we wouldn't mind the same level of stench that might put off other animals.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-27, 11:42 AM
..., and humans might have been erecting dead animal carcasses as warnings and some predators might have been smart enough to get the message that humans can kill members of that animal's own species. (I'm not sure about land animals, but sharks have a very averse reaction to the scent of the death of one of their own kind.) With our own less acute sense of smell, we wouldn't mind the same level of stench that might put off other animals.
That would just attract even more scavengers.
They aren't that smart and most have no qualms about eating their own dead.

swampyankee
2011-Dec-27, 12:30 PM
Of course, as my grandfather used to tell me, "The most dangerous animal you can meet in the wild, is another man." I suspect people have been keeping sentry against human threats for almost exactly as long as there have been people.

I've read a couple of books (how reliable, I'm not sure) which state that homicides were very common in hunter-gatherer societies, usually between, as opposed to within groups. iirc, the statistic given was that about 50% of adult males were victims of homicide.

skep155
2011-Dec-27, 01:31 PM
I've read a couple of books (how reliable, I'm not sure) which state that homicides were very common in hunter-gatherer societies, usually between, as opposed to within groups. iirc, the statistic given was that about 50% of adult males were victims of homicide.

Indeed, I've also read that homicide was unusually common among hunter gatherer societies in the 20th century. According to these articles tribal warfare was also common, with around 90% of tribes going to war at least once a year.

http://www.economist.com/node/10278703

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17255-ancient-warfare-fighting-for-the-greater-good.html


In ancient graves excavated previously, Bowles found that up to 46 per cent of the skeletons from 15 different locations around the world showed signs of a violent death. More recently, war inflicted 30 per cent of deaths among the Ache, a hunter-gatherer population from Eastern Paraguay, 17 per cent among the Hiwi, who live in Venezuela and Colombia, while just 4 per cent among the Anbara in northern Australia.

I'd say that people kept watch around the campfire to prevent the "neighboring" tribe from launching a surprise attack as much as they did to prevent attacks by predators.

swampyankee
2011-Dec-27, 02:24 PM
Indeed, I've also read that homicide was unusually common among hunter gatherer societies in the 20th century. According to these articles tribal warfare was also common, with around 90% of tribes going to war at least once a year.

http://www.economist.com/node/10278703

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17255-ancient-warfare-fighting-for-the-greater-good.html



I'd say that people kept watch around the campfire to prevent the "neighboring" tribe from launching a surprise attack as much as they did to prevent attacks by predators.

Just a different species of predator. Some of the attacks may have been to get unrelated women, too. People would have two reasons: food and sex. Of course, removing a neighboring tribe's reproductive potential would be a good method for eliminating them as a threat.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-27, 08:22 PM
That would just attract even more scavengers.
They aren't that smart and most have no qualms about eating their own dead.I don't mean edible carcasses but decayed carcasses, skin and bones unless they used all of that material in their technology.

Noclevername
2011-Dec-27, 08:47 PM
I don't mean edible carcasses but decayed carcasses, skin and bones unless they used all of that material in their technology.

"Waste nothing" is the motto of hunter-gatherer societies the world around. They eat everything remotely edible, use the skin and break open the bones for marrow. As for decayed things they might run across, the ability of most scavenger species to eat something is not limited to fresh, unspoiled meat. Something will be there to eat it. Not to mention that animals are not good enough at abstract symbolic thought to figure out the meaning of the warnings.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-29, 10:16 PM
"Waste nothing" is the motto of hunter-gatherer societies the world around. They eat everything remotely edible, use the skin and break open the bones for marrow. As for decayed things they might run across, the ability of most scavenger species to eat something is not limited to fresh, unspoiled meat. Something will be there to eat it. Not to mention that animals are not good enough at abstract symbolic thought to figure out the meaning of the warnings.Elephants recognize their dead.

cjameshuff
2011-Dec-29, 10:49 PM
Elephants recognize their dead.

And are unusual and notable for doing so. And other things don't care one bit if a pile of decaying meat or bunch of bones used to be an elephant or an individual of their own species.

Strewing dead things around is not going to repel wild animals, it's going to attract them...scavengers looking to feed on anything left in the remains and predators that feed on the scavengers. Its only use would be as a distinguishing marker for other humans.

Cobra1597
2011-Dec-29, 10:51 PM
Sounds like there were bonfires and firebrands being sparked up all over the savannah right from humanity's very inception. With fire having been harnesed so far back, why did it take so very very long for civilization to appear?

Others have asked you to define civilization, but I'd like you to define "humanity's inception." If you please, can you tell us and support what you believe to be the singular moment of humanity's inception?

Otherwise, how can we define it being a very long time until civilization?

djellison
2011-Dec-29, 11:22 PM
I really wish WD40 would come out and tell us his big picture as clearly his manifold threads have some underlying theme.

Regardless - I fail to see why this would be any different to, say, the sleep patterns of Gorillas or Orangutans today. We are primates, and other primates in a 'pre civilization' state happily go to bed, go to sleep, etc etc.

Ara Pacis
2011-Dec-29, 11:58 PM
And are unusual and notable for doing so. And other things don't care one bit if a pile of decaying meat or bunch of bones used to be an elephant or an individual of their own species.

Strewing dead things around is not going to repel wild animals, it's going to attract them...scavengers looking to feed on anything left in the remains and predators that feed on the scavengers. Its only use would be as a distinguishing marker for other humans.Maybe you're right, I was assuming predators would make a distinction between fresh kills and completely rotten funk.

swampyankee
2011-Dec-30, 02:47 AM
Maybe you're right, I was assuming predators would make a distinction between fresh kills and completely rotten funk.

They do. Some scavengers prefer their food to be a bit riper than others, but the meat won't be instantly rank.

cjameshuff
2011-Dec-30, 04:47 AM
Maybe you're right, I was assuming predators would make a distinction between fresh kills and completely rotten funk.

Many scavengers feed from carcasses in advanced states of putrefaction, even relying on this to soften their food and make it more accessible (as well as using the smell to locate the food in the first place). Even old, dry skin and bones constitute useful food for various rodents and other small mammals (and insects that more small animals eat), which themselves are attractive prey. Not all predators require fresh kills, and those that do won't be greatly disturbed by dead animals or animal parts lying around, they're just unlikely to try eating them (they may in fact roll around on a particularly pungent carcass to pick up the smell, disguising their own smell...canines are known for this behavior). Leaving butchering scraps or unused carcasses around will just attract animals, not repel them.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-30, 05:16 AM
And of course there's more than one species of scavenger, so even if leaving the corpse of, say, a jackal kept away jackals, it wouldn't keep away, say, hyenas.