Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is the cognitive work of science grounded in tracking?

That's what Louis Liebenberg argues, and he's got a variety of publications and materials at Cybertracker. Here's the associated blog. Here's a blurb for his book, The Origin of Science, which you can download for free:
The Origin of Science addresses one of the great mysteries of human evolution: How did the human mind evolve the ability to develop science?

The art of tracking may well be the origin of science. Science may have evolved more than a hundred thousand years ago with the evolution of modern hunter-gatherers. Scientific reasoning may therefore be an innate ability of the human mind.

The implication of this theory is that anyone, regardless of their level of education, whether or not they can read or write, regardless of their cultural background, can make a contribution to science.

Kalahari trackers have been employed in modern scientific research using GPS-enabled handheld computers and have co-authored scientific papers.

Citizen scientists have made fundamental contributions to science. From a simple observation of a bird captured on a smart phone through to a potential Einstein, some may be better than others, but everyone can participate in science.
And here's a citizen science page.

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What it feels like tracking an animal to run it down (push it to exhaustion):
As we followed the tracks I could visualise the whole event unfolding in front of me. The kudu started to show signs of hyperthermia. It was kicking up sand and its stride was getting shorter. As it ran from shade to shade, the distances between its resting periods became shorter and shorter. In visualising the kudu I projected myself into its situation. Concentrating on the spoor I was so caught up in the event that I was completely unaware of my own state of exhaustion. As if in an almost trance-like state I could not only see how the kudu was leaping from one set of tracks to the next, but in my body I could actually feel how the kudu was moving. In a sense it felt as if I myself actually became the kudu, as if I myself was leaping from one set of tracks to the next.

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