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The city dweller may find it difficult to appreciate the subtlety and refinement of the tracker’s perception of signs. In cities, “signs” (such as in advertising, clothing, noise, etc.) all compete with each other for one’s attention in an artificial environment. This results in a blunting of the senses, so people lose their sensitivity to their environment.
In contrast, animals in nature have evolved to be inconspicuous and tracks and signs are all very subtle, so the tracker must develop a sensitivity to the environment. The tracker’s ability to recognize and interpret natural signs may therefore seem quite uncanny to the uninitiated city dweller.
The art of tracking involves each and every sign of animal presence that can be found in nature, including scent, feeding signs, urine, faeces, saliva, pellets, territorial signs, paths and shelters, vocal and other auditory signs, visual signs, incidental signs, circumstantial signs and skeletal signs. Tracks are not confined to living creatures.
Leaves and twigs rolling in the wind, long grass sweeping the ground or dislodged stones rolling down a steep slope leaves their distinctive signs.”
-The Origin of Science, pg. 61, The Evolutionary Roots of Scientific Reasoning and its Implications for Citizen Science, Louis Liebenberg
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Have a wonderful weekend, all.
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