Year 5, Day 85

Lioness, MorguefileThis year it is much clearer why the People do not stay here permanently.

Last year the final group hunt was highly successful, and I had to modify the heat pump to keep some of the excess meat frozen. As a result, the fish from the lake and Giraffe’s hunting with Patches were more than enough to keep us fed.

This year the final hunt brought in almost nothing, and the group dispersed early.

I followed one of their hunts, mostly flying over them, and for the first time realized that their upright stance, together with their ability to sweat freely, actually helps them hunt. Not just ability to wield spears, not just being able to see farther, but endurance.

Ever watch a four-legged animal run? They contract and stretch their bodies, and pump their lungs in the process. Breathing speed is tied to running speed. That’s not true for two-legged runners, and while two legs are not as fast as four, they can keep going a lot longer. I wonder if my own race evolved an upright stance for the same reason?

The People need a group with at least one expert tracker to keep after a single animal until it is tired, which is why Giraffe by himself cannot keep us fed. With Patches, he is able to keep track of a single animal and wear it down, and Patches is also good at picking the weakest of a group to follow. But it is Giraffe’s ability to run for hours, carrying water to avoid dehydrating himself, that allows him to chase an animal to exhaustion.

All of this, of course, assumes that there is an animal to chase down, and right now there isn’t. Luckily I can teleport to areas where game is plentiful, find a pride of lions hunting (usually at night) and teleport a quarter of zebra or wildebeest away from them once they’ve made a kill. With the modified heat pump, I can freeze the meat and only have to “hunt” about once each two fivedays. I still have too much empathy for the prey animal to make a kill myself, but we are eating quite well – well enough that I think I can resume my mapping.

Jarn’s Journal is a fictional journal of a fictional human-like alien stranded on Earth about 125,000 years ago. The entire Journal to date can be found at my Author site.

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