Friday, December 31, 2021

How Walking Can Keep Your Brain in Shape



I will go further.  Walking engages your automatic nervous system allowing your cognitive mind to disengage and then focus of a deep problem at hand.

such practice naturally strenghtens your general cognitive abilities.


so yes, do take hikes that are repetative.  Walk a mile to a store tbhrough your neighborhood. Zero threat environment.



How Walking Can Keep Your Brain in Shape


FEBRUARY 16, 2019

https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/how-walking-can-keep-your-brain-in-shape/



A brisk walk is more than just a great cardio workout; it benefits the brain, too. According to new research published in the journal Neurology, walking increases blood flow to the brain, which can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Researchers followed 160 older adults who showed evidence of cognitive decline (but not dementia) and found participating in aerobic exercises like walking for at least 30 minutes three times per week helped improve their cognitive abilities.

HOW WALKING KEEPS YOUR BRAIN FIT

Study co-author James A. Blumenthal, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center notes that exercise could help increase brain volume and blood flow, which appear to have an impact on the executive functions of the brain, including attention span, focus and memory. “More active or physically fit individuals perform better on tasks involving executive functioning compared to sedentary ones,” says Blumenthal.

HOW DISTANCE AND SPEED PLAY A ROLE

Some additional research found walking five miles per week had a protective effect on the structure of the brain during the decade-long study. In particular, older adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease had slower decline in memory loss over five years compared to those who walked less.

Moreover, a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found a link between walking speed and cognitive function. Those who walked at a speed of less than 5 kilometers (3 miles) per hour were considered at risk of developing dementia later in life.

“From a biological perspective, there are several mechanisms we think could explain the link,” says Ruth Hackett, PhD, research fellow at University College London. “Walking and cognition rely on similar brain regions, mainly in the prefrontal cortices [and], considering this overlap, it is plausible that a slowing of walking speed is a marker of decline in these brain areas.”

THE BOTTOM LINE

It’s never too late to start a walking program in the hope of warding off cognitive decline, says Blumenthal. “[Walking] is a simple, cost-effective way to reduce long-term health risks,” Hackett adds. “You can try and add more walking into your day-to-day life by doing things such as getting off the train or bus a stop early, taking the stairs instead of the [elevator] and briskly walking short distances instead of driving. Engaging in aerobic and resistance forms of exercise not only helps improve physical health, but they can also improve cognitive function.”

Possible Sasquatch Evidence Discovered During Vancouver Island Hike

a


Certainly this is a run of the mill track discovery.  Understand that we now easily have over 20,000 eyewitness reports on the Sasquatch.

why it is interesting is that conditions are well described.  No human beibg can wade through any of this vegetaion described at all.  Been there and have done that.

A thick coat of fur is the minimum requirement.  Throughout the coast, access must be cut through.  Also these are not vines you can push aside.  They are thick and tough and covered with long thorns.  We have blackberries out East, but hte west coast variety are  beyond robust.  You will never kick through any of this unless you are a Sasquatch.
.


Possible Sasquatch Evidence Discovered During Vancouver Island Hike


Sunday, December 26, 2021


A Canadian hiker is on Vancouver Island with his father when he discovers a curious huge fresh foot print that seemed to suggest that it was not human. Could it be a Sasquatch?

The following account was recently forwarded to me:

"I was hiking with my Dad in late September 2018 on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, which is usually when bears are fattening up for hibernation and most likely to be aggressive. Since we were a couple days walk from either trailhead (and medical attention) we were on high alert. It had rained constantly and we had only seen a single other hiker the whole time, he was traveling in the opposite direction as we were (he was heading North we were South bound) and we had camped beside him 2 nights prior. So for the whole trip the only tracks that we saw that looked remotely fresh were a single set of hiking boots coming towards us left by a pleasant and solitary German tourist and we only saw them in places with extensive overhead cover. All other tracks were washed out and filled with rain water due to the days and days of constant rain that was doing the best it could to fuck up our vacation and make our packs even heavier.

We were approaching a blackberry patch between ridges that hugged a small creek and smelled what we thought was a particularly stinky bear. Since the blackberries were on both sides of the trail with only about 3 metres between them, we had our heads on a swivel. There was no overhanging trees as this particular berry patch was dozens of metres across and two or more metres high. My Dad told me to hurry through as quick as we could and made a comment about how smart it was that we were wearing bear bells and how dangerous it is to startle a feeding bear. He was a couple metres ahead of me when I looked down and saw a footprint.

It looked like a bare human footprint, except that it was two inches wider and at least two inches longer than mine, and I have size 14 feet. It also had dermal ridges and only had a couple rain drops in it. So whatever made it had stepped there literally moments before. The scariest thing about it was that there was no other prints, so whatever had made that track had stepped out of the eastern side of the berry patch across the trail (3 metres) and into the western patch in a single step. I was so startled. I looked around as much as I could before my Dad told me to, "hurry the f*ck up." That was the only track there that wasn't now a small puddle, so before you discount it as a double stepping bear paw print (where a bear's back paw steps into the print of it's front paw) there is no way a black bear could have crossed that 3 metre distance without leaving more prints. Say what you want about bears, they are not at all graceful. There are also no Grizzlies on the Island, and a cougar wouldn't have left a print that looked anything like that, even if it stepped in it's own track.

It also couldn't have been a hoax because a person couldn't just stand in the berry patch with a pole with a footprint on it as they would be "interacting" with bears on a dangerously consistent basis. Also, why would someone sit in a berry patch in the relentless west coast rain in the hopes of pranking people that might not pass by for days? It doesn't really make sense to go to that much effort, risk that much danger and basically swim in a lacerating blackberry bush for multiple days.

I didn't believe in Sasquatch before that, but now I don't know what to believe. I was a service plumber for years and that smell is still in my top five worst smells of all time. And I will never forget the image of the rain drops hitting that fresh track, as I stared in disbelief." MS

Ghislaine Maxwell convicted in Epstein sex abuse case


What Ghislaine lacks is any form of plausible deniability regarding her activities with Jeffery Epstein.  She now goes down for many years to jail when she as one of the few who magically avoid that fate.


It also means that Biden is not the actually president.  We know that of course, but for those who still think otherwise, just how is it he is allowing this to happen?

A lot more to come of course.  After all, there are over 500,000 now unsealed indictments and military tribunals are happening in DC and Gitmo.

Full disclosure cannot be far away.


Ghislaine Maxwell convicted in Epstein sex abuse case

TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER

Wed, December 29, 2021, 8:16 AM·6 min 



NEW YORK (AP) — The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted Wednesday of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

The verdict capped a monthlong trial featuring sordid accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14, told by four women who described being abused as teens in the 1990s and early 2000s at Epstein’s palatial homes in Florida, New York and New Mexico.

Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of five of six counts. With the maximum prison terms for each charge ranging from five to 40 years in prison, Maxwell faces the likelihood of years behind bars — an outcome long sought by women who spent years fighting in civil courts to hold her accountable for her role in recruiting and grooming Epstein’s teenage victims and sometimes joining in the sexual abuse.

As the verdict was read, Maxwell was largely stoic behind a black mask. Afterward, she could be seen pouring herself water as one of her attorneys patted her back. She stood with her hands folded as the jury filed out, and glanced at her siblings — faithfully in attendance each day of the trial — as she herself was led from the courtroom. She did not hug her lawyers on the way out, a marked change from previous days during which Maxwell and her team were often physically affectionate with one another.

No sentencing date was set.

The defense had insisted Maxwell was a victim of a vindictive prosecution devised to deliver justice to women deprived of their main villain when Epstein killed himself while awaiting trial in 2019.

During the trial, prosecutors called 24 witnesses to give jurors a picture of life inside Epstein’s homes — a subject of public fascination and speculation ever since his 2006 arrest in Florida in a child sex case.

A housekeeper testified he was expected to be “blind, deaf and dumb” about the private lives of Epstein, a financier who cultivated friendships with influential politicians and business tycoons, and Maxwell, who had led a jet-setting lifestyle as the favorite child of a media mogul.

Pilots took the witness stand and dropped the names of luminaries — Britain’s Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump — who flew on Epstein’s private jets.

Jurors saw physical evidence like a folding massage table once used by Epstein and a “black book” that listed contact information for some of the victims under the heading “massages.”

There were bank records showing he had transferred $30.7 million to Maxwell, his longtime companion — onetime girlfriend, later employee.

But the core of the prosecution was the testimony of four women who said they were victimized by Maxwell and Epstein at tender ages.

Three testified using first names or pseudonyms to protect their privacy: Jane, a television actress; Kate, a former model from Great Britain; and Carolyn, now a mom recovering from drug addiction. The fourth, psychologist Annie Farmer, chose to use her real name after being vocal about her allegations in recent years.

They echoed one another in their descriptions of Maxwell’s behavior: She used charm and gifts to gain their trust, taking an interest in their adolescent challenges and giving them assurances that Epstein could use his wealth and connections to fulfill their dreams.

They said the script would darken when Maxwell coaxed them into giving massages to Epstein that turned sexual, encounters she played off as normal: After one sexual massage, Kate, then 17, said Maxwell asked her if she’d had fun and told her: “You are such a good girl.”

Carolyn testified that she was one of several underprivileged teens who lived near Epstein’s Florida home in the early 2000s and took up an offer to give massages in exchange for $100 bills, which prosecutors described as “a pyramid of abuse.”

Maxwell made all the arrangements, Carolyn told the jury, even though she knew the girl was only 14 at the time.

Jane said in 1994, when she was only 14, she was instructed to follow Epstein into a pool house at the Palm Beach estate, where he masturbated on her.

Two charges, including the lone count on which Maxwell was acquitted, applied only to Jane.

“I was frozen in fear,” she told the jury, adding that assault was the first time she had ever seen a penis. She also directly accused Maxwell of participating in her abuse.

Maxwell’s lawyer asked Jane why it had taken so long to come forward.

“I was scared,” she said, choking back tears. “I was embarrassed, ashamed. I didn’t want anybody to know any of this about me.”

The last to testify, Farmer described how Maxwell touched her breasts while giving her a massage at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch and how Epstein unexpectedly crawled into bed and pressed himself against her.

Maxwell, who turned 60 on Christmas, vehemently denied the charges through her lawyers.

Still, she declined to take the risk of testifying, telling the judge: “The government has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt so there is no reason for me to testify.”

“The charges against Ghislaine Maxwell are for things that Jeffrey Epstein did,” one of Maxwell’s lawyers, Bobbi Sternheim, emphasized to the jury. “But she is not Jeffrey Epstein and she is not like Jeffrey Epstein.”

Maxwell’s legal team questioned whether the accusers’ memories were faulty, or had been influenced by lawyers seeking big payouts from Maxwell and from Epstein’s estate in civil court. During their two-day presentation, they called as a witness Elizabeth Loftus, a professor who has testified as a memory expert for defense lawyers at about 300 trials, including the rape trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Maxwell’s family complained she was under duress from harsh conditions at the Brooklyn jail where she’s been held since her arrest in July 2020. She had repeatedly, and futilely, sought bail, arguing that she was unable to adequately contribute to her defense.

Before Maxwell was taken from the courtroom, Sternheim asked that arrangements be made to give her a coronavirus booster shot, saying infection rates were rising dramatically at the lockup. The recent surge threatened to derail the trial itself as U.S. District Court Judge Alison J. Nathan prodded jurors to work quickly to avoid the potential of a mistrial caused by sickened jurors.

The legal fights involving Epstein and Maxwell are not over.

Maxwell still awaits trial on two counts of perjury.

Lawsuits loom, including one in which a woman not involved in the trial, Virginia Giuffre, says she was coerced into sexual encounters with Prince Andrew when she was 17. Andrew has denied her account and that lawsuit is not expected to come to trial for many months.

How to rest well




I do think that we sleep too much and rest too little for fear of falling asleep.  It takes fifteen minutes to drop into the theta state of rest.  sustaining that for much longer than fifteen minutes is hard.  Coasting for another thirty is likely good enough to perhaps hit a deep sleep as well.  deep sleep likely lasts way too long.

what is clear is that a deep plunge for even fifteen minutes makes you fully rejuvenated and this should be an objective.

Now imagine a four hour sleep cycle for night and perhaps two half hour deep meditation cycles through the day six or so hours apart.  Our problem is to optimize all this and to actually impliment it all.  This is going to actually take technology. It will be very valuable abd every one on earth will have it as part of his cell phone system.


How to rest well

Taking a break isn’t lazy – learning to recharge is a skill that will allow you to enjoy a more creative, sustainable life

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Woman Resting (c1942) by Lilian Westcott Hale. Courtesy the Florence Griswold Museum



Alex Soojung-Kim Pangis the founder of Strategy and Rest, a Silicon Valley-based consulting company that helps companies design and implement four-day working weeks. His books The Distraction Addiction (2013), Rest (2018) and Shorter (2020) have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He has a PhD in history of science and lives in California.


https://psyche.co/guides/how-to-rest-well-and-enjoy-a-more-creative-sustainable-life?ref=refind

Attitudes to rest have changed

Downtime is undervalued in today’s busy, always-on world. But for most of human history, rest – time in which we can recharge the mental and physical batteries we use while labouring – was prized as a gift. To Aristotle, work was drudgery and necessity; only in leisure could we cultivate our mental and moral abilities, and become better people. In The Sabbath (1951), Rabbi Abraham Heschel argued that, in Judaism, this day of rest was more than just a pause in the week, it was a ‘palace in time … made of soul, of joy and reticence’. Even for the less philosophically inclined, leisure provided the time and freedom to do what they loved. When George Washington retired from public life in 1759, he threw himself into building and maintaining Mount Vernon, an enterprise that, according to the historian William Abbot, ‘had on him a stronger and more enduring hold than did either war or politics’.

Today, though, it’s become commonplace to think of work and rest as opposites. Work is active and valuable: it’s where we prove our worth and create a legacy. Popular books such as What You Do Is Who You Are (2019) by the venture capitalist Ben Horowitz carry the implication that being and doing are synonymous. Busyness is a badge of honour, even a sign of moral superiority. Rest, in contrast, is often treated as if it’s passive and pointless. Indeed, I’ve noticed many people hardly think of rest as its own thing. It’s just a negative space defined by the absence of work.

The importance of rest

Rest is as essential to a good life, and a productive career, as work. Overwork is bad for individuals and organisations: a long period without adequate rest burns people out and wrecks company productivity. A deep dive into the lives of history’s most accomplished scientists, writers and even generals reveals that they laboured far fewer hours than do many people in today’s industrialised Western societies, and they crafted daily routines that balanced periods of intensive labour with downtime.

In his book The Use of Life (1895), the Victorian author John Lubbock wrote:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summers day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.

Lubbock spoke from experience. He himself was an innovator in the world of finance, a noted archaeologist (he coined the terms Neolithic and Palaeolithic, and used his wealth to save the ancient stone circle at Avebury), and a political reformer who led the campaign for bank holidays; yet he found time to retreat to his family estate at Downe in Kent, where he spent time playing cricket, entertaining friends, and talking about natural history with his next door neighbour Charles Darwin.


Recent work in neuroscience and psychology supports this approach to rest, showing how it allows us to recharge and stimulate our creativity, and gives us the mental space to cultivate new insights, and even helps us have longer, more sustainable creative lives. Moreover, studies show that good rest is not idleness. The most restorative forms of rest are active, not passive. Further, rest is a skill: with practice, you can learn to get better at it, and to get more out of it.

So I believe we should not regard work and rest as opposites, but partners. Each supports and justifies the other. Each provides things that every person needs. You won’t fully flourish unless you master both work and rest.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Reweaving the wild




Short term we do need to pay attention and make sure the wild is far better served.  Paying attention is likely good enough because ample bridges are used along with culverts and just making sure animals can easily use them is a great start.

Long term all heavy trucking can be replaced by heavier than air airships able to operate point to point.  We can do this now and we can even divert rail traffice this way.  The weight issue is one hundred tons and the airships are drone operated.

For personal travel we will see the advent of the gravity car ala Star Wars allowing safe travel a foot above the ground along with capacity to surge up and over.  All main roadbeds can then be come grass ways and even be farmed as well.  Not point to point but close enough.

All this frees up hte wild hugely.

Reweaving the wild

Human roads have utterly fragmented the world of wild animals but the engineering to reconnect the pieces is in our grasp


An aerial view of a green bridge in Girona, Spain, allowing wildlife to safely traverse the main road. Photo by Artur Debat/Getty


is professor emeritus of ecology at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. His books include The Birds at My Table: Why We Feed Wild Birds and Why It Matters (2018) and A Clouded Leopard in the Middle of the Road New Thinking about Roads, People, and Wildlife (forthcoming in 2022). He lives in Brisbane.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-to-fix-the-disaster-of-human-roads-to-benefit-wildlife?


It is almost certain that you recently interacted closely with an invisible giant, as the Harvard landscape ecologist Richard T T Forman has described it. Others have called roads ‘the single most destructive element in the process of habitat fragmentation’, declaring that ‘Few forces have been more influential in modifying the Earth than transportation.’ Yet you probably didn’t even notice. An expansive feature that snaps the globe but is effectively invisible: the vast network of transportation infrastructure – all the railways, canals but also, most significantly, roads. Roads are everywhere, forming an almost inconceivably complex system, an endless, ever-expanding, interconnected grid that facilitates the movement and exchange of people and goods over vast areas. This colossal structure is probably the greatest ever cultural artefact, a requirement and precondition for human development. For us, roads are essential connectors, linking places and purpose. But almost everywhere these networks have been imposed with scant regard for the landscape in which they occur.

Despite its extraordinary scale, this vast, inescapable, indispensable network is largely ignored. As we hurtle between the places where we live, shop, learn and play, the road on which we travel is unlikely to cross our minds. (The traffic we encounter is, of course, another matter.) We are even less likely to conceive of the road on which we are travelling as a component of the huge, sprawling web made up of all the roads spreading out over regions and the entire continent.

If we conceive of a road at all, it is most likely as a trip taking the shortest distance from A to B as displayed by a map app on a smartphone. Much harder to envision is the network of interconnected roads, a literal web, sometimes densely meshed in places where many people live, sometimes in diffuse bands that skirt around areas of difficult terrain where human presence is low. It is not only the most efficient connection for people we should consider, of course, but also the resulting subdivision of the landscape into pieces – fragments – of land bounded on all sides by roads. These pieces may be city blocks, farms or national parks but they are all, to some extent, circumscribed by the surrounding roads and the traffic these carry. Unsurprisingly, there are strong and obvious relationships between the density of humans and the density of roads. This is most evident in small countries with large populations. The Netherlands, for instance, compact and crowded, has a road density of 1.55 km (0.96 miles) of road per square kilometre. However, even in a country as apparently spacious as the continental United States, there is almost nowhere more than a few miles from a paved road.

Why might this matter? Imagine any large animal, a deer or wolf perhaps, that needs to travel for any typical but compelling reason: finding food, seeking a mate, regular migration. Wherever it lives, wherever it moves, sooner or later it will come upon a road. What happens next will depend on a lot of different factors. It may travel this route regularly and be quite familiar with the abrupt change in the landscape. Or it may have never encountered a road before. It may even be attracted to the roadside to graze on the grass, sample the edible trash or scavenge the dead animals found alongside. On the other hand, the noise or lights of the traffic may be so disturbing that the animal retreats as far away as possible. The animal may cross if there are no vehicles, or inexplicably wander straight into the traffic. It may be sufficiently motivated to cross despite the risk or, having learned to judge what are safe intervals between moving vehicles, it may delay crossing until the quietest parts of the night. All of these responses are happening almost everywhere every day.

Crossing a road with traffic is often dangerous for wildlife, especially for slower, ground-dwellers. Collisions with vehicles almost always lead to the death or serious injury of the animal, and the numbers involved are almost unbelievable. For example, about a million individuals of all species are killed every day on the roads of the US. In North America overall, the cumulative scale of all this roadkill now surpasses hunting as the main cause of death in larger species. It is now regarded by researchers as an ‘evolutionary novel threat’. While some types of mammals such as deer (being much more conspicuous) dominate the statistics, the numbers of smaller, less obvious groups such as birds and amphibians are enormous.

Of course, not every road is dangerous. Some have very little traffic or virtually none at night. Certain species have learned to avoid vehicles and cross when it is safe. And even shockingly large roadkill tolls do not mean that a species or local population is imperilled. Having a lot of visible roadkill may simply indicate that the species is plentiful in the area. Certainly, the enormous number of white-tailed deer in North America or roe deer in Europe killed through collisions with vehicles has had a negligible impact on their abundance. There is, however, powerful evidence that collisions with vehicles can drive species to the point of extinction. Infamously, during the 1980s, around 10 per cent of the entire Florida panther population of was killed annually. In Tasmania, a simple road upgrade led to the elimination of a rare marsupial carnivore.

While the sight of dead animals along the roadside is troubling, other influences may be far more important. For many species, it is not the traffic that is the problem: it is the road and the associated space that matters. In extreme cases, some animals – small forest-dwelling birds or rodents, for example – simply will not cross even a small road, whether cars are present or not. For these species, the gap may be a complete barrier to their movement. This so-called ‘barrier effect’ is one the most significant discoveries made recently by scientists studying roads.

These insights have added a new and alarming dimension to our understanding of the way habitat destruction impacts biodiversity. The cumulative effect is that, piece by piece, what was once a continuous natural landscape has been relentlessly subdivided and separated into increasingly smaller patches. At its most pronounced, the resulting landscape becomes a series of discrete islands, each isolated from one another by the surrounding ‘sea’ of entirely different, often hostile, environments.

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The challenges are daunting and impossibly complex, but the fledgling hybrid fields of road and landscape ecology offer realistic hope: ‘Perhaps just in time,’ Forman wrote in Road Ecology (2002), ‘a solution appears to lie before us. Its underlying foundations include knowledge in transportation, hydrology, wildlife biology, plant ecology, population ecology, soil science, water chemistry, aquatic biology, and fisheries.’ Fitting these fields together should lead to a science bulging with useful applications.

These words, written 20 years ago, have proven remarkably prescient. Sure, roads continue to dissect and isolate, bringing degradation into some of the remotest places on the planet. But in places as diverse as Borneo and Brazil, India and Idaho, unexpected allies are coming together to find ways to rejoin long-severed fragments and provide safe ways for all manner of creatures to cross.

It is early morning, and a ghostly mist is rising above a meadow of thin grass. It is cool, damp and clear. A lapwing calls urgently from somewhere above, abruptly splitting the quiet. A pair of roe deer, grey silhouettes on the edge of the dark forest, raise their heads quickly but soon resume their grazing. A lone bat flitters past, then calm returns.

We are slowly walking through wet grass on the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, where the never-ending cars and trucks moving along the massive highway (the E34/A67) connecting Eindhoven in southern Holland with Antwerp in Flanders generate a constant hum. Although there is nothing tangible to indicate an international boundary, this region is one of the most ecologically fragmented landscapes in the world, the result of millennia of intensive farming, logging and innumerable conflicts, including the catastrophic impacts of two world wars. In this particular spot, numerous important species and ecosystems, all of them highly susceptible to human disturbance and several threatened with extinction, still occur in hopeful numbers.

This is possibly as perfect a place as anywhere to stoically consider and then reengineer the uneasy embrace between human actions and the natural world. The rising sun has dissipated most of the mist as we walk slowly up a steady slope onto a broad flat expanse of rough grass and bare sandy substrate. I had assumed that these open areas were temporarily bare, eventually to be planted with shrubs and trees, but soon learned that this barren appearance was intentional. One of the most significant species found here, the smooth snake, prefers open sandy habitats, and these long, bare strips are managed intensively to keep them this way; the snakes thrive under the exposed skies. On the vast sweeping slopes to the south, the sandy strips transitioned into what would eventually become dry acidophilus oak woods, suitable for honey buzzards and black woodpeckers. Finally, a strange grated doorway, hidden in a steep-side ravine, indicates the entrance to a damp underground concrete maze designed for Geoffroy’s bat, another significant local species.

From Sweden to Romania, animals from salamanders to the resurgent brown bears are crossing busy roads safely

We continue walking, past rows of exposed and upended tree roots and smashed trunks (habitat for reptiles and small mammals), then down steeply, our feet leaving marks in the sand. A series of small impoundments have been installed at the base of the slope to capture runoff and provide breeding places for amphibians. As we round the corner of the long sweeping wing, an overpass designed especially for wildlife – known as an ‘ecoduct’ in Europe – comes into view. A massive bridge-like structure extends above the road and continues far beyond the edge of the motorway, providing a broad space on either side of the road. The shape of the vast curving wings that sweep sinuously on either side were inspired by the undulating patterns left by sand snakes in the loose substrate.The structure of the Ecoduct Kempengrens incorporates design for the broad range of fauna expected to use it. Photo courtesy the Willemen group

Viewed from the side of the road, it was finally possible to take in the grandeur and colossal size of this structure. Known as the Ecoduct Kempengrens­ (meaning ‘on the border of open fields’), this is an astonishing construction. It is 60 metres (65 yards) wide at the top, and stretches out to 200 metres (220 yards) at the bottom of the sweeping slopes. Directly above the road, the weight of reinforcements alone for the soil-covered bridge is 1,325 tonnes (1,460 US tons). It is one of the most sophisticated and ecologically accomplished wildlife crossing structures ever designed. Already, numerous species of bat and more than 15 mammals have been detected using the structure.

In some ways, the structure’s most extraordinary achievement has been cooperation between people from the jurisdictions on either side of the border. Despite the very different legal, funding, procurement and design processes of the Dutch and Flemish authorities, those involved decided the goals were too important to let mere bureaucratic obstacles get in the way.

And this remarkable structure, impressive though it may be, is just one component of the European Union’s comprehensive defragmentation project. All across Europe, over and above roads (and railway lines) from northern Sweden to eastern Romania, animals from salamanders to the resurgent brown bears are crossing busy roads safely. In every case, significant consultation and collaboration were essential.

Though authorities at the highest level are involved, the crucial impetus for such projects frequently originates with local community groups or citizens who coalesce in opposition to a proposed road project. The magnificent wildlife overpass over the I-90 in the Cascade Mountains just inland from Seattle is one such case.

The Washington State Department of Transport (WSDOT) found itself facing a formidable array of thoroughly informed groups, full of determined and experienced people eager to suggest alternative ways of thinking about an upgrade through the Cascades. Having started the mandatory public consultation process with a bland ‘We just build roads’ stance, WSDOT soon found itself on the losing end of a well-coordinated public relations campaign. To their credit, the agency was willing to listen and learn. The opposition groups acknowledged openly that the upgrade was needed – a masterful disarming tactic – but forcefully described the major impact that would occur unless changes were made. Negotiations were initially difficult but, as the numerous participants got to know one another, the suspicions and animosities diminished. The outcome is a structure of incalculable value to the land, the people and the animals, and a substantial symbol of where genuine collaboration can take us.

Overpasses are certainly the most effective of all wildlife crossing structures. Their sheer size allows a wide variety of species to cross, especially if additional vegetation is included. While these large structures have traditionally been built with big animals in mind – elk, bear, deer, caribou, kangaroo – and usually resemble a grassy hill, the addition of trees, clumps of shrubs or places for water to collect, for example, can attract a diverse array of species. One well-studied fully vegetated overpass near Brisbane in Australia now has a greater number of amphibians and reptiles living on the structure than in the forests that surround it.

Successful crossing structures do not need to be huge or complicated. The passages with the heaviest animal traffic are almost certainly the amphibian tunnels that have been installed in many locations to aid the safe migration of amphibians from their wintering sites down the slopes to the breeding ponds. Hundreds of thousands of toads, frogs and salamanders use these small culverts every spring, frequently aided by locals who assist by transporting bucketfuls across the roads and directing (human) traffic around key spots. These ‘frog tunnels’ are simple and cheap to install, just a slightly modified version of the innumerable pipes and culverts beneath virtually every road on the planet. Myriad creatures have been utilising these ubiquitous conduits without fanfare or attention ever since they first began being installed in the 1990s. But there are some obvious limitations such as often being full of water (as intended) and, of course, size.

Today, wildlife-specific underpasses are everywhere, catering to species of every size, literally up to elephants (such as those completed some 10 years ago in Kenya and Malaysia). Being some version of a concrete box culvert, variety can be added to encourage use by a wider diversity of animals: ledges along the walls or raised on poles, floors of sand, soil and even shade-tolerant moss, rocks, logs and piles of woody debris. All these turn a cold, bare tunnel into a passage that appears safer and less artificial. But only up to a point: they are still long, dark places utterly unlike anything most species will encounter in their natural environments.

And there are some species who need an alternative approach. Those committed to living in the treetops are understandably reluctant to descend to ground level if possible. For larger animals such as koalas or monkeys, breaks in the canopy mean that climbing down and walking is inevitable but risky, especially if a road has to be crossed. Numerous structures connecting trees above the road are now in place around the world. Rope ladders are legion, assisting opossums, squirrels, reptiles and possums to move safely to the trees on the other side. In India and Madagascar, simple and cheap bamboo bridges are being used daily by lorises, langurs and lemurs.

A diverse suite of innovative crossing structures is revolutionising how roads are designed and constructed

Other species avoid the ground by ‘flying’ – gliding, actually – from tree to tree. Flying squirrels, marsupial gliders and colugos, for example, can now traverse some narrow roads through the air, but anything wider becomes a serious challenge. In Australia, appropriately spaced ‘glide poles’ are enabling sugar gliders and other species to cross even major highways in a series of steps rather than one enormous glide.

This diverse suite of innovative crossing structures is revolutionising the way that roads are designed and constructed. They offer genuine hope for severed populations, and attempt to defragment landscapes everywhere. But let’s also be realistic about the scale of this challenge. At the time of writing, an additional 25 million km (15.5 million miles) of roads are expected to be built in the next 30 years, with most planned for Central and South America, and Africa.

In 2013-14, China launched two initiatives of extraordinary ambition and scale: the Belt and Road Initiative (formerly known as One Belt, One Road); and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. These interlinked projects envision a global transportation infrastructure network stretching across much of the planet, effectively linking China with the rest of the world. The size of these schemes – which involve ports, railways and a truly colossal amount of roadwork – makes them by far the world’s largest and most expensive infrastructure construction projects ever proposed.

These and other massive transportation schemes are being rolled out in many parts of the world, but especially in poor countries in tropical areas; typically, the very places where political decisions – made in the capital cities – have little connection with or regard for the impact of infrastructure projects on the ground. Standards of planning and construction set down on paper often bear little similarity to what actually happens. The provision of funds for ongoing maintenance, a critical element in the long-term functioning of these roads, is rarely adequate, or simply disappears.

Even more alarming is the unplanned exploitation of areas adjacent to the roads. From local expansion of bush-meat hunting and opportunistic slash-and-burn farming to sophisticated large-scale illegal timber smuggling, the influence of new incursions can spread into neighbouring forests in an almost organic, disease-like pattern. In Brazil, 95 per cent of the rainforest lost over the previous decade was within 5 km (3 miles) of a legal road, which initiated the spread of an ‘expanding spider web of illegal secondary and tertiary roads’, to quote the road researchers William Laurance and Irene Burgu├ęs Arrea. The neat contained lines printed on the glossy, professionally produced proposals may be only a small proportion of the area actually impacted.

In 1998, impetus to meet the challenge was so low that Forman and his co-author Lauren Alexander described road ecology as ‘a sleeping giant’ waiting to be roused. Three decades later, we can state that this giant is now fully awake. Just in time: there is much to be done right now.

Canada a 22nd Century Superpower By Being a Great Place to Live



I am not so optimistic as all that as it is no trick at all for the USA to clean up it act and settle it management problems which is all they are.  Do that and the border becomes meaningless.

On the other hand, if Canada sets out to end poverty inclusive of the Great Lakes Watershed. then it is possible to attract immigrants whose children are trained to be loyal Canadians.  Do not underestimate that capability.  This would also be shared on the south side with the USA.

Usibng that as an economic engine, i could build Canada's population out to over two billion.  That includes fully populating the boreal forest with animal husbandry and denisfying the great plains and lifting its agricultural productivity from under $1,000 per acre to at least twice that..



Canada a 22nd Century Superpower By Being a Great Place to Live



December 25, 2021 by Brian Wang

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2021/12/canada-a-22nd-century-superpower.html

Canada has an 88-page immigration focused plan that would increase Canada’s population to the level of the USA in about 150 years. By 2171, Canada would use good schools, good universities and comfortable quality of life, solid economy to continue attracting high quality immigration to reach a population of about 300 million.

This would be having immigration at the rate of 1.25% of the total population each year. This would be a national plan to move well beyond the annual immigration levels of Germany and reach US levels of total immigration around 2080-2120. The US has about 1.0-1.2 million immigrants each year. The has about 0.3% of its population for annual immigration. In 2100, Canada would be welcoming 1.25 million immigrants and have a population of 100 million.

Canada has already been attracting new immigrants at the rate of about 0.8% to 1.1% of its total population every year for the past 30 years. Canada has generally been attracting the second most annual migrants after the USA over the last five years.

Canada would use the power of being a great place to live with great schools and good jobs to become one of the largest world economies of the 22nd century.



Canada would use being nice and welcoming to be a place where more people will continue to want to live.

If this works, it would be the power of nice, comfortable and friendly to win global economic competition.

Socialized medicine and other nice things about Canada would be part of the winning formula.

SOURCES – Century Initiative

Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com




Canada’s Population Will Be Over 39 Million in 2022

December 25, 2021 by Brian Wang


https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2021/12/canada-population-over-39-million-in-2022.html



Canada’s realtime population estimate for Dec 25, 2021 is 38.56 million. Canada’s population increases about 2000 people per day.

Ontario is passing 15 million people.
Quebec is at 8.65 million.
BC is at 5.3 million.
Alberta is at 4.5 million.

This compares to the USA at 332 million people.
California is just short of 40 million. Texas could reach 30 million in 2022.
Florida could reach 22 million in 2022.




Three Christmas story details you might not be aware of




This is an important refinement regarding the birth of Jesus that has not been well understood.  We get a full understanding of swaddling clothes and a better understanding ofthe so called wise men whoe in fact were kings not so far away on the edge of thge roman Empire.

This item also identidies the uniqueness of the time and place.  We had a. universal ;anguage in Koine Greek and a universal peace and competent tyransport.  This was not repeated until the last century.

So yes this time and place for an intervention was chosen.

The sacred birth has antecedents in other traditions and may well have been injected into the primary event of Jesus' ministry 33 years later.  I do note this because i also suspect that Yesua was interjected from the future.



Three Christmas story details you might not be aware of



1. Jesus was born in a rock cave (“a stable”)

Since ancient times, and during the time of Christ, wood was extremely sparse and typically available only to rich noblemen and kings; therefore, buildings were made almost entirely of dolomitic limestone which is extremely dense and weather resistant. Today we refer to this type of stone as “Jerusalem Stone” and in fact, since 1918, municipal laws in Jerusalem require that all buildings in Jerusalem be faced with Jerusalem stone, and hence if you visit Jerusalem, all buildings take on the same outward appearance, includes individual homes.

Even though the scriptures do not specifically say that Jesus was born in the “stable” we are told that He was placed in a “manger” (which is inside the stable). Since we know that there was no room for them at the inn and they stayed in the “stable” we can safely assume that is the location where Jesus was actually born as well (Luke 2:7). The function of a stable then is the same as a stable today. It is a place where animals were kept. Stables back then were not man-made but natural caves on the surface of the ground which you can see today in Israel. Since they mostly held shepherd’s sheep at night they were referred to as “sheep fold caves”. This is the type of cave that Mary and Joseph were staying in along with shepherds and their sheep the night that Jesus was born.

We are told that when Jesus was born, he was wrapped in “swaddling clothes” and laid in a “manger”. Swaddling clothes are narrow bands of clean fabric that happened to present in the cave and Mary used them to wrap up the newly born Jesus and then laid Him into a feeding trough which is a carved-out stone basin used to provide food and water for the animals (most likely sheep in this case). I doubt if Mary herself understood the significance of what she had just done! (Luke 2:19)

2. Shepherds who would understand were greeted by Angels

The night that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an angel met shepherds tending flocks, along with a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and declared to them that the Savior, who is Christ the Lord, had been born in Bethlehem. Since the shepherds were close enough to Bethlehem to drop everything and travel right then to see Jesus, it is a logical assumption due to the typology and distances between towns that these shepherds were the shepherds that tended the flocks of the Jerusalem priests. From where they tended the flocks, they could see Bethlehem as it sat on a hill about 6 miles to the southeast.

These shepherds weren’t ordinary shepherds either as they had a special task that was critical to the temple and the sacrifices made to God. You see, when people came to the temple and made a sacrifice, if you were well off, you were to bring a lamb without a spot or any blemish. If you did not have such a sacrifice, you could purchase one from the temple which the shepherds would provide.

Their task was simple. When a lamb was being born, the shepherds assisted with the birth as the lamb could not touch the ground until they were cleaned and examined thoroughly. If they found that it had a “spot”, or physical defect, they would then put it on the ground so it could mix with the other lambs. It would not be suitable for a sacrifice as only the best could be offered to God. If the lamb was spotless, or physically perfect, then it was their job to ensure that it did not get hurt in any way and possibly get a “blemish”, which is a small cut, wound, bruise, or any other small flaw from the time it was born to the time it was sacrificed. To make sure that the spotless lamb’s feet didn’t get cut on the rocks, they would wrap the lambs’ feet with clean “swaddling clothes” that were already there for that purpose. Only after the lamb’s feet were wrapped up would they place the lamb on the ground to walk.

When the shepherds came to the cave where Jesus was laid in the manger, they saw Him wrapped in the same swaddling strips used to cover the spotless lambs to prevent them from getting a blemish and they understood immediately that Jesus was indeed the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) who came to be sacrificed at Passover, and hence providing a means by which the relationship between us and God can be reestablished for those that accept His gift of salvation and continuously be led by the Holy Spirit as we serve the Lord.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were … redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet 1:18-19)

3. The visit of the kings from the East

We have all heard of the story of the three kings from the East being led by the Bethlehem star that came to worship our Lord in the manger, but the actual details of the real events are typically not depicted in the modern Christmas renditions. It is these embellished and altered stories that hinder a secular person from taking Christians seriously.

Let’s start with the wise men, or kings, and the Roman Empire. At the time Christ came the first time, everything had already been prepared for Him. There was a universal extremely simple and logical language (Koine Greek). There was worldwide commerce with a road system created by the Roman Empire extending to the ends of the connected continents which all converged in Israel (In other words, all commerce in the world passed through Israel to/from the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa). But most importantly, there was universal peace. Granted, it was peace due to the power and intimidation of the Roman Empire, but there were currently no wars, and God’s message could be spread to the ends of the earth on the road system that was set up using the universal language that was also in place.

As we know, there were no wars but that doesn’t mean the Roman Empire won all the battles. In fact, they had lost several battles to kings in the East where their forces were the weakest. Since the scriptures talk about kings of the East that come together to Israel to worship the Lord, we can assume that God Himself protected them against the Roman Empire for this purpose. At that time, it was a crime (whose punishment was immediate death) to say you were a king as there was no king except Caesar (Caesar Augustus in this case; Luke 2:1). [On a very sad note, when Christ was being tried by Pilate over 33 years later, it was the chief priests that said, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). They would not even acknowledge that God was their King.]

The kings talk to Herod who was afraid of them:

To approach the Governor (Herod) of a Roman Provenance (Israel) and to declare that you are “kings” and have come to worship the “King of the Jews” (Matt 2:2) that was born in Herod's province begs the question: Why didn’t Herod immediately have these people arrested and put to death right then? The scriptures do not directly say this but perhaps it wasn’t necessary for Matthew to spell out the obvious. When kings traveled, they did not travel alone, especially when they had a long journey and they had valuable gifts in their possession. It would be amiss to think that they did not have a very significant regiment of soldiers to protect them and carry the provisions for the very long journey.

So, when the kings that the Roman Empire couldn’t previously conquer and their regiments of soldiers regiments came to see Herod about Jesus’ location, Herod must have been incredibly scared of them (Matt 2:3) and cooperated with them in having his scholars reference the Old Testament scriptures to determine where Jesus was born (Bethlehem, just 6 miles away: Mic 5:2). Herod knew Jesus must be killed according to Roman law so he wanted to know from the kings “when” they first met the “star” who told them about Jesus' birth to know at what age to start killing children. They told Herod the time and he reasoned that if he killed every child in that region two years old and younger then Jesus would be among them (Matt 2:7, Matt 2:16).

There was no “star of Bethlehem”:

The word star was used interchangeably for Angel, messenger, or even Jesus himself (Num 24:17, Rev 22:16). An inanimate object is an “it”, but a person is a male or female. The “star” being referred to has the consistent parsing of a male that met them and not an inanimate object (Matt 2:2, 7, 9, 10). The kings also say that they “met” him (the star) when they were in the East (back home) and were led to Israel. Another way of saying that is that they were told to go to Israel where they would find Jesus. When they got to Israel, they didn’t know where to go so they inquired of Herod’s scholars.

The kings did not go to Bethlehem:

Herod left them with the impression that Jesus was possibly still in Bethlehem (6 miles to the SE) because that is where He was born but when they left Herold, the angel (he) met them (Matt 2:11) and took them to Mary’s house (Matt 2:12) in Nazareth (65 miles to the North). [After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to dedicate Jesus to the Lord (Luke 2:21) and then back home to Nazareth (Luke 2:39) ] After the wise men gave their gifts to Jesus who was perhaps 18 months old or older at that time, Mary and Joseph had the funds to then take Jesus to Egypt and live off the gifts until the death of Herod so they could return home to Nazareth (Matt 2:19-23).

Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour

I personally don't understand why God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us in order to restore the relationship with us that was lost when Adam sinned. His plan of salvation comes with an "IF". We must choose to accept Him and follow Him continuously. God will never force anyone to go to heaven no matter how much He loves us.

December 25th has been the date chosen for Christians to celebrate Jesus' birth since sometime in the 4th century. It is a time we should reflect on how unworthy we are to even be offered such an amazing eternal and everlasting gift for those that accept the Holy Spirit and follow Him always will we are reunited with Christ. Knowing that Christ is not willing that any should perish, today is also a day, like all days, that we need to witness to others about Jesus' birth and the Good News.

In these special last days in which the Lord has chosen to have you live, we are required to put on the "Whole Armor of God" as there will be a significant deception that will fall over the entire earth, and many Christians will be deceived. [The Armor of God topic was covered in a prior email. If you wish a copy, please send a request to support@onepathpublishing.com.] The next more important thing you can do is pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and study God's Word. The end times are approaching, and we must work while it is still day because when the night comes, no one can work. (Paraphrasing John 9:4).

The Terramare Culture and the Bronze Age Collapse






This was surely part of hte Atlantean  trade supported culture we know collapsed around 1159 BC.  The Po valley population had risen steadily to 150,000.  That made it able to see off a military threat, but not three years of no ctrops.

At least it is a full geographical unit.  Mycenae and even Athens looked more like trading factories whose relationship to the surrounds looked sketchy.  The Etruscan culture may also have extended back into this time frame.

It still collapsed around 1159 BC and may have been simply overrun by our Dorian invaders from the Baltic fleeing starvation.

The Terramare Culture and the Bronze Age Collapse

In Bronze Age northern Italy the Terramare culture thrived for centuries until one day in about 1200 BC, the population of 120,00 people disappeared.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL5GDXq1acE

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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Early Humans Hunted The Largest Available Animals To Extinction For 1.5 Million Years





This is a remarkable result and far more precise than any past work.  It informs us that even early man had effective tool kit for taking down large game.  They were taking huge numbers of elephants until they lost enough animals.

Understand that no species had a proper answer to human predation.  It becomes readsonable htat the pleistocene large animal collapse was driven by human hunters.

All these large creatures were easily killed with pit traps close by water holes to funnel hte traffic.  What is necessary is a large number of hands to task.  That was the human advantage along with even makeshift tools.


Early Humans Hunted The Largest Available Animals To Extinction For 1.5 Million Years

12/21/2021 06:00:00 PM

https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2021/12/early-humans-hunted-largest-available.html


A groundbreaking study by researchers from Tel Aviv University tracks the development of early humans' hunting practices over the last 1.5 million years—as reflected in the animals they hunted and consumed. The researchers claim that at any given time early humans preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their surroundings, which provided the greatest quantities of food in return for a unit of effort.




Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years


In this way, according to the researchers, early humans repeatedly overhunted large animals to extinction (or until they became so rare that they disappeared from the archaeological record) and then went on to the next in size—improving their hunting technologies to meet the new challenge. The researchers also claim that about 10,000 years ago, when animals larger than deer became extinct, humans began to domesticate plants and animals to supply their needs, and this may be why the agricultural revolution began in the Levant at precisely that time.


The study was conducted by Prof. Ran Barkai and Dr. Miki Ben-Dor of the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Prof. Shai Meiri of the School of Zoology and Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, and Jacob Dembitzer, a research student of Prof. Barkai and Prof. Meiri, who led the project. The paper was published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.



The study, unprecedented in both scope and timespan, presents a comprehensive analysis of data on animal bones discovered at dozens of prehistoric sites in and around Israel. Findings indicate a continual decline in the size of game hunted by humans as their main food source—from giant elephants 1-1.5 million years ago down to gazelles 10,000 years ago. According to the researchers, these findings paint an illuminating picture of the interaction between humans and the animals around them over the last 1.5 million years.



Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years

Linear regression of log10 transformed weighted mean body mass (in kg) per stratigraphic layer

as a function of time (log10 years before present) [Credit: Tel Aviv University]




Prof. Barkai notes two major issues presently addressed by prehistorians worldwide: What caused the mass extinction of large animals over the past hundreds of thousands of years—overhunting by humans or perhaps recurring climate changes? And what were the driving forces behind great changes in humankind—both physical and cultural—throughout its evolution?


Prof. Barkai says that "in light of previous studies, our team proposed an original hypothesis that links the two questions: We think that large animals went extinct due to overhunting by humans, and that the change in diet and the need to hunt progressively smaller animals may have propelled the changes in humankind. In this study we tested our hypotheses in light of data from excavations in the Southern Levant covering several human species over a period of 1.5 million years."




Jacob Dembitzer adds that "we considered the Southern Levant (Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Southwest Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon) to be an 'archaeological laboratory' due to the density and continuity of prehistoric findings covering such a long period of time over a relatively small area—a unique database unavailable anywhere else in the world. Excavations, which began 150 years ago, have produced evidence for the presence of humans, beginning with Homo erectus who arrived 1.5 million years ago, through the neandertals who lived here from an unknown time until they disappeared about 45,000 years ago, to modern humans (namely, ourselves) who came from Africa in several waves, starting around 180,000 years ago."



Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years

Excavations at Qesem Cave [Credit: Tel Aviv University]




The researchers collected all data available in the literature on animal bones found at prehistoric sites in the Southern Levant, mostly in Israel. These excavations, conducted from 1932 until today, provide a unique sequence of findings from different types of humans over a period of 1.5 million years. With some sites comprising several stratigraphic layers, sometimes thousands of years apart, the study covered a total of 133 layers from 58 prehistoric sites, in which thousands of bones belonging to 83 animal species had been identified. Based on these remains, the researchers calculated the weighted mean size of the animals in each layer at every site.


Prof. Meiri says that "Our study tracked changes at a much higher resolution over a considerably longer period of time compared to previous research. The results were illuminating: we found a continual, and very significant, decline in the size of animals hunted by humans over 1.5 million years. For example, a third of the bones left behind by Homo erectus at sites dated to about a million years ago, belonged to elephants that weighed up to 13 tons (more than twice the weight of the modern African elephant) and provided humans with 90% of their food. The mean weight of all animals hunted by humans at that time was 3 tons, and elephant bones were found at nearly all sites up to 500,000 years ago."


"Starting about 400,000 years ago, the humans who lived in our region—early ancestors of the Neandertals and Homo sapiens, appear to have hunted mainly deer, along with some larger animals weighing almost a ton, such as wild cattle and horses. Finally, in sites inhabited by modern humans, from about 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, approximately 70% of the bones belong to gazelles—an animal that weighs no more than 20-30kg. Other remains found at these later sites came mostly from fallow deer (about 20%), as well as smaller animals such as hares and turtles."


Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years

Deer bones with with cut marks [Credit: Tel Aviv University]




Jacob Dembitzer says that "our next question was: What caused the disappearance of the large animals? A widely accepted theory attributes the extinction of large species to climate changes through the ages. To test this, we collected climatic and environmental data for the entire period, covering more than a dozen cycles of glacial and interglacial periods. This data included temperatures based on levels of the oxygen 18 isotope, and rainfall and vegetation evidenced by values of carbon 13 from the local Soreq Cave. A range of statistical analyses correlating between animal size and climate, precipitation, and environment, revealed that climate, and climate change, had little, if any, impact on animal extinction."



Dr. Ben-Dor says that "our findings enable us to propose a fascinating hypothesis on the development of humankind: humans always preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their environment, until these became very rare or extinct, forcing the prehistoric hunters to seek the next in size. As a result, to obtain the same amount of food, every human species appearing in the Southern Levant was compelled to hunt smaller animals than its predecessor, and consequently had to develop more advanced and effective technologies. Thus, for example, while spears were sufficient for Homo erectus to kill elephants at close range, modern humans developed the bow and arrow to kill fast-running gazelles from a distance."




Prof. Barkai concludes that "we believe that our model is relevant to human cultures everywhere. Moreover, for the first time, we argue that the driving force behind the constant improvement in human technology is the continual decline in the size of game. Ultimately, it may well be that 10,000 years ago in the Southern Levant, animals became too small or too rare to provide humans with sufficient food, and this could be related to the advent of agriculture. In addition, we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans—who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created—from the bow and arrow to the agricultural revolution. The environment, however, always paid a devastating price."