'Tracking in Caves': On the trail of pre-historic man

Jun 04, 2013

In remote caves of the Pyrenees, lie precious remnants of the Ice Age undisturbed: foot and hand prints of prehistoric hunters. The tracks have remained untouched for millennia and are in excellent condition. Dr. Tilman Lenssen-Erz of the Forschungsstelle Afrika (Research Centre Africa) at the University of Cologne and Dr. Andreas Pastoors from the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann are going on expedition to encode the secrets of the trails. Their idea: to involve the best trackers in the world in the project in order to learn even more about the tracks. San hunters from Namibia, also known as Bushmen, will be investigating the tracks. The scientific expedition will span two continents and seven weeks.

From the 9th until the end of June, the expedition will go to Namibia in order to prepare the San for the task in hand. The are excellent trackers who can read details that evade others from trails. "The San are amongst the last known 'trained' hunters and gatherers of ," explains Tilman Lenssen-Erz. "The tracks in the caves are going to be examined by people who really know something about them."

The first press conference will be held on July 1 in the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann before team "Tracking in Caves" sets off for the ; it is there that the San hunters will be investigating the tracks. Andreas Pastoors wants more information pertaining to the amount and size of the tracks: "We hope to gain additional information: e.g. whether the person was in a rush, or whether they were maybe ill or carrying something. More information that will give life to the tracks." The idea behind this is to gain a better understanding of the cultural life of : "Our biggest job is to interpret cave art and to find out what the people did with these . We have to gather all information about the context of these images."

Team "Tracking Caves", which consists of scientists and experienced trackers Tsamkxao Cigae, C/wi /Kunta and C/wi G/aqo De!u, will then report on their discoveries from the Ice Age of Ariège in a press conference at the University of Cologne on July 17. The Khoisan language of Tsamkxao Cigae will be translated into English.

Dr. Tilman Lenssen-Erz from the Forschungsstelle Afrika of the University of Cologne and Dr. Andreas Pastoors from Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann are in charge of the project. The academics are cave and rock art experts. Tsamkxao Cigae works as a tracker in the Tsumkwe Country Lodge, lives in Tsumkwe; speaks good English and will act as interpreter. C/wi /Kunta works as a tracker for a professional hunter, lives in //xa/oba, a village 20 km north of Tsumkwe, which is also a "Living Hunters Museum" where the San's contemporary and traditional living modes are exhibited.

Explore further: Undergrad researcher unearths dino discovery

More information: www.trackingincaves.com/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New cave-dwelling arachnids discovered in Brazil

May 22, 2013

Two new species of cave-dwelling short-tailed whipscorpions have been discovered in northeastern Brazil, and are described in research published May 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Adalberto Santos ...

Philippines puts 158 caves under protection

Nov 03, 2012

The Philippine government has put 158 caves under the protection of the environment department to safeguard them from treasure-hunters, vandals and looters, it was announced on Saturday.

Cave dwelling nettle discovered in China

Dec 28, 2012

South West China, Myanmar and Northern Vietnam contain one of the oldest exposed outcrops of limestone in the world. Within this area are thousands of caves and gorges. It is only recently that botanists ...

Recommended for you

Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey

4 hours ago

A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it. The fossil is described and details of its lifestyle are published ...

Jurassic Welsh mammals were picky eaters, study finds

Aug 20, 2014

For most people, mere mention of the word Jurassic conjures up images of huge dinosaurs chomping their way through lush vegetation – and each other. However, mammals and their immediate ancestors were also ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jonseer
1 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2013
Now this is the sort of creative scientific thinking that is all too rare.