> [email protected] wrote:
> > Ross: Thanks for this information - I would have had no idea at all how
> > to google 'bush tucker man yams'
> > But I might feel that "suggest(ing) that such behaviour among
> > hunter-gatherer humans was the rule, not the exception" is tending a
> > bit too much towards 'The Noble Savage'.
> Hmm. I'll put forward a different view. There's good evidence in
> relatively recent times of humans arriving in a place for the first
> time and causing substantial damage to the indigenous ecology. Witness
> the impacts on Pacific islands by the arrival of Polynesians - New
> Zealand, for example.
> But longer term, there's also good evidence that humans adapt
> culturally to their environment, and adopt cultural practices that have
> the effect of preserving the environment in the longer term. For
> example, Tim Flannery wrote about areas of rainforest in northern
> Australia (or was it PNG?) that were taboo for hunting tree kangaroos,
> that scientists have since discovered were important breeding habitats
> for the tree kangaroos.
This is very interesting - I'm sure many taboos have quite a lot to do
with 'resource protection', but some seem to have no easy 'rational'
explanation at all.
Take our (Anglo-Saxon) views on eating horses and dogs.
Horses - many other Europeans eat them , and some with more relish than
they eat beef. See Belgian 'filet d'Anvers' - a 'ham' of air-dried
horse fillet, or the Boucheries Chevallines (specialist horse butchers)
that used to be all over France. We don't eat them (we consider the
meat inferior?), but we can them and feed them to our dogs.
But eating dogs causes much stronger shock/horror to us - surely you
can't do that to a pet? But other cultures do, quite happily - Koreans
and Filipinos still do, and apparently some Mexican dogs were specially
bred as walking larders.
(There's a story about a Filipino visiting America, and looking forward
to his first Hot Dog. When he saw it, he reacted with shock/horror, and
explained: "...but WE don't eat THAT part!")
Perhaps our dog taboo has something to do with our coming out of the
hunting/gathering stage quite a bit later than many others did. Did
Mexicans only start eating their dogs when they became civilised ? Do
North American Indians eat their hunting dogs?