Inside the Being of the Cat
“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.
—Alice in Wonderland
What if our ancestors survived and evolved according to how well they were able to put themselves into the minds of the animals they relied on for survival? What if those who did so best were our first scientists? Some anthropologists are now proposing just that. Louis Liebenberg, an expert on the tracking techniques of the Kalahari (or San) Bushmen of Africa and an expert tracker himself, suggests that “it is in the art of [animal] tracking that we may find the wellsprings of the scientific quest”—of man applying the scientific method far earlier than previously imagined. The renowned Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg concludes, “we perceive what may be the oldest act in the intellectual history of the human race: the hunter squatting on the ground, studying the tracks of his quarry.”