5 Dec 1996 20:07:02 GMT

Bob Keeter ( wrote:
: Kathy McIntosh <> wrote:
: >In article <57ten5$>, GREENWALT ART E
: ><> writes
: >
: >Snipping of some rubbish from Conrad, and a very sensible, patient reply
: >from Art.
: >> A caribou
: >>herd supplied a pre-contact Alaskan with just about everything they
: >>needed. Sinew for cord, bowstrings, fishing line, etc. Fur for
: >>incredibly warm parkas, pants, boots, mittens. Meat and
: >vegies(stomach
: >^^^^^^^^^^^^^^contents). The bones could be formed into ladles,
: >projectile poi^^^^^^^^^
: >
: >nts,
: >>tools, even flutes and needles.
: >> More snipping, as above.
: >
: >Yuk! I nearly threw up on the keyboard!
: >
: >Seriously, Art, did they actually eat the stomach contents? Surely
: >caribou eat grass, would it really have been that important to them? terrible as it sounds, it was the only source of vegetable
material available to them throughout the winter other than frozen
berries they stored. Considering that the bacteria in the rumens would
have begun digesting the cellulose, not only would they be getting the
advantage of vegetable material during a season it is not normally
available but the actual digestion problem (we people aren't too good at
breaking cellulose down and waste a lot of nutrients in plant material as
a result) would be somewhat overcome.
If you really want to throw up on your keyboard (and who doesn't?
*Grin*) consider a delicacy along many areas of the coast: stinky
fishheads. Fishheads are buried in a pit and allowed to "ferment" for a
period of time, then uncovered and eaten with considerable delight. I
have not tried this and never intend to. But given the parameters of
surviving up here any ability to more fully utilize the food sources
available is a big plus. Cultural differences in food preferences aside,
the prehistoric inhabitants of Alaska were darned resourceful when it
came to making use of every scrap of edible substance, every bit of
material that could be used as a tool or clothing or structure or
what-have-you. It's rather amazing to look at what these people could do
with such scant materials at hand.
Even more amazing is that they had the leisure time to produce artwork,
demonstrating they were interacting pretty effectively with their
environment if they had the time to create some of the gorgeous ivory
carvings they produced.
....Art, in Alaska...