Hunting Preserves .
24 Dec 2008
Hunting reserves evolved as a social dominance mechanism in humans , using smell markers .
I observed a very interesting phenomenon today : Two separate upper-middle class , elderly female groups , of very different extraction (English and German) , enthused about a rather gamy(like venison) smelling turkey stuffed with duck and chicken . I am satisfied that they were not lying (ie being polite) . But it did not smell very right to me or my wife .
Evolution would make surviving prey-animals taste and smell bad (the less bad ones would be eaten first .) . Domestication would breed for blandness , until we reach the point where taste has to be added by sauces . Then dispense with the meat and just have sauces . (Soylent Green , anyone ?)
But the powerful scent-markers exuded by the skin of eaters of game
(eg venison ) would signal that the person has access to large resources .
His own hunting preserve , for instance .
Which was why poaching was such a serious offense .
Note that social dominance (Egyptians , Assyrians , Romans , Mongols , etc) has always been associated with hunting and the consumption of game .
The suspicion arises that the smell of an eater of game gives a real subliminal social dominance advantage compared to a mostly domesticated animal or vegetarian eater .
Note the large number of high-priced restaurants serving game all over the world . This is fashion , but based on a real phenomenon .
How hardwired is this response ?
It is at least as deeply wired as chimp hunting behaviour , but the social dominance from smell is very relative . Only if the one group lacks the smell markers , does an individual with the smell markers have a dominance advantage .
So it only got into high gear with agriculture . It is one of the accelerators of agriculture .
The kicker is the dog . They had been around as the hunter's help for quite a while (at least 50 000 years ) . But they also became very useful with agriculture as hunters of men .
A dog's acute sense of smell can tell how much venison the poacher has consumed . And his master has trained him to indicate this .
As societies moved into the agricultural phase , dogs' major role became hunters of men (a role they still play today : eg sniffer dogs , guard dogs , etc) .
Animal domestication .
This was then accelerated by the social dominance that could be achieved by the hunting class . The lower orders eat only domesticated animals or vegetable matter . By order .
The effect on wild animal preservation is good in the short term , but bad in the long term . Human wealth is increasing geometrically , but the number wild animals are limited . If they are farmed , they start losing that gaminess prized by connoisseurs , and the cycle starts all over again .
Artificial Gaminess Scents .
Any decent biochemist can synthesise them .
By this time , most humans prefer the bland meat plus sauce route .
They can just add the gamy scent via spray or perfume .
I believe this is already happening .
Something analogous to what happened to animal aphrodisiacs after Viagra .
Bad news to restaurants and game farms .
"Bring out the Animal in you . Spend a buck to save a buck ."
The effect on human social dominance patterns .
The elimination of another way to establish dominance order will increase competition .
"Sam colt made everyone equal . Kalashnikov made everyone free .
Auroch Scent makes everyone boss."
And so it goes .