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Barefoot Persistence Hunting on the Sea Floor

Posted on 04 April 2011

Man first emerged from the depths of sea as a fish with fins-turned-shortened limbs that over hundreds of millions of years evolved into legs. From these humble ancestral origins emerged bipedalism, and in the blink of a cosmic eye, humans have gone from Stone Age hunters and gatherers to rulers of the planet. So it’s with great interest that the NRC came across this new BBC video of a deep-water hunter of fish; it was filmed underwater in Bajau (southern Philippines) for the Human Planet series. In this segment, a local fisherman by the name of Sulbin freedives 20 meters to the sea floor to catch a fish. In fact, he’s actually seen striding across the sea bottom, “as if he’s hunting on land,” in the words of the narrator. His underwater chase made us think of the Attenborough video of the Kalahari Bushman tracking and hunting down an antelope over eight hours. In that case, the land-based hunter ran his prey to death. With our fish-hunter, he doesn’t have that luxury; he can only hold his breath for several minutes at that lung-crushing depth.

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