4. Exploring the Role of Pinnipeds in the Human Colonization of the Seascapes of Patagonia and Scandinavia
Hein B. Bjerck [+]
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Heidi Mjelva Breivik [+]
Department of Historical Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
Ernesto L. Piana
National University of Tierra del Fuego
A. Francisco J. Zangrando [+]
Laboratory of Anthropology CADIC-CONICET
Pinnipeds (seals) were probably important pull factors for the terrestrial hunter-gatherers that became marine foragers in the seascapes of Patagonia and Scandinavia in early Holocene. Important reasons for this may be that 1) pinnipeds could be hunted on shores (or sea-ice) with more or less the same methods and equipment as terrestrial animals, 2) pinnipeds represented a similar resource as the terrestrial mega-fauna, with a familiar combination of meat, bone, skin, blood, sinews, and fat, and 3) that most evolutionary victories of pinnipeds pertain to their life in the water – and left them quite vulnerable when they are out of the water. Their senses and locomotion are inferior to terrestrial animals – a weakness that human predators are always ready to exploit. This paper will explore the nature of pinnipeds, their habitats and behavior, and discuss how pinnipeds might have related to and influenced the early development of marine foraging systems – technology, logistics, and settlement structure. The timing, circumstances, cultural dynamics and species of pinnipeds involved in the Scandinavian and the Patagonian case differ. However, the two processes towards marine adaptation also have instructive parallels.