The San of Namibia use an amazing concoction of poison from the beetle to take down huge prey.
A new study has come to some amazing conclusions about how the San people from Namibia create poisoned arrows by using beetle poison — and how they are able to use this poison to take down massive prey.
The study, published in the journal ZooKeys, goes into the historical and anthropological records to figure out how the San used the poison of beetles to survive, noting that the people-group is one of the best examples of traditional hunter-gatherers out there, according to a Business Standard report.
Lead author Carolina Chaboo, who is an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas, said according to the report that her goal was to learn more about the modern San and their history in order to document this important bit of human culture. It could also shed light on ancient man, as hunting with arrows has long been depicted in old rock paintings but scientists weren’t sure what poisons, if any, were used.
With the help of this beetle poison, the San are able to take down huge came with arrows, such as buffalo, antelope, and even elephants, to name just a few species.
The San dig up beetle larvae and then sift out the cocoons, which are cracked open. The San hunters then squeeze the beetle’s fluids on the arrowhead, or create a poison of their own by combining it with certain plants.
It’s a slow-acting poison that paralyzes the victim. Although the animal keeps running after taking an arrow, the San hunters are able to track it down a few hours later when the poison finally kicks in.