Early Navigators

  • F. G. Major


From the earliest times, long before the advent of the tools of navigation, humans had acquired path finding skills relying solely on their senses: whether it be nomads traversing expanses of forbidding deserts, or aborigines making tracks through the bush in search of game, or Pacific islanders sailing their canoes over vast stretches of ocean, humans developed the ability to find their way over increasingly wider areas on the earth’s surface. Unlike animals that have evolved with certain programmed sensitivities to the environment enabling them for example to orient themselves with respect to the sun, or the earth’s magnetic field, the natural human pathfinders acquired a heightened awareness of the physical surroundings that helped define their path. This goes far beyond the general level of awareness that would be typical of a casual observer with an untrained eye; it entails sharp observation, in the sense of seeing with great clarity the significance of subtle nuances in the changing environment as they move, and to remember these in a time-ordered way. The early human navigators developed their navigational lore through oral tradition over generations of men who ventured out on trackless expanses of sea and sand.


Magnetic Compass Horizon Point Polarization Filter Star Pattern Celestial Equator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Major
    • 1
  1. 1.Severna ParkUSA

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