Out Of Africa – Primitive Communication

On a recent trip to Africa I learned that males of apex predator species share certain characteristics.  For example, our local guide explained that a male lion’s roar can be heard at least five miles away and is used to communicate their ownership of a territory.

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Although not my guide, Wayne Staab explained it well at the Hearing Health & Technology Matters website 
Similarly, while climbing to see the mountain gorillas, we were told that the silverback’s chest pounding display had similar purposes (see the “Gorilla Communication” page at Gorillas-World). I believe I may have found the simplest human adaptation of this principle.

A visitor to Africa will also learn not expect the same level of amenities to which they have become accustomed in most of Europe and America. I’ve seen many foods (i.e. English muffins & hamburgers), and even musical instruments (like the violin and guitar) that bore only a basic resemblance to their same-named counterparts elsewhere. Even toilets tend to be much simpler than one might be used to, sometimes being no more than a porcelain-lined hole in the ground.  At one stop a friend pointed out what was labeled a urinal, but had no fixture at all. The sign was outside the entrance of a small “room” consisting of four concrete walls extending slightly more than waist high around the perimeter of a rectangular concrete floor. The narrow entrance had no door and there was no roof or any structure extending above the top of the walls. The completely flat floor was sloped slightly with a small drain hole in the lowest corner. This must have been the epitomeD of minimalist architecture.

What that room did very well was act as a resonating chamber and amplify all sounds emitted fairly close to the ground. And then the real purpose of the structure hit me.  I could envision that when a man passes gas in this facility, the roar can be heard for miles around, and other men will pause and listen admiringly and with respect, and one young man will invariably say to another “Now THERE is an asshole”.


I do have a number of weightier matters I’d like to discuss, but my day job has been keeping me pretty busy.  Nonetheless, one should be able to find new material here within the week.