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Name: Navigation without technology

Why I like this app: It’s not an app but interesting history about navigation


We all tend to rely on technology to navigate and do many other things and we forget that boaters, insects, birds and animals have been navigating for thousands of years without any technology.

Archaeological and DNA evidence (and replica voyages) have since proved that the Pacific islands were settled intentionally — by descendants of the first humans to venture out of sight of land, beginning some 60,000 years ago, from Southeast Asia to the Solomon Islands. They reached the Marshall Islands about 2,000 years ago. A great book on this topic is “The Last Navigator” by Steve Thomas.

Sailors sailed the oceans for many years without being able to determine their longitude. How longitude became a practical tool is chronicled in the book “Longitude” by Dave Sobel.

Below is a list of insects, birds and animals that are excellent navigators.

Dung beetles follow the Milky Way.

The Cataglyphis desert ant dead-reckons by counting its paces.

Monarch butterflies, on their thousand-mile, multigenerational flight from Mexico to the Rocky Mountains, calculate due north using the position of the sun, which requires accounting for the time of day, the day of the year and latitude.

Honeybees, newts, spiny lobsters, sea turtles and many others read magnetic fields.

Godwits hatch from their eggs in Alaska and, alone, without ever stopping, take off for French Polynesia.

If your want to read more about navigation without technology, here is a link to a very long article. This article also describes how the navigation techniques used by the Polynesians is being kept alive.



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Article posted in by Joe

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