By Alan Rabinowitz
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Extra resources for An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar
As the jaguar entered North America and headed southward, it left the likelihood of extinction behind. Forging ahead and breaking new ground, this jaguar was now on the verge of creating a new chapter for the species. There is still uncertainty about when exactly the jaguar arrived in North America; early estimates are based on a single premolar found in Arizona that is nearly 2 million years old. Now it is believed that this tooth was not from a felid at all, and that transcontinental dispersal probably brought the jaguar to North America during a glacial period a million years later.
My throat tightened with the realization of what I was looking at. I started to pick out more sculpted stone blocks below the dirt and trees—the base platform of the structure and what appeared to be two terraces above it. We had just walked onto the site of an ancient, undiscovered Mayan ruin, deep in the jungle. I raced over and climbed the mound, soon standing atop what I assumed to be a small Mayan temple. The timber road where we had just broken down was less than 30 meters (about 100 feet) away.
Studies in modern-day rural Uganda show that even today, humans living among large carnivore communities and armed with simple weapons can successfully chase carnivores from kills. And among the contemporary Hadza people of Tanzania, scavenging still constitutes a significant part of their foraging activity. The transition from scavenging kills made by other predators to the development of increasingly effective hunting implements and tools forced an increase in the physical and mental dexterity of hominids.
An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz