Jarn’s Journal Year 9 Day 295 #SFFSAT

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Year 9 Day 295

I finally have clothes suited for a cold climate!

Between Rainbow’s experience, Songbird’s observations of the clothing of the northern hunters, and a painfully small amount of information I managed to get out of the computer, the two women managed to combine the reindeer hide and a number of the smaller hides I’ve traded for to make me a fitted, furred pullover and a sort of trousers made of furs wrapped and tied around my legs. The major problem with what Rainbow was doing was bulk under the arms; use of the smaller, thinner skins in those areas has given me a tunic that is warm but lets me move freely.

I’ve tested them out with a short trip to the far north – only a short one, because at this time of year, fifteen days after the southern solstice, there is no daylight. Animals are active. I heard wolves howling, and in the moonlight saw a fox, its ears turning like radar dishes, ghosting over the snow. After a moment it gathered itself, dived headfirst into the snow, and came up crunching something. Feeling with my mind through the snow, I found a number of small, active rodents tunneling under the snow, just as the ones I know tunnel under the earth.

It’s far too cold to stay there for any length of time, but if I wrapped myself in the bearskin I could watch how the animals deal with the Arctic night.

Those familiar with anthropology will have noticed that I have assumed that the Neanderthals of Europe wore fitted clothing, in contrast to the wrapped and tied skins assumed by Jean Auel. Well, the Neanderthals were adapted physically to a cold climate. Further, anthropologists are now beginning to consider that homo sapiens sapiens may well have borrowed some technology, especially in preparing skins, from their Neanderthal cousins. I’ve assumed that the Neanderthals were adapted culturally as well as physically to the cold, and that part of that adaptation was fitted fur clothing. Such clothing would not have been needed in much of Africa, especially during daytime. Clothing would probably have been for adornment and protection from the sun, if used at all, and any need for warmth at night would have been better served by fire, huddling together, or whole hides.

About sueannbowlingauthor

Sue Ann Bowling earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Radcliffe/Harvard and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Alaska. After thirty years of teaching, she retired to focus on writing. Bowling has lived in Alaska for fifty years. Visit her Web site on canine color genetics at http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/Genetics/Genetics.html.
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8 Responses to Jarn’s Journal Year 9 Day 295 #SFFSAT

  1. S.A. Check says:

    Always such detail in your work, Sue. I liked the night scene you painted with the wolves, fox, and rodents. It had a subtle beauty to it.

  2. T. M. Hunter says:

    Great stuff…been quite a while since I’ve checked out the tales of Jarn.

  3. Very insightful with the clothing design. I had no idea! I enjoyed the way you portrayed his visit to the far north.

    • When I was in junior high all of the girls had to take a year of home economics (including sewing) and the boys a semester of shop. So I know how to set in sleeves, though I’d have preferred shop. Jarn’s allies haven’t gotten that far, though.

  4. Peter Vialls says:

    I love the fox with radar dish ears – lovely image. And I’m fascinated by the fitted clothing – gives a very different picture to the typical view of neanderthals.

    • Those ears act like radar dishes, too, as a fox will literally dive through the snow to catch lemmings or voles it has located by hearing. As for the fitted clothing, it’s certainly not accepted by most anthropologists, but I find it hard to understand how they survived in Europe during cold periods (and they were there during the penultimate ice age) without it. Their brains were actually larger than ours, though differently organized. And of course we now know that all people except pure Africans have traces of Neanderthal DNA. Any evidence, one way or the other, has not survived.

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