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Airdate: May 08, 2012
Scientist: Tom Brown

Tracker - Pressure Releases

Tracker - Pressure Releases
Every footprint contains an intricate map of the creature who made it.

Transcript:
Tracker Pressure Releases

Music; Ambience: Tracking w/ Tom Brown "Here's a deer track. Coming up over the top of the hill. You see it? The middle of the hoof"

JM: What can you learn from close observation of a footprint or an animal track? You'd be surprised. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

TB: People think that tracks are nothing more than lifeless depressions that are etched in the ground, a window to the past but that's not the case.

JM: Tom Brown Jr. is a master tracker and wilderness survival instructor.

TB: See, if you look deep inside a track, there's a miniature landscape with hills and valleys, ridges, crests, domes, actually they're called pressure releases. That's the only translation I could come up with from the Apache tongue. Pressure releases. They're miniature topographic landscapes. So that a track is not only a window to the past but a window to an animal's very soul. Every movement, every action and reaction is recorded in that track. You can look at a track and say, "This animal is hungry." or "This animal just sniffed the air here." or, "This animal has just cocked his head to the right."

TB: "To show you how sensitive it is, barefooted, stand on a cool linoleum floor and just lift one of your arms a couple inches from your body. You'll feel your whole body shift and then the compensation happen in your feet. And that, to a tracker, is still considered a big movement. So when you look at a track, it has got a volume in it of information. Whether the animal was excited or terrified or relaxed or hungry or whether it had to go to the bathroom or injured. So much comes to life."

(Tracking ambience cont'd.)

JM: We'll hear more on tracking with Tom Brown Jr. in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.