Notes on the Prehistory of Camouflage and Mimicry as Cultural Techniques
The relations between human and animal camouflage have rarely been investigated. Current scholarship, focusing on the evolutionary and military aspects of camouflage, has overshadowed earlier thinking about camouflage and mimicry as shared animal and human features. Reconstructing some of the main elements of those early views, this article argues that, in humans, camouflage should be considered as a cultural technique. Three stages in the “prehistory” of camouflage, which are also three varieties of cultural contexts, are discussed: the hunt, in which camouflage behavior is shared by animals and humans; camouflage behavior among humans, analyzed in terms of simulation and conceived, or figured in terms of animal behavior; and camouflage seen as the manifestation of emerging human material culture.