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Limb Dominance discussion

Page 7


Addendum, re Eye Dominance
By Paul Vallandigham
Feb 22/05

I don't see any recent discussions, so I hope this doesn't fall on deaf ears. I published an article on Eye Dominance in 1994, and can send you a copy of you are interested. Tracks tell the dominance (Limb) foot, and Eye because the subconscious mind makes subtle corrections in your balance as you transfer your weight from one foot to the other. Pitch Angles differ from foot to foot, when you are looking ahead, and not at the ground, or your feet, with the dominant foot pointing the Line of March. The Step interval from the non-dominant foot to the Dominant foot will be an inch longer in a walking gait than the step interval measured from the toe of the dominant foot to the heel of the non-dominant foot. The dominant stride length will also be about 1 inch longer in a walking stride over the stride length for the non-dominant foot. Eye dominance general corresponds well (better than 90%) to hand dominance, which can be seen in the enlarged muscles in the forearm of the dominant hand compare to the muscles in the forearm of the non-dominant hand. Because the dominant foot takes a slightly longer step, the non-dominant leg muscles -- at the calf -- will be larger in circumference than the calf of the dominant leg, and will be able to lift more weight than the dominant leg. The thigh muscles on the dominant leg, however, will be larger than the thigh muscles on the non dominant leg, and will lift about 5-10 lbs more for an adult male, all other things being equal. As Tom Brown teaches, 2/3 of the mammals are right eye dominant, except for Polar Bears. I haven't been able to observe many polar bears, and then only at Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago, and I have not been able to see them walk enough to determine eye dominance, much less determine if Tom is right about this. I am left eye dominant, and left handed, and all that I have described about musculature, and walking characteristics appear in my tracks, and I have verified in right eye dominant people, who I tracked going to and coming home from school in Hillside Illinois. Of course, I did not understand the significance of what I was seeing, and learning, until I read Tom's books, and a very excellent book by Jack Kearney, Tracking: A Blueprint for Learning How, Pathways Press, 722 Jefree St., El Cahon. CA. 92020 (about $15.00) Jack spent 20 years working for the U.S. Border Patrol tracking people in the deserts of eastern California. His findings are that people, walking in a moonless night, on a flat surface, will walk in a large circle towards their Non-dominant foot, as the dominant foot takes a slightly longer step. I inadvertently proved this to myself with my own feet one night when I was crossing a Winter Wheat field near Urbana, Illinois, where I was living, to go to a tree that could only be seen outlined against the night lights of the city in the distance. I looked down so that I didn't fall in the wheat and furrows of the field, and when I thought I had cross the field, I looked up to find the tree and found that I had drifted right of the tree I had started out toward. I readjusted my aim and cross the field. When I got to the tree, I stood their until the morning sun finally rose behind me. In the dew on the winter wheat, you could see my tracks across the field, forming two arcs that went to the right, or clock-wise (because I am left handed and left eye dominant). Don't believe that your eye makes these corrections. Find someone who trusts you, and ask them to walk backwards while looking at your eyes. He will see slight up and down eye movement which your brain edits out and will not let you see! (You might become nauseas if you knew your eyes were moving up and down with each step!) Then reverse roles and look for yourself. This is the only way I have found to see actual verification of this balance checking process. Remember, the inner ear canals have fluid in them, which stimulates tiny sensors or hairs in the canals. These signals provide the primary source of balance only when the eyes are closed, or you are blind folded. However, the brain also uses the ears to aid in determining balance, so even when you are blindfolded, the brain is taking in information from at least two sources to determine that it is in no danger of injury from a fall due to changing, and ultimately uncontrolled balance. Yeah, I can prove it to you. Just change from walking barefoot for a day or two, or in moccasins, or low heeled shoes, to wearing the tallest heeled cowboy boots you can find. The brain finds everything is out of place, because your eyes are higher than normal when looking at the ground, or floor, and everything else. All its visual clues it uses to determine balance are altered, not unlike when you have one too many drinks of alcohol. It take most people an hour or more before they get used to balancing on those higher heels. Women have the same problem with high heels, although they are hampered further because most of the styles call for a very narrow heel, which is so much smaller than the heel on loafer, for instance, that it makes walking in the high heels hard on both balance and on the ankles. The higher the heels, by the way, the narrower the straddle, the distance between the heels of the man you are tracking, to the point that like women, many men will actual have a negative straddle, that is, their feet cross each other as they try to walk in a straight line of march. Or, to avoid causing pain to the male sex organs, men will walk with a wider straddle, and with their feet pitched out at a very wide angle, to allow the transition of those high (cowboy boot) heels.  Since I am already bowl-legged, I tend to take the latter approach to walking in boots. The wear patterns on the soles of my shoes and boots starts at the centerline of the heel, and goes to the outside of the foot, with the wear crossing over the center of the shoe in front of the arch, then on the ball of the foot and off my big toe. If I try to walk " straight" (heel to toe) it hurts in my ankles, knees, and groin.

I hopes this helps in the discussion. I can't help but notice that several people have labored long and hard trying to measure limb dominance without first asking why there is a difference, and if there is a difference, why  do they think it simply begins at the hip, where the leg starts?  I find that if you allow your test subjects to know what you are looking for, you will get mixed results. And, if you don't watch your subject to see that he does not look down at the ground, he will screw up your test tracks almost every time. I ask my subject to look at some distant thing level with their eyes on the horizon, and simply walk towards it.  I tell them that it is important that they keep their eyes on that distant object, and not look down. Only after I have their sample do I explain what I was doing, and what their tracks show. They are always fascinated to be shown something about themselves they did not know themselves, and did not know anyone else could see in their tracks.
When some of the commentators report having mixed results, I can almost surely tell them why the results vary, based on my own experiences. I too made all those mistakes, as I had no one to teach me about tracking until I found the books described above. I called Jack, and later called Tom Brown. I have met them both, and taken Tom's Basic and Advance tracking courses.

I am a lawyer by profession, and a tracker by avocation. I have been tracking since I was a boy, without a " Stalking Wolf" to train me, or correct my errors, and have now been doing it for almost 50 years.  I was out of law school before I learned that some of the things I observed and thought correlated, did in fact correlate. Other observations I had made suddenly came together after reading those two books by Tom (The Tracker, and The Search), and Jack's book. I went on a search of the library and books in print for anything that was written on tracking, and found both good and bad stuff. In 1991, I co-authored an article published the Journal of Forensic Tracking on Estimating Stature from foot length and shoe length. The article was peer reviewed and has been cited in footnotes in books by Law Professors on Trial evidence, and by William Bodziak in his Second Edition of Footwear Impression Evidence. You can see the dominance in the tracks left by herbivores, such as horses, or deer, but the location of the rear and front tracks. The dominant front foot takes a slightly longer step than the rear, and the rear steps on the back of the front foot (hoof) track, while the rear foot on the non-dominant side steps almost direct on top of the track left by the non-dominant front foot (hoof). This is because the eyes are located on the sides of the skull, and the herbivore must turn its head for its dominant eye to look forward. In humans, as well as all predators, our eyes are located in the front of the skull, allowing us binocular vision, so that we can instantly determine the distinct we are from a chosen target we are attacking. When you digest that, think about the skulls you have seen in the museums of Natural History that represent Tyrannosaurus Rex, the second largest carnivore known to walk the earth. The eyes are on the side of the head, like an herbivore. Yet, we are told by some paleontologists that T. Rex ran its prey to the ground over open plains, like the lesser dinosaur, Aleosaurus, which was about six feet long, and stood maybe three feet high. T. Rex, of course, stood 30 feet tall, and weighted as much as 8 tons.  We are now told, by revisionists, that T. Rex didn't stand that tall, that he used his tail like a squirrel uses its tail, for balance, and that it ran its prey down. Now check the chest size of T. Rex, and compare it to that of a cheetah, or lioness. Now compare it to the body of a kangaroo.  I think that T. Rex hung around rivers banks, hiding among the trees, and waited for its meals to come down to the river to drink, and then pounced on them like a Large Mouth Bass. The tail was used to both balance the animal as it stood among forest debris, including downed trees and limbs, and would allowed it to use the tail to push off as it pounced on its prey. with trees around its prey it would have reference points to help in determining distance from its mouth and front claws, to the prey, just as a one-eyed person can still determine distance by first looking down at the ground to get a sense of the distance from the eye to the ground, and then run multiples of that distance from its feet to its target (close an eye and try this yourself).

Paul Vallandigham, Feb. 2005

CLICK HERE for Paul's article on Eye Dominance


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