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The Scholander group decided that the so-called "naked races" were the best subjects and this brought them to the Australian interior.
In sleeping "proper bush," the aborigine sets up a windbreak and builds small fires on either side of him. With that, he is able to sleep raw without a trace of shivering or thrashing about. When the fires begin to die down, the aborigine may get up and stoke them or he may not.
Professor Scholander described how the white men got into the act:
"We would lie down stark naked on the ground. We tested two men every night; sometimes it would be two natives and other times it would be one native and one of us. The first night I tried it, I dreamed I was sitting on an iceberg one minute and in a burning house the next." Later on, many of the scientists were able to sleep comfortably most of the night in freezing temperatures.
Tests showed that the natives' foot temperatures dropped more sharply than those of the scientists. "This," said Professor Scholander, "is known as insulative cooling. The principle is the same as a duck standing on ice. The feet are ice cold, preventing heat loss from the body."
Further experiments are planned, but one thing has already been determined: the white man can acclimate himself despite the fact that his adaptability has grown sluggish because it is so rarely called upon.
From the present findings, outdoor sportsmen may conclude that a fall in the lake in wintertime may not be a complete catastrophe if the victim can struggle ashore, set up a windbreak, build two small fires and stretch out between them "proper bush" while his clothing dries out.
Professor Scholander was asked if he found that he himself had retained the degree of adaptability he achieved in Australia. In other words, on this chill, snowy day in Princeton, would he be comfortable outdoors in his shirtsleeves? Or would he shake and shiver like the rest of us?
The professor looked out the window at the snow, then at the roaring fire. "Now I would shake and shiver like the rest of you," he said, "and probably worse."