This is a powerpoint presentation to go along with the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It covers the origins of economic stratification by discussing plant and animal domestication,
This is a powerpoint presentation to go along with the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It covers the origins of economic stratification by discussing plant and animal domestication, climate, and geographic advantages.
Axes Note: Why this map? Eurasia Africa The Americas
Development Diagram Ultimate Factors Proximate Factors East/West Axis Ease of species spreading Many suitable wild species Many domesticated plant and animal species Food surpluses, food storage Large, dense, sedentary, stratified societies technology Epidemic disease Political organization, writing Ocean-going ships Guns, steel swords horses
Centers of origin of food production Why did food production not evolve in large, geographically suitable areas of the globe? West Africa? Ethiopia? Sahel? Fertile Crescent China New Guinea? Eastern U.S. Mesoamerica Andes Amazonia?
Species Domesticated Area Plants Animals Date Southwest Asia Wheat, pea, olive Sheep, goat 8,500 BCE China Rice, millet Pig, silkworm By 7,500 BCE Mesoamerica Corn, beans, squash Turkey By 3,500 BCE Andes and Amazonia Potato, manioc Llama, guinea, pig By 3,500 BCE Eastern U.S. Sunflower, goosefoot None 2,500 BCE ? Sahel Sorghum, African rice Guinea fowl By 5,000 BCE ? Tropical West Africa African yams, oil palm None By 3,000 BCE ? Ethiopia Coffee, teff None ? ? New Guinea Sugar cane, banana None By 7,000 BCE
“ Most peasant farmers and herders… aren’t necessarily better off than hunter-gatherers. Time budget studies show that they may spend more rather than fewer hours per day at work than hunter-gatherers do.” (p. 105)
So, why switch?
“ All other things being equal, people seek to maximize their return of calories, protein, or other specific food categories by foraging in a way that yields the most return with the greatest certainty in the least time for the least effort.” (p. 108; anyone recognize the sociological/economic theory here?)
Plant domestication is growing a plant and thereby consciously or unconsciously causing it to change genetically from its wild ancestor in ways making it more useful to human consumers.
How did certain wild plants get turned into crops?
One logical explanation – humans (or other animals) eat the plant, defecate the seed, and it germinates in our feces; we also gather and spit, etc.
But how does this change the genetics of the plant?
“ It may come as a surprise to learn that plant seeds can resist digestion by your gut and nonetheless germinate out of your feces. But any adventurous readers who are not too squeamish can make the test and prove it for themselves.” (p. 116)
5 bonus points if you do this successfully and document it with photos
Mechanism for dispersal of seeds (popping pea pods)
Changed hard coat so all the seeds germinate immediately
Changed form of reproduction (seedless fruits – e.g., bananas)
Why are some plants easier to domesticate than others?
Wild versions are already edible and have high yields
More easily grown
Grow quickly and can be harvested easily
Very little genetic change to become domesticated
Take longer to produce (e.g., fruit trees), but that is okay with sedentary farmers
Required new technologies (e.g., grafting)
Major Crop Domesticates All of these were domesticated basically by the time of the Roman empire. Area Cereals, other grasses Pulses Fiber Roots, tubers Melons Fertile Crescent Emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley Pea, lentil, chickpea Flax - Muskmelon China Foxtail millet, broomcorn millet Soybean, adzuki bean, mung bean Hemp - [muskmelon] Mesoamerica Corn Common bean, tepary bean, scarlet Cotton, yucca, agave Jicama Squashes Andes, Amazonia Quinoa, [corn] Lima bean, common bean, peanut Cotton Manioc, sweet potato, potato, oca Squashes West Africa and Sahel Sorghum, pearl millet, African rice Cowpea, groundnut Cotton African yams Watermelon, bottle gourd India [wheat, barley, rice, sorghum, millets] Hyacinth bean, black gram, green gram Cotton - Cucumber Ethiopia Teff, finger millet [pea, lentil] [flax] - - Eastern U.S. Maygrass, little barley, knotweed, goosefoot - - Jerusalem artichoke Squash New Guinea Sugar cane - - Yams, taro -
Terrestrial herbivore weighing on the average over 100 pounds
Eurasia Sub-Saharan Africa The Americas Australia Candidates 72 51 24 1 Domesticated 13 0 1 0
14 Domestic Mammals Animal Wild ancestor Date (BCE) location Sheep Asiatic mouflon sheep 8000 West and Central Asia Goat Bezoar goat 8000 West Asia Cow Aurochs 6000 Eurasia and North Africa Pig Wild boar 8000 Eurasia and North Africa Horse Wild horses 4000 Southern Russia (minor 9) Arabian camel (1-hump) Wild camel 2500 Arabia Bactrian camel (2-hump) Wild camel 2500 Central Asia Llama and Alpaca Guanaco 3500 Andes Donkey African wild ass 4000 North Africa Reindeer Wild reindeer Northern Eurasia Water buffalo Wild water buffalo 4000 Southeast Asia Yak Wild yak Himalayas and Tibet Bali cattle Banteng Southeast Asia Mithan Gaur India and Burma Eurasian?
If you were a hunter-gatherer what would your reasons be of not becoming a farmer?
Which groups do you think had the most chance of surviving: the hunter-gathers, the farmers, or the group of people that combined the hunter/gatherer’s life style with certain components of the farmer’s lifestyle and why?
Do you think there is a way to eventually solve the “chicken-and-egg” problem: Did rising population cause food production, or did food production cause population to increase?
Why did Australia have no domesticated species? Because of it’s isolation, geography, or both?
I find it weird that people believe the large animals, “picked the 23rd to expire in concert, in the presence of all those supposedly harmless humans.” Clearly they had something to do with the disappearance of these animals. What might the world have been like had they not been killed?
What were the most important advantages of the Fertile Crescent?
On page 88 it was said that "most biomass on land is in the form of wood and leaves" but if there was more biomass available for humans would it change human societies that much?
Gasp... what if there were no horses?? (did we answer this last week?)
What were those pictures of/about or their significance (other than the captions listed under them)?
Did the hunter-gatherers in 11,000 BCE have a lot of children? Is there any way for us to know what the average fertility rate was?
Have there been experiments done with the New Guineans in America? For example, have they been shown pictures of cities or have they seen movies? Do they have the desire to use our weapons and tools or do they not know that it is an option?
Why can reindeer be domesticated while all other deer cannot?
Would other areas such as Africa or the Americas become dominant if Eurasia hadn't become so first?
What were some of the early farming practices that allowed agriculture to develop? Also, what were the key inventions and advancements that contributed to farming?
Diamond (pp. 111-112) identifies the emergence from the Ice Age nearly 13,000 years ago as a factor increasing human population densities, a factor that operated both independently of and as a causal factor for the rise of food production. If this is true, did the geographical effects of the end of the Ice Age provide the same impetus for population growth all over the world, or was Mesopotamia favored once more by geography in this case?
Diamond (pp. 105-107) explains some nuances regarding the differences between food production and hunting/gathering. Neither a sedentary society nor “active managers of land” seems to correspond absolutely with a “food producing” society. What, then, is the key difference between hunting/gathering and food production? Does it have to do with genetic modification of crops/animals versus simply collecting them?