Guns, Germs And Steel Plant Presentation[1]


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Guns, Germs And Steel Plant Presentation[1]

  1. 1. Guns, Germs and Steel Jared Diamond
  2. 2. What are some common misconceptions about the origins of food production? <ul><li>That food production was an invention or discovery (it was an evolution) </li></ul><ul><li>That there is a sharp divide between hunters-gatherers and food producers (there are mobile food producers and sedentary hunters-gatherers) </li></ul><ul><li>That hunters-gathers just collect wild produce (many actually must manage the land) </li></ul>
  3. 3. What factors made people shift from hunters-gatherers to food production? <ul><li>Declining availability of wild foods (animal extinctions) </li></ul><ul><li>Less wild game made hunting-gathering less rewarding </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies for collecting, processing and storing food </li></ul><ul><li>Rise in human population and rise in food production </li></ul><ul><li>Food producers displaced or killed hunters-gathers </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is an autocatalytic process? <ul><li>Positive feedback cycle that goes faster and faster once it has started </li></ul><ul><li>Food production allowed sedentary peoples to have more children (with less space in between) which gave rise to need for more food. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is plant domestication? <ul><li>“Growing a plant and thereby causing it to change from its wild ancestor” </li></ul>
  6. 6. What are the criteria that early “farmers” looked for in their plants? <ul><li>Size (think of supermarket apples vs. wild apples) </li></ul><ul><li>Bitterness (almond gene mutation) </li></ul><ul><li>Seedless (reversing the original function of fruit) </li></ul><ul><li>Oil (olive oil) </li></ul><ul><li>Fibers (cotton) </li></ul>
  7. 7. What other “invisible” changes occurred on the road to plant domestication? <ul><li>Dispersal of seeds (ie. pea pods that do not explode to disperse seeds) </li></ul><ul><li>Germination inhibitors (kept plants from sprouting too early) </li></ul><ul><li>Reproductive processes for mutant plants changed </li></ul>
  8. 8. How did natural selection affect plants? <ul><li>Certain individuals in a species adapt or reproduce better than others to changing conditions </li></ul><ul><li>British moths </li></ul>
  9. 9. What accounts for the ease or difficulty in domesticating some plants? <ul><li>Fertile Crescent crops: easy to grow, less growing time, did not need storage, self-pollinating </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit and nut trees: no food for 3 years, planted as cuttings or seeds </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to cultivate fruit trees: grafting and cross-pollination involved. </li></ul>
  10. 10. What are cereals and pulses? <ul><li>Cereal crops are members of the grass family and are fast growing and high in carbohydrates. </li></ul><ul><li>Pulses are high in protein. </li></ul><ul><li>Cereal and pulses make a balanced diet. In some world areas, the cereal was replaced by tubers (like sweet potatoes). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Why do we fail to domesticate some plants? <ul><li>The case of the acorn: </li></ul><ul><li>-Slow growth </li></ul><ul><li>-Squirrels (we humans can’t chose the acorns we want) </li></ul><ul><li>-Bitterness is controlled by many genes in the acorn (instead of many in the case of the almond) </li></ul>
  12. 12. What is the Fertile Crescent? <ul><li>Part of Southwest Asia (the uplands are shaped like a crescent) that served as the earliest site for food production. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Why did the Fertile Crescent’s animals and plants give it such a head start over other areas? <ul><li>Mediterranean climate (mild, wet winters and long, hot summers). Many cereals and pulses are annuals and produce large seeds that are edible. </li></ul><ul><li>Fertile Crescent crops were abundant and productive (unlike teosinte, corn’s ancestor) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-pollinating plants (occassional cross-pollination brought new hybrids) </li></ul>
  14. 14. What advantages did the Fertile Crescent have over other areas with Mediterranean climates (like South Africa or Chile)? <ul><li>Largest zone with a Mediterranean climate </li></ul><ul><li>Highest climatic variation and therefore most diverse annuals </li></ul><ul><li>Range of elevations (staggered harvests-starting in valleys until seeds matured) </li></ul><ul><li>Four species of big mammals: goat, sheep, pig and cow (paired with cereals and pulses for complete diet) </li></ul><ul><li>Food production package superior to hunting and gathering (gazelles were few, fishing not option) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Do hunters-gathers and farmers really know all of the plant species available to them or did they over look some plants that could have been domesticated? <ul><li>Studies show that people that rely on wild foods are “walking encyclopedias” with knowledge on the species characteristics and uses </li></ul><ul><li>Case: Tell Abu Hureyra (157 species of seeds, none that would be harmful to people) </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient peoples knew which wild species were best to cultivate </li></ul>
  16. 16. What were some of the challenges that New Guinea faced with regards to food production? <ul><li>No cereal crops were domesticated (but not one of the 56 large seeded grasses is native to the island!) </li></ul><ul><li>No large mammal species (until pig, chicken and dog came from Asia) so protein deficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Native root crops did not produce enough to sustain dense populations (sweet potato changed that) </li></ul>
  17. 17. What were some of the challenges that the Eastern United States faced with regards to food production? <ul><li>Four founder crops were grown for edible seeds and were only a supplement to wild foods (like fish and birds) </li></ul><ul><li>Small yield of founder crops </li></ul><ul><li>No domesticated animals (just dogs) </li></ul>
  18. 18. What does examination of New Guinea, the Fertile Crescent and Eastern United States tell us? <ul><li>Successful food production was not tied to the people but the available “suite” of local animals and plants </li></ul><ul><li>Those areas that did not begin food production indigenously at all might have had even less wild plants and animals available to them </li></ul>
  19. 19. Diamond’s Caveats <ul><li>The adoption of new food products is mostly the rule (in “the long run and over large areas”). There are always exceptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Those areas that did not develop indigenous food production might have…given time. </li></ul>
  20. 20. According to Diamond, who was responsible for the failure to domesticate apples in North America--the Indians or the apples? <ul><li>NEITHER! The entire “suite” of plant and animals species available to be domesticated in North America was not as strong. </li></ul><ul><li>Apples are difficult to domesticate (need to use grafting). </li></ul>
  21. 21. Log Hints <ul><li>Spell out number 1) when you begin a sentence with it and 2) if it is two or three words long. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorrect: 829 men invaded the island. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct: Eight-hundred and twenty-nine men invaded the island according to the author. OR </li></ul><ul><li>According to the author, 829 men invaded the island. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Log Hints <ul><li>Watch punctuation…. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance sometimes climate was a factor in whether people adopted food production. </li></ul><ul><li>In the Second Chapter “A Natural Experiment of History the author shows an example of two different Polynesian tribes Moriori and Maori. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Log Hints <ul><li>If you are going to cite the author’s work, use MLA style. Put quotes around the passage when it is taken verbatim from the book. For example: </li></ul><ul><li>According to Diamond, “there is no large-scale cultivation of apples even in the Fertile Crescent” (156). </li></ul><ul><li>The argument for the environmental advantages some people had over others is bolstered by the fact that “there is no large-scale cultivation of apples even in the Fertile Crescent” (Diamond 156). </li></ul>
  24. 24. Log Hints <ul><li>Use transition sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific </li></ul><ul><li>Use sentence variety </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to edit your work </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on the material: How does what this author said affect me? Do I agree with what the author said? Why or why not? Do I think that the author is biased in some way? </li></ul>