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Guns, Germs, and Steel - Chapter 5

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Rana El Babli

on 21 October 2012

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Transcript of Guns, Germs, and Steel - Chapter 5

--Hunter gatherers is the term used by anthropologists to describe a specific kind of lifestyle, that of all human beings used to live until the invention of agriculture (about 8000 years ago).
-- In traditional hunting and gathering societies, social groups were small, usually made up of either individual family units or a number of related families collected together in a group.
-- Typically women and children collected relatively stationary foods such as plants, eggs, shellfish, and insects, while men hunted the large animals. The diet was well-balanced and plenty, and food was shared. KEY TERMS Summary --The big question in this chapter is why some very ecologically suitable areas failed to adopt food production until modern times.
--More surprising are the areas that we find are the earliest areas of food production such as Mexico, Iraq, and the Andes.
--There are five areas where food production arose independently:Southwest Asia's Fertile Crescent, China, Mesoamerica, the Andes and possibly the Amazon Basin, and eastern United States.
--Southwest Asia has the most accurate radiocarbon dates for early food production as well as the earliest definite dates of plant and animal domestication.
--For areas where foreign agriculturists invaded, the hunter-gatherers either adopted agriculture or were wiped out. HUNTER/GATHERING: Hunter-gatherers hunt animals and collect plant foods rather than grow or tend crops. DOMESTICATION: Domestication is the process by which plants and animals are genetically modified over time by humans for traits that are more advantageous or desirable for humans. FERTILE CRESCENT: a crescent-shaped area of fertile land in the Middle East that extends from the eastern Mediterranean coast through the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the Persian Gulf. It was the center of the Neolithic(STONE AGE) development of agriculture (from 7000 BC). INDIGENOUS: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native. MESOAMERICA: a region and cultural area in the americas extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Independent vs. dependent food production: In a few places food production developed independently, as a result of local people domesticating local plants and animals. In most other places it was instead imported, in the form of crops and livestock that had been domesticated elsewhere (non-independent). --Domestication has played a huge part in the development of humankind.
--It has resulted in the appearance of agriculture as a special form of animal and plant production.
--Especially those animals and plants that became objects of agricultural activity that have changed the most when compared with their wild ancestors.
--People have domesticated dozens of animals, from horses to honeybees.
--Many of these creatures belong to the same species as their closest wild relatives and have essentially the same genetic makeup. Yet they look and act in ways that are quite different, How does it happen?
--When people domesticate animals, they control their behavior in many ways.
--Studies show these physical traits may be genetically linked to the gentle behavior people tend to seek in their livestock and pets.
--The haves and the have-nots, are the difference between peoples with farmer power and those without it, or between those who developed it at different times.

--Jared diamond mentioned that food production never occurred in large areas of the globe, for environmental reasons that still make it difficult or impossible till now.

--He mentioned a few questions in this chapter that involved developments that determined which peoples became history's have-nots, and which became its haves.

1) why was their failure of food production to appear until modern times, even in areas that were environmentally suitable and are among the worlds richest places of agriculture and herding today?

2)why were areas ranked today as somewhat dry or environmentally degraded are the earliest places that developed food production?

3)Why did those areas of non-independent origins were suitable for food production as soon as domesticates had arrived, did not become farmers and herders without outside help by domesticating their own local plants and animals?

4)Among those areas where food production did develop independently, why did the times at which it appeared vary so greatly?
5)Among those areas into which it was imported, why did the date of arrival also vary so greatly?

6) why in some areas did local hunter-gatherers themselves adopt crops and livestock from neighbors and survive as farmers, while in other areas the importation of food production involved an enormous replacement of the region's original hunter-gatherers by invading food producers? --There are places in which food production arose altogether independently, with the domestication of many indigenous crops (and, in some cases, animals) before the arrival of any crops or animals from other areas.
Southwest Asia (Fertile Crescent, China; Mesoamerica, the Andes of South America, and possibly the adjacent Amazon Basin as well; and the eastern United States.

There are places where food production arose independently or may have borrowed from other areas—
Africa's Sahel zone, tropical West Africa, Ethiopia, and New Guinea.

--there is some uncertainty in each case. Haves and Have Nots --The next group of areas consists of ones that did domesticate at least a couple of local plants or animals, but where food production depended mainly on crops and animals that were domesticated elsewhere. Those imported domesticates may be thought of as "founder" crops and animals, because they founded local food production.

--The arriving of founder domesticates increased the chance of local crops' developing from wild plants that were gathered, brought home and planted accidentally, and later planted intentionally.

--three or four such areas, the arriving founder package came from Southwest Asia.
1) Western and central europe
2) Indus Valley
3) Egypt
4) Ethiopia --In other areas, food production began with the arrival of foreign people as well as foreign crops and animals.
--Until recent centuries hunter-gatherers still existed in areas such as California, the Pacific Northwest of North America, the Argentine pampas (native americans), Australia (aboriginal austalians), and Siberia(native siberians).
--Those hunter-gatherers were killed, infected, driven out, or largely replaced by arriving European farmers and herders who brought their own crops and did not domesticate any local wild species after their arrival.
--They found that out because of the books written about it, and also because the newly arriving food producers differed clearly in their skeletons from the hunter-gatherers whom they replaced. Guns, Germs, and Steel Chapter 5 - History's Haves and Have-nots In this chapter we learn:
1. How food production was developed in only certain areas then spread to others
2. Yes, people in some parts of the world would have been more intelligent than in other parts of the world therefore they developed food production first
3. Food production have developed in some parts of the world first
4. Food production wasn’t necessarily developed in the most fertile areas first
5. Simplest animals and plants were produced first To summarize:

--a few areas of the world developed food production independently, and they did so at widely differing times.
--From those independent areas, hunter-gatherers of some neighboring areas learned food production
--People of other neighboring areas were replaced by invading food producers from the independent areas, again at widely differing times.
--People of some areas environmentally suitable for food production neither evolved nor developed agriculture in prehistoric times at all; they stayed as hunter-gatherers until the modern world finally swept upon them.
--The people of areas who were the first to start food production gained a head start on the path leading toward guns, germs, and steel.
--The result was a long series of conflicts between the haves and the have-nots of history. Questions that will be answered in this presentation: 1) What does Diamond mean by history’s “haves?” Who were the “have nots?”

2) What is one method scientists use to determine where the first crops were domesticated

3) What were the five areas where food production clearly arose independently?

4) What were the four areas where it may have arisen independently or may have borrowed from other areas?

5) What “founder package” of plants and animals was first domesticated in Southwest Asia and when were they domesticated?

6) What happened to many hunter-gatherers as food production developed and spread? Radiocarbon dating Archaeologists date food production by radiocarbon dating. It’s a method that is based on the slow decay of radioactive carbon 14. There are two basic forms of carbon: one that occurs naturally, called carbon-12 (12C), and one that forms from processes acting on nitrogen in the atmosphere, called carbon-14 (14C). Both of these combine with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2), which we breathe out and plants take in.
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