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Apples or Indians Why Agriculture Originated In Certain Regions.

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Presentation on theme: "Apples or Indians Why Agriculture Originated In Certain Regions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Apples or Indians Why Agriculture Originated In Certain Regions

2 Apples or Indians Why did agriculture arise where & when it did in certain regions? Possible factors include: –The People, –The Plants, or –The Environment

3 Apples or Indians First, Plants –Over 200,000 species worldwide. –1,000 of which are edible. –Only a few hundred have been domesticated. –Only 12 species make up 80% of current agricultural production. Cereals: wheat, corn, rice, barley and sorghum Pulses: soybeans Roots/tubers: potato, manioc and sweet potato Sugars: sugarcane and sugar beet Fruit: banana –Note that no major crop has been domesticated since Ancient times.

4 Apples or Indians Example: –Where plants domesticated in one region but not in others: Sorghum Flax Eikorn Wheat –But, we should look at the package (portfolio) of all domesticable species. Ancient hunter/gathers would need a large selection of domesticable plants before they would switch to agricultural production –So, did failure to domesticate reside with people or a combination of available plants and suitable environment?

5 Apples or Indians Examine 3 Regions: –Fertile Crescent –New Guinea –Eastern US

6 Apples or Indians Fertile Crescent – Plant Advantages 1)Mediterranean Climate 2)Abundant & Productive Ancient Flora 3)Many Species were Selfers 4)High Nutritional Value

7 Apples or Indians Fertile Crescent – Environmental Advantages 1)Largest Mediterranean Zone 2)Much Climatic Variation 3)Wide Range of Altitude and Topography 4)Wealth of Large Mammals 5)Less Competition from Hunter/Gatherer Lifestyle?

8 Apples or Indians Fertile Crescent has 8 founder crops Cereals: –Emmer wheat –Eikorn wheat –Barley Pulses: –Lentil –Pea –Chickpea Fibre: –Flax Add to this, four large mammals: Goats Sheep Pigs Cows Therefore, A food portfolio that gives a reliable & balanced diet.

9 Apples or Indians 3 More Questions: –Are plant characteristics & environment the only factors in ag development, or do people play a role? Did indigenous people know all local wild species? Did indigenous people use that knowledge to domesticate useful species? The answers are yes and yes.

10 Apples or Indians New Guinea –Local Domesticates Sugarcane Banana Nut Tree Giant Swamp Taro Other grass stems, roots and green veggies –Local Limitations No cereals No large mammals Low nutritional value of local foods

11 Apples or Indians Eastern US –Local Domesticates Squash Sunflower Sumpweed Goosefoot Later: knotweed, maygrass, little barley –Local Limitations No cereals No pulses No fibre or not trees No large mammals

12 Apples or Indians Conclusions: Agriculture developed where it did because of: 1)peoples readiness to accept agriculture. 2)constraints imposed by the availability of wild plants and animals. –However, neither conclusion is absolute.

13 Assigned Readings For Tuesday:Course Reader G G S Zebras …pp41-46pp By Diamond (GGS) Spacious Skies …pp47-54pp By Diamond (GGS)


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