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Plants and People Chapter 21. Human origins Homo habilis H. erectus H. sapiens Australopithecus anamensis A. robustus A. boisei A. afarensis A. aethiopicus.

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Presentation on theme: "Plants and People Chapter 21. Human origins Homo habilis H. erectus H. sapiens Australopithecus anamensis A. robustus A. boisei A. afarensis A. aethiopicus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plants and People Chapter 21

2 Human origins Homo habilis H. erectus H. sapiens Australopithecus anamensis A. robustus A. boisei A. afarensis A. aethiopicus A. africanus A. garhi 5 mya4 mya3 mya2 mya1 myapresent 7 mya - diverged from ancestors of living great apes 5 mya immediate antecedents (Australopithecus) first appeared 2 mya – Homo first appeared 1.4 mya fire use 500,000 ya H. sapiens Africa origin 250,000 ya Eurasia Australopithecus robustus 1 mya

3 Human origins Neanderthal people 34,000 ya disappeared from Europe & Asia replaced by modern humans migrated over entire globe reach North America 14,000 ya hunter-gatherer society

4 11,000 ya some people turned to food production domestication of wild plants and animals for food not all people developed agriculture Centers of food production, from Diamond, J Guns, Germs, Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Human agriculture origins

5 Agriculture origins plant selection and cultivation select few eatable species grow in great numbers 90% of biomass on acre of land result: feed 10 to 100X more herders & farmers compared to hunter gatherers

6 Organisms for Food Most biomass wood & leaves Most food useless for food indigestible (like bark) poisonous (monarch butterflies & death cap mushrooms) low in nutritional value (jellyfish) tedious to prepare (very small nuts) difficult to gather (larvae of most insects) dangerous to hunt (rhinoceroses)

7 Agriculture origins Fertile Crescent initial plants (by 8,500 ya) barley wheat pulses soon following l entils peas additionally chick peas vetch olives dates pomegranates grapes flax Fertile Crescent. Origin of agriculture, extends into what now is known as Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Israel.

8 Agriculture Foundations Traits of domesticated plants of the Fertile Crescent annuals energy to produce BIG SEEDS advantage for Mediterranean climate: must withstand dry season and grow quickly when rains fall wild ancestors already abundant & highly productive 50 calories of food energy / calorie of work expended from harvesting thus storage of seeds were possible two traits easily selected for with cultivation breakdown of natural seed dispersal & germination inhibition high % of bisexual selfers tended to “breed true” with occasional mutant high protein content in 3 of first 8 selfer cereals 8-12 % protein; far higher than rice or corn

9 Agriculture Today 350,000 angiosperm species few hundred domesticated dozen species account for 80% of crops worldwide cereals wheat corn rice barley sorghum soybean roots/tubers potato manioc sweet potato sugar sources sugarcane sugar beet banana “Our failure to domesticate even a single major new food plant in modern times suggests that ancient peoples really may have explored virtually all useful wild plants and domesticated all the ones worth domesticating.” Diamond, 1997

10 Human origins domesticated animals meat (replaced wild game protein) milk fertilizer pulling plows major five sheep goat cow pig horse minor nine Arabian camel Bactrian camel Llama or alpaca Donkey Reindeer Water buffalo Yak Bali cattle Mithan

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