Monday, August 22, 2011

Floras impact in the Fertile Crescent

The three aspects that gave the Fertile Crescent such a large advantage over so many other areas in terms of plant domestication were its climate, its availability of domestic able plants, and the fact that the domestic able plants able to self-pollinate.

The climate of the Fertile Crescent is a Mediterranean zone, with wet winters and hot dry summers. The plants of the Fertile Crescent adapted to the weather and due to this adaptation they produce large edible seeds, rather than use energy trying to create fibrous or wood stems (136). The fact that the seeds remain dormant until the winter is also very important, because it encouraged people to start farming and cultivating these plants for their seeds, which eventually led to a sedentary lifestyle as opposed to the hunter gather lifestyle.

The second aspect is that the Fertile Crescent had such an abundance of domestic able plants compared to other areas. A possible reason as to the Fertile Crescents abundance in plants is the fact that it has the largest zone of Mediterranean climate in the world; this larger landmass also means a higher diversity of plants and animals available for domestication. (138) Not only was there an abundance of domestic able plants but these plants were very useful. They had a large return rate of energy for the amount of hours put into planting them; they also had large seeds unlike the seeds of North American plants such as Goosefoot, knotweed, little barely, and maygrass which had tiny seeds (151). Although those North American plants had a lot of nutritional value their small seeds made them undesirable to the North American people. Obviously such was not the case with the plants in the Fertile Crescent due to their large size.

Lastly the fact that Fertile Crescent contains a large percentage of hermaphrodic plants played a big role in the fertile crescents advantage over other Mediterranean climates. These plants were capable of pollinating themselves, however on occasion they could cross pollinate. The reason that this was so important was that once a favorable mutation in a plant was acquired it would not be lost due to cross pollination in the next generation; instead that mutant plant would reproduce itself leaving the mutation untouched. This meant that the favorable mutation could then be reproduced and a crop could be formed, with time.

Had these same aspects been present in Mesoamerica It is likely that agriculture would have risen there much earlier and it would have been much more productive. Agriculture would have spread throughout all of Mesoamerica. However, it would not have spread throughout the rest of the Americas due to the geographical barriers such as deserts, mountains, and tropical jungles.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you in every way. I think all those factors played a huge role. However, I think there is one that includes all of them and is just or more important: location.

    It wasn't only that the Fertile Crescent had all those things available, it was also that the geography of that area was better. All the different landscapes made it a better habitat. Without either one of all those factors the Fertile Crescent would have been damaged. It wouldn't have been as productive as it was.