Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flora and Domestication

Well there are three important factors that helped plant domestication: climate region, ancestry, and self pollination plants or "selfers". (pg 136-138)

Climate is important factor in plant domestication in the Fertile Crescent. It has a Mediterranean climate which means it has hot summers and wet winters. The plants have adapted to produce seeds that'll last the dry season and flourish when the rain comes. This allowed gatherers to stay in the area and plant these for the wet season.

The Ancestry of Fertile Crescent plants helped the domestication even further. That is, the ancestry of plants in the Crescent were already productive and abundant. The abundance of these plants allowed gatherers to stay in the area and harvest the grains.

To fertilize one's self is an important aspect in the Fertile Crescent. It basically helps plants keep some of their most important traits while other plants that do not fertilize themselves rick the chance of losing their traits that are important for us. Gatherers were helped by this aspect because the plants had a good "reproductive biology" and that at these plants can also be cross polinated at times to create a new set of plants with the traits that humans need and gain more nutritional value.

If these techniques were developed in Mesoamerica, there is a possibility that Domestication would have developed there. But instead, they are left with crops such as corn which Diamond described as having "lower protein content that posed significant nutritional problems." (pg. 138)


  1. I'm a bit confused when you say technique. When I think of technique I don't think of the flora crescent only because it wasn't a technique. It was nature at work. It was it's biology that allowed it to have those qualities. Of course that biology was responsive to the surrounding environment.

    Do you think that domestication if possible in Mesoamerica would have been better or worse? As we learned the reason the flora crescent prospered was because of it's location. What do you think are the factors that allowed for Mesoamerica to only have corn? And why is that not such a good thing? Other than the fact that it is low in protein.

  2. You make valid points, however, I am leaning more towards the fact that it was Eurasia's east-west alignment that made it possible for plants to prosper. The Fertile Crescent was the area with the richest land and ideal climate for plants such as wheat and barely to grow. I would not say the same is possible in Mesoamerica. The only plants being grown in Mesoamerica were significantly low in protein and overall nutrition compared to those in Eurasia. The reason for Eurasia's success was the fact that most of the land had the same climate and daylight hours in relation to the Fertile Crescent. Expansion to the east and west is what made Europeans so lucky.