Thursday, August 11, 2011

Human Evolution

I think that animal domestication would not have changed even if humans have evolved in Mesoamerica. As Diamond says in his book, “In all, of the world’s 148 big wild terrestrial herbivorous mammals, the candidates for domestication-only 14 passed the test,” (168). This means that even if humans evolved in Mesoamerica; the same 14 animals that were domesticated when life began in Africa would have been domesticated as well. This shows that since most of these domesticate able animals were found in Europe; they would have been domesticated once the humans from Mesoamerica reached Europe. As we know Mesoamerica had many animals, yet most of them went instinct when the human population was introduced. This indicates that humans would have taken a longer amount of time to domesticate animals since most of the domesticated animals were found in Eurasia. I also believed that it would have taken the Mesoamericans a lot more time to reach Eurasia or to spread through Mesoamerica since the horse was not available in this region. The chart located in page 160 of the books gives us a good idea of all the animals that can be domesticated and we can see most of these animals were native to Asia and Europe.
I really do not think society will be much different now if human life had evolved in Mesoamerica. Life evolved in Africa and yet Africa was and still is one of the least industrialized continents in the world. Maybe it would have taken Europeans a little longer to take over, but I think they would have still taken over. I believe everything has to do with location. According to the chart in page 140 the area with the biggest amount of grass species was located in Eurasia. This put Eurasia a step ahead already because they now have more food available most of these plants were really high in protein. Also most of the grains that were available in the Fertile Crescent are cereals crops that have “the virtues of being fast growing, high in carbohydrates, and yielding up to a ton of edible food per hectare cultivated,” (125). This meant that they could support a community and that leads to bigger and bigger populations since now people no longer have to move around. They now had all these big amount of good cereals, so they were able to settle down and that is how specialization then develops. People no longer have to worry about hunting and gathering, so they now begin specialize in thing like irrigation systems, and metal work, armies to protect the town.
The landscape also played a big role in the course of history. Eurasia is the biggest landmass on the earth. It also had a pretty good climate and variety of landscapes. It had mountains, rivers, just enough rain. There is a place referred to as the Fertile Crescent where there is lot of variety and it was good for place for people to become farmers. Plants did not only grow in the top of mountains, but it also grew in the bottom of mountains right by the rivers. Since not all plants were dependent on rain water, this means that people had different plants to eat not only water dependent plants. Unlike other places like in North America where most of the land was high or too dry. This allows to bigger populations to grow around this part of the world since there is more food abundant. Maybe in Mesoamerica they were also some really good climates, but Mesoamerica did not have as many species as Eurasia. Mesoamerica had many plants that took quite a long time to grow and many of the type it was not like in the Fertile Crescent where they were plants that could pollinate themselves.
Overall I think that if life would have started in Mesoamerica there would have not been many alterations compared to the life we have today. The domesticated animals had to come from Eurasia, the domesticated animals allowed people to settle and create bigger communities that will eventually take over smaller communities. The lack of plant abundance also plays a big role since as we know Eurasia had the biggest variation of plants. This allows for people to choose to become farmers rather than hunters. The movement of humans in my opinion has little impact of how life became to be its all about where things are located.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with your post. The course of history would of probably been different but not much. Humans were big and we can blame our ancestors for making big improvements and advances in societies. But what started the people to make complex societies were the plants and animals that surrounded them. Yes,the hard working people made it easier for a society to become more advanced but if it wasn't for the help of their Domesticated animals then who knows what would of really happened.