Friday, August 19, 2011

Things wouldn't have been different

Many people dare to ask, what if human life started in Mesoamerica? What we know for sure is that the Mesoamericans would have spread all through the Americas before reaching Alaska. So much diversity in one land would have let the Native Americans grow as much as they wanted with what they had. This would have given them complete control of their land and would have made them more advanced than Africa, but not Eurasia. Jared Diamond explains that “Africans, despite their apparently enormous head start, would have been overtaken by the earliest Americans within at most a millennium Thereafter, the Americas’ greater area (50 percent greater than Africa’s) and much greater environmental diversity would have given the advantage to Native Americans over Africans” (51). The advantage that Native Americans would have had is that they would have been more environmentally advanced at the time of reaching Eurasia; here they would have clearly understood that they were not the strongest society because they didn’t have the animals and plants that Eurasia had.

Eventually, through the course of time, things would have gone back to normal because the Native Americans would still not have the domestic plants and animals that Eurasia and the rest of the world would had. Once they had reached Eurasia, they would have run into a great number of large mammals. Diamond tells us that “the availability of domestic plants and animals ultimately explains why empires, literacy, and steel weapons developed earliest in Eurasia and later, or not at all, on other continents” (92). It’s not about where humans developed earliest. Human evolution depended on animal evolution and where the animals were located. Humans had control over some animals but they would have never had control of them if they were never there. Eurasia had everything in their land before the existence of mankind. They had most of the land mammals that were controllable and that indeed is why their society developed the way it did. The availability of those animals made a society stronger because it gave them much more than just meat. It provided them with manure for plants to grow and an extra set of muscles to move equipment.

Diamond explains, “In general, the larger the size and the higher the density, the more complex and specialized were the technology and organization” (62).There probably would have been a bigger change in how societies turned out if humans evolved first in Eurasia for they would have had enough time to spread to other lands and take their animals with them. Eurasia and the Americas are almost equally the same in the amount of landmass. Things would have been much different if the Americas just simply had horses but since they didn’t have as much domesticated plants and animals than societies would have ended up the same way as how we are now. Human societies’ development depended on the animals and plants that surrounded them not on how much earlier they evolved before everyone else.

One must still understand that there are many things that can occur and change our planet and its societies. It’s not easy to foreshadow the future after an event like this would have happened. It still would have been great to say that humans first evolved in our continent.


  1. You forgot one aspect: diseases. It would be interesting to see your view of how disease would have developed differently. In my opinion, it would also stay the same. That is, Eurasia would still have the upper-hand in everything. Although there is still a thought that when humans would cross the Bering Strait into Russia, they might meet the livestock of Eurasia and develop resistances towards those diseases.

  2. I enjoyed reading your very different thought. It never occurred to me that it would have been pretty awesome if our continent had led the world and not the one across the pond. However, you should think about the element of surprise. When people are in shock there is no telling how they will react. Will what happened be to much or will they cope and retaliate?

    You mention that even if we had reached Europe before they reached us, within time we would have reverted back to the way things turned out because of fear and lack of knowledge. However, what if the fact that these creatures, Indians, would have taken Europeans by surprise? Maybe the shock of seeing and realizing there is something different out there would have left them vulnerable to be attacked. You have to remember Europe had control because it knew a little of the unknown. They manipulated that and used it to kill whoever was in there way. Think what if Indians had control? What if since they discovered them, the Indians thought they had sovereign rule over them? What if because Indians didn't think they were Gods, but instead others they attacked and killed?