GEOG*1220 Unit 2 Notes - ● Desertification occurs when formerly productive land turns into desert ● Much of the world’s population lives and farms

GEOG*1220 Unit 2 Notes - ● Desertification occurs when...

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Desertification occurs when formerly productive land turns into desert Much of the world’s population lives and farms in arid environments Overview 99% of our time on Earth as hunter-gatherers Only in the last 10,000 years has there been any significant change Agricultural societies were important for the next 9,700 years of human existence Homo australopithecus, Homo erectus and, of course, the Homo sapien Homo erectus possesed tools Homo sapiens evolved with brains about 50% larger than the Homo erectus We developed tools and domesticated fire as long as 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 years ago; we learned Tools 2 to 3 million years ago First stone tools were made of rocks like quartzite Natural glass (volcanic rock) like obsidian was used Moved to metal because they provided better flexibility Fire Used to drive game into ambush Burn vegetation Impact of Hunting Between 12,000 and 10,000 years BP, 200 large animals became extinct “Pleistocene Overkill” noted for the decline and loss of herbivores Impact of Gathering May have caused disturbance in local areas due to digging and associated activities
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Sustainability of certain species (like oaks) may have been tested as a result of over-harvesting of acorns Summary Overall, there remains much debate concerning the impact of hunting-gathering societies. The arguments seem to follow along two lines: either, 1) they created no major impact or 2) the populations created major impacts but these were extremely limited in both spatial and temporal dimensions. In fact, in times of abundance they may have created little impact, whereas in times of stress, the impact may have been rather marked. Agricultural Revolution What and Where Agricultural transition required the domestication of flora and fauna “The controlling of the genetics of a plant or animal population by the planned selection of plant seeds and animals' parents” Origins Four lines of evidence archaeologists use to suggest the existence of agriculture at a location 1) species outside their normal range or 2) in suddenly higher numbers than normal or 3) an unnatural sex ratio and or 4) an unexplainable change in appearance of the species Reasons for the transition to agriculture remain somewhat of a mystery Domestication of Plants How did it come about? Possible that we discovered that meadows and openings in forests were important as habitat for certain species of grasses and pre-domesticated cereals?
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Did we discover, while collecting these grains, that other animals liked them as well? Did we learn to defend these grains from bird and animal predation? Did we also learn that our cereals would grow more prolifically if we removed adjacent competing plant species?
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