Plant and Animal Domestication

Plant and Animal Domestication - Plant and Animal...

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Plant and Animal Domestication
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Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
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Why Farm? Hunting and gathering can supply a day’s calories with a couple of hours’ work Many early farmers less well off than hunter-gatherers Line between hunter-gatherers and farmers is fuzzy In rich environments, hunter-gatherers may have permanent settlements (Pacific Northwest) May practice some agriculture along with hunting and gathering (Apaches)
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The Ice Age and Agriculture Sea level rise stops about 7000 years ago Agriculture spreads widely roughly same time Stable coastal plain and river valley environments Warm, dry climate favors spread of wild grains Extinction of megafauna (and domestication candidates?)
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Mediterranean Climate Dry Summer, Rainy Winter Favors plants with seeds that can survive long dry periods These seeds can be stored for extended periods Will not spoil or germinate while dry Eurasian Mediterranean is world’s largest zone, greatest ecological diversity in small areas
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The Fertile Crescent
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Large Seed Grasses 56 species, <1% of total grass species Eurasian Mediterranean 32 species Rest of Eurasia 7 species Sub-Saharan Africa 4 species North America 4 species Mesoamerica 5 species South America 2 species Australia 2 species
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Human Plant Environments Select desirable plants in wild Some seeds, fruits scattered at habitation site Other seeds deposited in wastes Eventually have desirable plants growing close-by Protection from foragers Seed collection
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Plant Domestication More than just planting seeds or transplanting Most plants inedible or otherwise unusable
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This document was uploaded on 12/31/2011.

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Plant and Animal Domestication - Plant and Animal...

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