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Unformatted text preview: As a result of those replacements, about 88% of all humans alive today speak some language belonging to one or another of a mere seven language families confined in the early Holocene to two small areas of Eurasia that happened to become the earliest centres of domestication — the Fertile Crescent and parts of China. Through that head start, the inhabitants of those two areas spread their languages and genes over much of the rest of the world. Those localized origins of domestication ultimately explain why this international journal of science is published in an Indo-European language rather than in Basque, Swahili, Quechua or Pitjantjatjara. Much of this review is devoted to domestication itself: its origins, the biological changes involved, its surprising restriction to so few species, the restriction of its geographic origins to so few homelands, and its subsequent geographic expansion from those homelands. I then discuss the consequences of domestication for human societies, the origins of human infectious diseases, expansions of agricultural populations, and human evolutio...
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- Fall '08