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AGRI 116 Week 2 Notes

by: Erin Wade

AGRI 116 Week 2 Notes AGRI 116 001

Erin Wade
GPA 3.9

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Plants and Civilizations Prof Camper Week 2 Lecture Notes: Origins and spread of agriculture
Plants and Civilizations
Andrew P. Norton
Class Notes
AGRI166, agriculture, plants, PlantsandCivilizations, Camper
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erin Wade on Thursday September 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to AGRI 116 001 at Colorado State University taught by Andrew P. Norton in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Plants and Civilizations in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences at Colorado State University.

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Date Created: 09/01/16
8/29/16   What  we  think  we  know   -­   Humans  have  been  on  Earth  for  about  2.5  million  years,  modern  humans  for  about   100,000  years   -­   Agricultural  societies  started  independently  about  9 -­11,000  years  ago  in  5 -­7  different   locations  around  the  Earth  and  they  all  started  within  7,000  years  of  each  other     Origins  of  Agriculture:  Crops   -­   Different  species  of  grasses  (cereals)  and  legumes  (beans )  are  domesticated  by   separate  isolated  cultures  around  the  world   -­   Grains  and  beans  have  a  nearly  complete  amino  acid  content  (protein  building  blocks)   -­   Miss-­conceptions  of  hunter-­gatherer  societies  as  being  brutish  cavemen  always   scrambling  to  survive   -­   Evidence  shows  that  hunter -­gatherer  societies  were/are  actually  very  well  fed  and  don’t   have  to  work  that  hard  to  get  the  food  they  need,  they  have  enough  extra  time  to   develop  better  tools,  social  structures,  etc.       Archaeological  Evidence   -­   Scientists  can  get  a n  idea  of  the  diet  and  health  of  ancient  civilizations  through:   ●   Carbon  chemistry  (approximate  age)   ●   Skeletal  Morphology  (disease,  diet)   -­   In  general,  pre-­agricultural  humans  were  healthier  than  those  that  developed  agriculture   ●   Taller   ●   Better  teeth  (because  agr icultural  societies  eat  a  lot  of  corn  which  has  sugars)   ●   Lower  incidence  of  disease  (animal  domestication   -­  living  closer  with  animals  and   getting  diseases  from  them,  over  time  we  have  developed  more  immunities  to   this)   -­   Phytolith  (siliceous  plant  remains)   -­  findings  are  becoming  more  important  in  determining   the  diet  of  pre-­agricultural/early  agricultural  societies   -­   Hunter-­gatherers  maintain  populations  at  or  below  the  carrying  capacity  of  their   environment     8/31/16   Origin  and  Spread  of  Agriculture   8  Theories  of  Agricultural  Origins:   1.   Agriculture  is  a  discovery   -­   Darwin  (1896)  Sauer  (1952)   -­  some  “wise  old  savage”  discovered  useful  plants   on  a  dump  heap  or  in  nature  and  discovered  that  you  could  plant,  cultivate  and   harvest  it.   -­   Assumes  that  agriculture   is  superior  and  the  only  reason  people  didn’t  do  it   before  that  is  because  they  didn’t  know  about  it  yet   2.   Agriculture  from  crowding   -­   Childe  (1952)  -­  His  “propinquity”  theory  that  through  proximity  to  each  other,  and   food  stress  (hunger),  humans  domesticated  plants  and  animals   -­   Propinquity  -­  closeness,  either  physical  or  through  ideas  and  shared  opinions   -­   Assumes  that  agriculture  is  superior/more  efficient  than  gathering  (at  least  in   crowded  areas)   3.   Evolution  (Coevolution)   -­   David  Rindos  -­  Hunter-­gatherers  gradually  changed  plants  through  selecting  and   tending  the  most  desirable  ones   -­   Agriculture  is  not  a  discovery,  but  a  gradual  change  from  hunter -­gather  to   sedentism  to  agriculture   4.   Agriculture  as  an  extension  of  gathering   -­   Binford-­Flannery  (1968)  -­  Agriculture  developed  at  the  edges  of  permanent   settlements  (fishing  villages)   -­   Agriculture  becomes  profitable  when  gathering  ability/reward  is  diminished  for   certain  populations  within  a  system   5.   Need  for  Alcohol   -­   McGovern  (2010,  2013)   -­  Motivation  for  population  sedentism  and  domestication   of  crops  was  to  make  an  alcoholic  beverage  of  some  sort   -­   Agriculture  arose  from  interest  in  alcohol/need  for  social  lubricant   6.   Domestication  for  religious  reasons   -­   Hahn  (1896)  -­  Cattle,  chickens,  or  plants  were  domesticated  for  religious  purpose   (ritual  sacrifice,  etc.)     -­   Assumes  that  agriculture  is  more  efficient  than  gathering   7.   “No  one  theory”  theory   -­   Harlan  (1972)  -­  Agriculture  developed  for  different  reasons  and  by   different   mechanisms  in  different  parts  of  the  world   -­   Problem  is  this  doesn’t  give  us  a  definitive  answer   8.   Chance,  along  with  food  stress   -­   Diamond  (1999)  -­  At  the  end  of  the  last  ice  age  (ca.  13,000  y.a.)  improvements  in   hunting  techniques  resulted  in  a  decli ne  in  large  game   -­   Agriculture  may  have  been  started  many  times,  but  it  was  only  in  a  few  areas   where  the  conditions  were  right  for  it  to  become  dominate  and  then  spread   -­   This  makes  agriculture  sort  of  more  profitable  than  hunter -­gathering     Theories  of  the  Spread  of  Agriculture:   1.   Demographics   -­   Diamond  (1999)  -­  Populations  can  rapidly  increase  in  sedentary  populations   -­   Stable  food  supply  (and  subsequent  development  of  storage  facilities)  buffers   environmental  fluctuations   -­   Can  feed  more  people  per  km2,  but  need  more  labor.  This  adds  pressure  to  have   more  children  to  work   -­   Positive  feedback  loop  of  population  growth  and  greater  production  of  food   2.   Disease  and  disease  resistance   -­   Diamond  (1999)  -­  Many  “diseases  of  crowding”  originated  in  domesticated   animals  and  transferred  to  humans   -­   Agriculturalists  evolved  resistance  to  these  diseases.  When  hunter -­gatherers   visit,  they  get  the  diseases  that  they  do  not  have  a  resistance  to  and  th ey  die   3.   Cultural  and  Technological  developments   -­   Diamond  (1999)  -­  Sedentary,  high  density  populations  allow  for  division  of  labor   -­   tool  makers  vs.  food  producers   -­   Time  to  experiment  with  ceramics,  metals,  etc.     -­   Emergence  of  political  or  religious  hierarchies   -­   Standing  armies      


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