AGRI 116 Week 2 Notes
AGRI 116 Week 2 Notes AGRI 116 001
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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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