The Rise of Food Production Humanity’s Ecological Turning Point. Effects of Food Production. More Available Calories per Person Supports Larger Populations Supports Large Domestic Animals Permits More Frequent Births Permits Storage of Food Surpluses Introduces Diseases of Dense Populations.
The Rise of Food ProductionHumanity’s Ecological Turning Point
By selecting and growing food humans eat up to 90% of an acre’s calories vs 0.1%
Food production increased the number of humans supported by a given territory by orders of magnitude, 10 or even 100 times more people.
Domestic livestock provide:
Permits non-food producing vocations:
Beginning of social organization
(Think Cutting Tools)
Most domesticated plants and animals differ from their wild ancestors. Morphological characteristics such as: Smaller (cows and sheep) or Larger (chickens and apples) sizes, smoother and thinner seed coats (peas) are attested to by the remains at numerous known and dated archeological sites.
The Problem of Chickpeas
Khosian South Africa
Southwestern United States
Only today do peoples of the developed world raise little or none of their own food.
Time budget studies indicate that hunter gatherers may have spent less time obtaining food than farmers.
Remains of the first farmers were smaller, less well-nourished, more diseased and died younger than hunter gatherers.
Size – Berries, Peas, Wheat
Taste – Almond, Lima Beans, Potatoes
Fleshiness/Seedlessness – Squash, Bananas, Pumpkins
Oily Seeds – Olives, Sesame, Poppy
Long Fibers – Cotton, Flax and Hemp
180-degree evolutionary turn
sow / grow / harvest / sow
Dioecious & hermaphrodites
2.Fruit and Nut Trees
“Thus by Roman times, almost all of today’s leading crops were being cultivated somewhere in the world.”
Not another major food plant despite all our technology and power
Pulses, Tubers, Etc…
The Fertile Crescent
Where it all begins
?Tropical W. Africa
by 7,500 BC
by 3,500 BC
by 3,500 BC
by 5,000 BC
by 3,000 BC
Out of 1,000’s of grasses, 56 species have 10-times median seed size. Of these 32 are found in the Fertile Crescent
This is it, the whole nutritious package
Tell Abu Hureyra in Euphrates Valley, Syria
Anna Karenina Principle
For most things, success actually requires avoiding many separate possible causes of failure.
All domesticate animals are alike, all non-domestic animals are not, in their own way.
What is Big?
Over 100 pounds
Yes, there are others: ducks, geese, chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits
“An animal selectively bred in captivity and thereby modified from its wild ancestors for use by humans, who control breeding and food supply.”
It involves human selection of individuals and the automatic evolutionary response to the altered forces of natural selection
Domesticated and tamed are not the same thing
The Major Five:
The Minor Nine:
Llama / Alpaca
Dog10,000 BCSW Asia, China, N. Am.
Sheep 8,000 BCSW Asia
Goat 8,000 BCSW Asia
Pig 8,000 BCSW Asia, China
Cow 6,000 BCSW Asia, India, N. Africa
Horse 4,000 BCUkraine
Donkey 4,000 BCEgypt
Water Buffalo 4,000 BCChina (?)
Llama 3,500 BCAndes
Bactrn. Camel 2,500 BCCentral Asia
Arabian Camel2,500 BCArabia
Are there pre-established limits upon the ecological reach of humans, within which we must sustainably operate?