A History of Human Civilization Jeff Feasel 17 Feb 2006
What we’ll learn • Brief overview of human history. • What does the archeological record show? • Discuss which factors contributed to human civilization.
When Did Human History Happen? [See Timeline] • 200,000 BC: Split from all other Homonid species • 100,000 BC: Anatomically Modern Humans • as shown by fossil bones • 50,000 BC: Cro-Magnons (“Mentally Modern”) • as shown by archaeology • 8,000 BC: First signs of settled life • 4,000 BC: Written record begins
Early Migration of Humans [See Migration Map] • Long before the last Ice Age, people were already spread out through most of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. • Lived as hunter gatherers. • No evidence of farming/herding before Holocene.
Arriving in The New World • “Clovis” people • Broke from Mongoloid population living in Siberia. • Already adapted to arctic conditions • Entered North/South America via land-bridge on Bering Strait. • Exact timing is known because of “airlock” effect. • Tremendous boom! Spread from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in less than 1000 years. • Mass extinction of large land mammals
The Pace of Civilization • 10,000 BC: End of last Ice Age • Humans had reached every habitable area. • Everyone has roughly the same lifestyle: hunter-gatherer. • 1400-1600 AD: European Expansion • Guns vs. Spears • Why did civilization proceed so much faster in some parts of the world than in others? • And what does this tell us about civilization?
Who Had What, and Why? • Mesopotamia • Egypt • Indus River • China • Mesoamerica • Andes • hunter-gatherers: • Southern Africa • Australia / New Guinea • Northern / Western Europe • North Asia [See tables: Earliest Domestication of Animals/Plants]
Natural Resource: Animals [Table of Domesticated Animals] • Uses?? • food, clothing, hunting, transportation, traction • [Necessary for domestication:] • Pack behavior – dominance heirarchy • Able to live in dense groups • Willing to breed in captivity • Usually herbivorous • Usually relatively large (>50 lbs) (often the same animals you’d hunt) • [No new animals domesticated until after the Industrial Revolution.] • Compare New World to Old World. • Why such an imbalance of useful domesticatable animals available? • Luck-of-the-Draw or Mass Extinction • Why weren’t Old World animals hunted to extinction?
Natural Resource: Plants [Table of Domesticated Plants] • Grains and legumes form most of the human diet. • (70% of calories come from cereal) • [Necessary for domestication:] • Fast-maturing • Large-enough seeds or fruits • Storable • Not quite as imbalanced as animals, but still... • Compare New World to Old World • Why did some areas take to farming more than others? • Climatic advantage. • Incoming solar energy gradient. • What are the “sweet-spots”? • Band near, but not on, Equator. • Which are suitable for GRASSES to grow?
Earliest Domestication of Plants [Bracketed crops were borrowed from other cultures]
The Effects of Geography • Climate • Migration of people. • Diffusion (or stimulus diffusion) of domesticated plants/animals and technology.
Putting it all together • What is Civilization? • What factors allow it to happen?
Factors • Climate • Geographical location • Available domesticatable species • Food production (animals, plants) Surplus • Sedentary Lifestyle • Specialization • Increased Population Density • Germs & Immunity • Infrastructure • Exchange of ideas • within culture • across culture
Recommended Reading • Cook, Michael. (2005) A Brief History of the Human Race. W. W. Norton and Company, New York. • Diamond, Jared. (1997)Guns, Germs, and Steel.W. W. Norton and Company, New York. • Diamond, Jared. (1992)The Third Chimpanzee.HarperCollins Publishers, New York.