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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.
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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)
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
3. Fruit Trees
Not another major food plant despite all our technology and power
Where it all begins
Out of 1,000’s of grasses, 56 species have 10-times median seed size. Of these 32 are found in the Fertile Crescent
Tell Abu Hureyra in Euphrates Valley, Syria
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 Minor Nine:
Llama / Alpaca
GaurThere are only 14 species of big mammals domesticated before the 20th Century
Continent Candidates Domesticates
Eurasia 72 13
Africa 51 0
Americas 24 1
Australia 1 0
Dog 10,000 BC SW Asia, China, N. Am.
Sheep 8,000 BC SW Asia
Goat 8,000 BC SW Asia
Pig 8,000 BC SW Asia, China
Cow 6,000 BC SW Asia, India, N. Africa
Horse 4,000 BC Ukraine
Donkey 4,000 BC Egypt
Water Buffalo 4,000 BC China (?)
Llama 3,500 BC Andes
Bactrn. Camel 2,500 BC Central Asia
Arabian Camel2,500 BC Arabia