Domestication of Plants

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					Domestication of Plants
           Group 5
Mary, Courtney, James, Jack and
New light on plant domestication
 and the origins of agriculture
   • Much of the current research on
     the domestication of plants has
     been published by botanists.
   • The earliest and richest evidence
     of plant cultivation has been found
     in Southwest Asia.
           Example: Turkey
• Haçilar and Çatal Hüyük have had
  substantial farming communities since 6000
  to 7000 BC.
• barley, wheat, peas, lentils and bitter vetch
      Nea Nikomedeia (on the
        Macedonian plane)
• -earliest Neolithic site found in Europe
• -it dates from ca. 6000 BC.
• -wheat, barley, lentils
      Huang Ho basin in China
•   the only sites found in the east
•   Neolithic farming economies
•   rice, millet, kaoliang and soy beans.
•   Much less is known about the beginning of
    agriculture in Southeast Asia.
•   Today there are a number of tropical crops,
    especially roots and fruits, but we do not know
    how and when they were domesticated.
•   Reasons why:
•   higher rate of decomposition in the tropics
•   lack of archaeological fieldwork
• Paradox: Africa has the longest record of human
  occupation, but agriculture seems to have
  developed later (5000 BC).
• lower Nile Valley
• cereal cultivation (barley and emmer wheat)
• Sahara
• moister climate
• evidence from plant remains, fossil soils and rock
      Middle and South America
• Mexico
• caves have yielded remains of cultivated plants that date
  back to 7,000 BC
• Tamaulipas (7000-5500 BC)
• annual pepper, pumpkin, bottle gourd
• By 1500 BC- maize, amaranth, sunflower, squash,
  common bean
• evidence of southward diffusion of crops and cultivation
• Peruvian maize closely related to maize found earlier in
  Mexico by genetics
    Methods used to study early
• Carbon 14, Pollen Analysis, Genetics
• Artifacts such as hoes, grindstones, and
  bowls evidence of permanent dwellings.
• Cultural Aspects:
• When a society moves to agriculture
  territory expansion usually follows.
• This can be seen: linguistically, culturally
Guns, Germs, and Steel
     By Jared Diamond
   Chapter Four: Farmer Power
• It was only within the last 11,000 years that some
  peoples turned to what is termed food production:
  That is, domesticating wild animals and plants and
  eating the resulting livestock and crops.
• Different peoples acquired food production at
  different times in prehistory:
   – Aboriginal Australians, never acquired
   – Ancient Chinese acquired independently
   – Egyptians acquired from neighbors
            Ch.4 Continued
• By selecting and growing those few species
  of plants and animals that we can eat so that
  they can constitute 90 percent rather than .1
  percent of the biomass on an acre of land,
  we obtain far more edible calories per acre.
• The first prehistoric farmers in central
  Europe, the so called Linearbandkeramik
  culture that arose slightly before 5000 B.C.,
  were initially confined to soils light enough
  to be tilled by means of hand held digging
  The Benefits of Domestication
• Denser human population
• Food Surplus
• Cotton, linen (flax), and hemp makes
  clothing, blankets, nets, and rope
• The bottle gourd, used as a container
              Chapter Five: History’s Haves and Have-Nots
        Conflict over those with farmer power and those without it
• Agriculture did not arise across the globe.
    – North America’s Artic opposed to Eurasia’s Artic (reindeer herding).
    – Deserts (too arid); central Australia; western United States;
• Why did food production not appear in areas capable of supporting it?
    – Examples: California; Argentine Pampas; southern Australia; Cape of South Africa;
      4,000 years ago United States, England, Much of France, Indonesia, all of
      subequatorial Africa.
• Why did it develop in:
    – Iraq, Iran, Mexico, parts of the Andes, parts of China, and Africa’s Sahel zone?
• Independent development v. Imported Ideas?
    – Why did people in suitable areas not develop crops nor herding on their own?
• Why such varying dates of domestication?
                              Chapter 5 cont.

• Plant and animal remains at archaeological sites identify where
  and when crops/animals were first domesticated.
    – Domesticates are morphologically different than wild species (domestic
      cattle and sheep are larger, chicken and apples are smaller, seeds being
      smoother, etc.).
• Thus able to determine where and when food production
• How? Through Radiocarbon dating.
    – Yet, problems associated with this process. It once required too much
      carbon for small remains – had to use “associated” material like charcoal
      residue – too many variables for exact dating.
    – Today, accelerator mass spectometry is used. It can be used on small
      samples, also represents a direct dating method.
    – Big difference in the methods: Radiocarbon dating from the 1960s and
      ’70s - placed American food production as early as 7,000 BC. Recently,
      it has been put at no later than 3,500 BC
           Calibrated Dating
• Jared Diamond uses Calibrated dates in
  Guns, Germs, and Steel.
• Calibration is used to account for
  fluctuations in the atmospheric carbon ratio.
• Therefore, the dates in his book/his
  presentation may differ from other texts
       How do you decide if the plant or animal was
                 domesticated locally?

• You can map the geographic distribution of the wild
  ancestors of the crops/animals.
• Plot the dates of the domesticated form’s first appearance
  in each region – look for where it appeared first to
  determine initial domestication.
   – Example: Emmer wheat was cultivated in the Fertile Crescent
     circa 8,500 B.C. – it then moves Greece around 6,500 B.C. and
     then Germany around 5,000 B.C.
• Doesn’t always work, as crops/animals can be
  domesticated independently at simultaneous times
 Where, when, and how did food production arise around the world?

• Independent development – domestication of many native crops (and
  some animals) in: Near East/Fertile Crescent; China; Mesoamerica;
  Andes; Eastern South America
    – Africa’s Sahel zone; tropical west Africa; Ethiopia; and New Guinea may
      have been centers too, yet uncertainty exists

• Refer to Figure 5.1 and Table 5.1 for further detail.
 Areas that domesticated some local plants/animals, yet relied largely on
                        imported domesticates.

• “Founder Crops” – allowed for sedentary lifestyle
• Southwest Asia provided the “founder package” for western and
  central Europe between 6,000 B.C. and 3,500 B.C. (although the
  poppy seed, indigenous to the western coast of the Mediterranean, was
  domesticated locally).
• Therefore, food production did not happen independently in western
• Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Indus Valley also borrowed from Southwest
Did local hunter-gatherers become farmers, or
did invading farmers kill or overtake the local
               hunter gatherers?
• Egypt, western Europe, the Cape of South
  Africa, and the American southwest
  represent areas where there is little evidence
  to support local domestication, yet neither
  does it suggest the replacement of
• Thus, hunter-gatherers became
   Food production arising due to the arrival of foreigners

• Occurred in modern times – largely by literate Europeans
  (provided written documents of what happened).
• This happened in: California; the Pacific Northwest of
  North America; the Argentine Pampas; Australia; and
   – These areas were still occupied by hunter-gatherers (Native
     Americans, Native Aborigines, and Native Siberians).
• They were killed, diseased, or displaced by European
  farmers who brought their own crops/animals.
• This also occurred in prehistoric times – Skeletal remains
  provide proof in the absence of written records.
• Also, the farmers brought pottery.
• Only a few areas developed food
  production independently.

• Those that led in food production had an
  advantage in developing guns, germs, and