Why agriculture and animal husbandry?

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In the thread Why this is still Amerikkka, there is a lively discussion of the extent to which many sub-Saharan countries are still economically undeveloped as a result of the genes of their inhabitants, the extent to which those genes are responsible for agriculture and sedantry animal husbandry not having developed independently there, and other nonsenses.

I think it would be useful to have a discussion of the general topic of how Homo sapiens came to be socially organised into permanent settlements, how agriculture began, and what the factors behind the development of sedentary animal husbandry were.

First though, some of the existing posts. This is where it seems to have begun:
bobf said:
chroot said:
Just keep in mind, as Evo is trying to point out, that literally hundreds of socioeconomic factors come into play when you try to figure out why blacks score lower on average than asians -- everything from the way black children are treated in kindergarten classes to the schools, neighborhoods, and occupations black people choose in order to minimize their social burden. The disparity in scores is probably not because blacks are inherently less intelligent than asians. All the SAT score disparity shows is that there's an SAT score disparity. Last I checked, SATs were not a reliable indicator of raw intelligence, and I doubt any such test really exists.
How does the lack of advancement in technology in Africa play into this? Why is it that Africa lags so far behind in technology then other countries? Anyone have any in-depth knowledge of the history of the African countries? I hear that the blacks in Africa never advanced to a written language. How true is this?
Then it rolled along ...
bobf said:
chroot said:
I'm no anthropologist, but, to the best of my knowledge, raw human intelligence has not really changed much over the last 10,000 to 50,000 years. Certainly we now have better technology, and have figured out more of the world (math, science, etc.) than our ancestors, but that doesn't mean we are inherently, individually, more intelligent than them.

Although white Europeans happened to be the first to stumble into the Industrial Revolution, black Africans are certainly not necessarily less intelligent.
How does intelligence play into the advancement of technology? Are you suggesting that it doesn't? Why do you think white europeans stumbled into the Industrial Revolution?
bobf said:
All societies were hunters and gathers at one time. Most had to hide from predators, etc. Do you have any proof that white Europeans had it easier? How did the inventions of the Europeans play into their ability to prosper into industrious societies? How was it that whites were able to go to Africa and build modern cities, etc, if they lacked the resources in Africa?
bobf said:
How were whites able to come into the area and build if predation was such a problem? What resources did the europeans have that the Africans didn't that allowed them to become more advanced?

Why havn't the tribes in Africa advanced exponentially like most of the world? Why are the majority of Africans still in tribal garb? What resources exactly are needed in your opinion for infrastructure? I am sure we can find out what resources are both plentiful and scarce in Africa.
chroot said:
bobf said:
I don't pretend to have the answers either, but I don't know how one can say intelligence does not play a role.
I don't know why you continue to ask me questions upon questions, even when I've already explained that I have no formal education on this topic. I don't know if you think this is somehow "debunking" me, but I don't feel it is.

My basic assertion (resource availability, both physical and intellectual, enables civilization advancement) seems plausible enough; do you have any evidence that it cannot be at least partially true?
bobf said:
I have many questions on the topic and find it very interesting. I am just looking for answers myself. My goal is not to debunk your argument, but rather to learn.
bobf said:
jammieg said:
"How were whites able to come into the area and build if predation was such a problem? What resources did the europeans have that the Africans didn't that allowed them to become more advanced?"-bobf
My guess is it was mostly chance, I mean one area of the world had to in all probability start flowering before others although the affects would spread outward, who is to say it was certainly due to any one thing, it may have mostly been chance
Can you provide any evidence that is was chance? What information do you have on the topic? Can you define what you mean by the word chance? Wasn't China very advance at one time in history?
chroot said:
{replying to jammieg} That's essentially what I'm trying to say -- what began as a very small advantage ten thousand years ago, achieved via sheer chance, would bloom into a tremendous advantage today.
Then it went off into the role of intelligence, and the rise of technology; these are topics for different threads. More contributions next.
 

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Nereid
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This post is a kind of transition to the next set of contributions:
iansmith said:
Needs drive progresses. People migrating to europe and asia had different needs than those of africa. These needs had to be fufullied.
Also I know a few african, and from talking to them I get the impression that intellectual persute is not encourage as it is in westernized countries. Culture also drives advances. Europe did not have many advance for centuries due to christian religion.
Anything that Chroot said has been also put foward by anthropologist and historian.
NoahAfrican said:
I do not think that one can take a point in time in the temporal continuum…see what race or region is more technologically advanced, then therefore conclude that that race is superior. This is what some people are alluding or stating when they juxtapose the technological advancement with Africa, with that of Europe.

If such reasoning were valid, one would then ask the question of why and how the Egyptians were so advanced, while the Aryan whites of Europe were living very primitive conditions. The Egyptians were not white like Europeans. Egypt is on the African Continent, although the people were not what we would consider Negroes either. But that is beside the point. If these people were much superior at a point in time, why are not they leading the world today? Thus, I believe this shows to any objective person that who is in front at a point in time in history does not prove an racial superiority.

Also, advancement is like stair steps. One step allows access to the others. The industrial revolution was a step up taken by Europeans, from the steps created in the past by others. Civilization started in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians then advanced humanity. When Egypt fell, the conquerors inherited what Egypt had learned. Then Greece became the power and advanced the knowledge of the Egyptians. Then the Romans Advanced the knowledge built from the Greeks. Then the Barbarians (I wonder what their SES levels were) invasion destroyed Rome, which opened up the era for the domination of Western Europe, who inherited all this knowledge from previous empires.

Trade, militarism and exploitation levels has most often been the conduit to advancement. Trade routes did not develop into the African interior until relatively recently in human history. Africa was not on or in the path of warring and competing empires, or the major trade routs. The Arab slave traders made some roots into East and Northern Black Africa, looking only for slaves.

Also, we must remain cognizant that necessity is the mother of invention. The fact that Africa did not advance to the same degree is likely because they had no pressing need to. One must remember that Africans have been around, according to anthropologist, longer than any other humans, because it is believed that Africa is where humans began. Obviously the black African was doing something right…because we are still here and still growing.

I had to burst some bubbles, however, in NATURE, the only measure of success is in a species or lifes ability to perpetuate its existance via its bloodline. THATS IT. That is the second most prime diretive of all life, behind only survival. That is the ultimate goal of all life and the ultimate measure of success in nature...by those standards...Africans have always been successful, despite disease, famine, droughts, wars, slavery, colonizaition...and we are still growing in numbers.
Nereid said:
The transition to 'agriculture' (includes animal husbandry) appears to have happened at least four times in the 'life' of Homo sap. - the 'middle east' (modern day Turkey? Israel?), the 'east' (China), New Guinea, and 'meso-America' (modern day Belize/Mexico/?). Each may have been independent, but there seems to be no way to test that, in principle, today.

The factors that lead to agriculture have been a topic of much research; Jared Diamond's book (Guns, Germs, and Steel) is a good introduction. How technology developed is also a very rich topic of research, particularly why it followed such different paths in China and Europe.
loseyourname said:
bobf said:
How does intelligence play into the advancement of technology? Are you suggesting that it doesn't? Why do you think white europeans stumbled into the Industrial Revolution?
Consider the landscape of most of Africa. There a few places along the Mediterranean coast and Nile Delta where we might expect advanced civilizations to develop, but that isn't the case with most of the continent. The deserts can't sustain anything but small groups of nomads, the savannahs suffer from heavy predation, and the rainforests are filled with large trees and undergrowth. None of these biomes are conducive to the development of agriculture and the building of cities. Europe, in contrast, is loaded with great port cities and fertile farmland.
bobf said:
loseyourname said:
I think it's also important to remember that the landscape of Europe is more conducive to large scale warfare. The initial civilizations that developed there were subject to a great deal of pressure from warring outsiders, and a good deal of the innovation and invention that came out of Europe was originally of a military nature. Another factor is resources. There isn't a whole lot of steel and gunpowder and such found in Africa, whereas there is in Europe. There is some, but it is not abundant as it is in Europe. Don't forget wood, too. The forests in Europe are a lot easier to clear for lumber than the rainforests in Africa are.
Are you suggesting that african tribes did not engage in warfare? Didn't Europeans conquer some parts of Africa? Why didn't the Africans feel the need to develop ways of protecting themselves from Europeans? Can you supply some links or evidence that Africa lacks steel, gunpowder, etc? Also, what resources are rich in Africa? I hear Africa is rich with Diamonds, why didn't they engage in trade like other countries? Look at Japan, they have no resources, yet they have been every productive and are technologically advanced. How was Japan able to become technologically advanced since they lacked many, many resources.
bobf said:
According to this site, it looks like Africa does have a lot of natural resources:

Natural resource in central Africa

natural resources in northern Africa

There are plenty more maps on that site of natural resources in Africa. With that information, I am not sure we can say that their lack of technological advances was due to a lack of natural resources.

And according to this map, they have many different types of vegetation and climates:

vegetation in Africa
The posts tend to mix up how industrialisation came about with how agriculture etc got started; only parts relevant to the latter will be copied here.
loseyourname said:
The only two regions marked here that would be conducive to agriculture without first clearing a great deal of forest are the Mediterranean region in the North and Temperate Grassland region far to the south. Most of the continent is not.
BlackVision said:
Africa is actually the richest continent when it comes to natural resources.
loseyourname said:
I just want to point out here, for all the posters that will accept no argument other than that African people are intrinsically less intelligent and probably more barbaric than all other humans, think about one thing. Even if that is the case, there must be a reason for it. We all came from a common population at some point. Variation came later, and if that variation includes subpopulations (and eventually races) with lower than average intelligence, then intelligence was not selected for as frequently as in other populations for a reason. You just might consider that maybe the reason something like that might happen is because civilization is more difficult to develop on a continent

1) That is covered in either desert, rainforest, or savannah laden with large predators and bad soil.

2) That has no easily navigable rivers and few good harbors.

3) Does not have cold weather and thus does not give much need for well-built shelter.

4) Does not have easily accessed resources, such as metals and wood, that could be used to build.

The point being that, on a continent with no civilization, high intelligence will be selected for less frequently than on a continent that has high intelligence. A continent like Africa is more likely to have speed, strength, dexterity, and such selected for. You get the picture. You can still be a racist without arguing against all of my points - if that makes a difference.

*This is, of course, in reference to sub-Saharan Africa.
loseyourname said:
You know, I kind of forgot when I was talking about agriculture, but another notable thing about Africa is the lack of domesticable animals. The only one I can think of that is usable is the camel. There are certainly no animals that could be domesticated for food or dairy purposes. The whole point of this, of course, is that agriculture is a precursor to the development of advanced civilizations. The only parts of Africa amenable to agriculture, without first clearing rainforest, are the north coast and Nile Delta, which of course is where we have found the development of advanced civilizations (Carthage, Alexandria, Memphis, etc.).

Heck, I could be entirely wrong. I'm no anthropologist nor an agriculturalist - this is just my common sense hypothesis.
plus said:
Given the huge number of large animals in africa, I do not know why the blacks were unable to domesticate them. Examples: wildebeest, zebra, llama, all of the speces of deer, the hyenas...

And there are no farmers in nigeria, zimbabwe, ....?
 
  • #3
iansmith
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I will restate what I said in the Amerikkka thread

the masai (a pastoral tribe of kenya and tanzaniain close to the vinicity of mount kilimanjaro) have more or less domesticated african cows as a source of food. The masai do not have enclave as in the westernized agricultural system, they moved the cows within a territory in the grassland where good feed is available.

the major problem with westerned agriculture in africa and tropical and equitorial environement is the high degradation of organic waste. Land is only fertile in the first few centimeter of ground. Therefore, nutriment required for organic growth degrades rapidly and in agricultural system it get depleted within 3 years.

https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=282788&postcount=263

Tropical and equitorial environment are productive in terms of diversity and organic matters. The needs of the of hunter and gatherer could be sustained with only the ecosystem production and there was very little need for agriculture. However, soil agriculture is not as sustainable as in other environment due to the high turn over of nutrient required for group. Soils loses a lot of fertility and fertilizer are not as effcient due to the high rate of degradation of organic waste. As you move outside the tropical and equitorial environment, organic nutrient are retained more easily and the turn over of organic matter is slower. The ecosystem is also not as productive as tropical and equatorial environment and settlers probably needed to migrated alot to fulfill the energic needs. The soils could also received more harvest as organic matter degrades slower. manur as fertilizer was not extensively by most of the population untill the dark ages. Other innovation that improved agriculture such as tilage came along. As agriculture developed, the need for labor was lower, and free time became available. Remember that Research and development was a luxury; however, for a community, the benefits were be enormous.
 
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Development History human society into an agricultural based society

hunter/gatherer ---> Pastoral with gathering ---> Pastoral with primitive agriculture --> full time animal husbandry and agriculture.
 
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iansmith said:
Development History human society into an agricultural based society

hunter/gatherer ---> Pastoral with gathering ---> Pastoral with primitive agriculture --> full time animal husbandry and agriculture.

With, of course, engineering and advanced civilization as the next step. I really think this is crucial to understanding why few traces of civilization ever popped up on their own in sub-Saharan Africa. We need to look first at why precursors to civilization never popped up. A single tribe finding one domesticable animal is hardly anything. Of the animals listed by bobf, the only one large enough to be used widely as a source of food and possibly dairy products is the wildebeest. But how the heck are you going to domesticate a wildebeest? Native Americans never domesticated the buffalo, even though they were one of the most agriculturally advanced of all peoples.
 
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iansmith
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Not every type of native americans came into contacts with the buffalo. As far as i remember the native that had a buffalo based "economy" were not the most advance in terms of agriculture. Buffalo were in large productive number and a few dead buffalo were sufficient for needs of the whole tribes for severals months (almost a year). Most of the tribes that had buffalo base "economy" had little needs for developing agriculture, they developed trades with tribes that had an agriculture based economy.

Some animals must of been easy to domesticated as human have domesticated horses, cats, dog and cows fairly early in their evolution. How do you domesticated an aminals? Based on sepculation, you could said that some individuals of a animal tribes are easier to approach and those were probably the first to accomodates human. The desandence of these indivatuals probably became dependent on human as there source of food and other basic needs.

there was a study on this published a few ago
 
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This threat seems to have many subjects. Domenstication of Animals, the rate of human devellopment in Africa etc.

A few loose thoughts come into mind. Domenstication may have started in some form of symbiosis. Several scenarios are imaginable. Humans may have provided shelter food and protection for the animals whereas the animals provided materials and resourses. BTW Humans are not the only species with cattle. Ants do too

As far as the African culture is concerned. The first humans are allegdy coming out of Africa. So why did Africa not stay in the lead in develloping culture? The elements have been summed up here. One thought comes into mind. Was life in central Africa too easy in the past several thousands years with an abundance of food and supply, and not challenging enough to improve on the general conditions? When things get tough and threats emerge, people tend to unite and deal with the anomaly in jointness, forgetting about their personal feuds and quarrels. Their resourcefullness leads to new inventions and hence to a higher state of devellopment.

It's just a thought. No offense intented to anyone.

It's hard to say where civilisation begun, We can date the know artifacts but we may only know a fraction yet. How about this for instance. Culture and Civilisation may have started several ten thousands years ago in America, radically debunking the common archeological party line. Well there must be a reason for the forbidden archeology.
 
  • #8
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I'm trying to keep the topic of this thread to how Homo sap. in various parts of the world came to develop agriculture and animal husbandry; subsequent development - civilisation, technology, etc - will be the topic of a new thread which I haven't started yet.

Re agriculture, Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) makes the case that the size of the grains of plants which became domesticated was extremely important - rice, wheat, corn - and that suitable plants did not grow in regions which never developed agriculture independently - sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, many many islands.

However, it was not the only factor - the reliability of the climate mattered too, as did factors such as soil chemistry (as iansmith mentioned).

Similar ideas around animal husbandry - the species available locally made a huge difference; as loseyourname said, there are few domisticable species in Africa (ditto Australia, the Americas) which is a marked contrast to Europe and much of Asia.

Note that it's not only the challenges of domesticating a wild species - the areal productivity must also permit a huge increase in population density (over hunting & gathering, for example).

Further, there's considerable evidence that the change to permanent agriculture in the Levant and China was accompanied by a marked drop in the health of the average person, as well as a marked increase in the apparent difference in material wealth within the population. In this sense, agriculture certainly wasn't progress!

Finally, as has become clear only fairly recently, many Australian aboriginal groups developed a remarkable understanding of what we'd today call ecology - for example, they used fire to create a landscape which ensured more a reliable and bigger supply of food than the 'natural' one. Similar capabilities to mould the environment to suit Homo sap. is evident in the highlands of New Guinea too. Perhaps many groups in Africa developed comparable capabilities?
 
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Now let's see

the size of the grains of plants which became domesticated was extremely important - rice, wheat, corn - and that suitable plants did not grow in regions which never developed agriculture independently - sub-Saharan Africa, Australia

OK that's important in moderate climate where you need some stock in wintertime. Durable seeds are very suitable of course. Tropical africa provides food all year round.

the reliability of the climate mattered too

Indeed there have been several severe climate changes, however the climate changes thoughout the Holocene were even more severe on the Northern hemisphere. The last 4000 years the climate in Central Africa was rather stabil http://www-bprc.mps.ohio-state.edu/Icecore/589.pdf [Broken]

the species available locally made a huge difference; as loseyourname said, there are few domisticable species in Africa (ditto Australia, the Americas) which is a marked contrast to Europe and much of Asia.

I don't know. Africa has an abundance of species.

Now why could Eurasians succeed in domesticating the fierce Bos Primigenius and why not the African with one of the many herbivores like Syncerus caffer? Why could the Indian Elephant be domesticated and why not the African elephant?

Why would http://www.evolution.uni-greifswald.de/eng/10.php [Broken]? Even in the same genus. Numbers did not even have to increase, the savannah steppe has been more productive the last few thousands years than today given the increased aridness the last few centuries.

Perhaps it was not necessary to do so or perhaps is the secret in those numbers. The wild animals may have been too abundant perhaps or continued to compete successfully against the individuals that were under human control.
 
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  • #10
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Come on folks, discussion.

I hate to kill interesting and promising threads. I made some provacative remarks? didn't I?
 
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iansmith said:
Tropical and equitorial environment are productive in terms of diversity and organic matters. The needs of the of hunter and gatherer could be sustained with only the ecosystem production and there was very little need for agriculture. However, soil agriculture is not as sustainable as in other environment due to the high turn over of nutrient required for group. Soils loses a lot of fertility and fertilizer are not as effcient due to the high rate of degradation of organic waste. As you move outside the tropical and equitorial environment, organic nutrient are retained more easily and the turn over of organic matter is slower.
Can you point us to some reliable source of information that substantiates your assertion? Sub-Saharan Africa contains a variety of landscapes and climatic conditions. Do you wish to state that all of these are unsuitable for diversity of "organic matters?"
 
  • #12
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Andre said:
Come on folks, discussion.

I hate to kill interesting and promising threads. I made some provacative remarks? didn't I?
You did Andre, yes you did. However, to address your points I personally feel the need to understand them, and to know more about this topic in general. It will take me some time to do the necessary reading etc.

Perhaps there are others who are already know something about this? And please, let's not look just at Africa ... perhaps islands up to the size of, say, Corsica simply lacked the land area to have a sufficiently robust ecology to withstand an agricultural Homo sap.?
 
  • #13
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Mandrake said:
Can you point us to some reliable source of information that substantiates your assertion?

What I have stated is found inmost ecology and soil ecology text book. For something online, the review http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00450.x/abs/;jsessionid=c35V9uFZuWd7 [Broken] would be a good source of info if you can get access to it.


Mandrake said:
Sub-Saharan Africa contains a variety of landscapes and climatic conditions. Do you wish to state that all of these are unsuitable for diversity of "organic matters?"

I have generalize my statement to limit the size of my post. Each climates have their own diversity and agriculture suitability.
 
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  • #14
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Nereid said:
I'm trying to keep the topic of this thread to how Homo sap. in various parts of the world came to develop agriculture and animal husbandry; subsequent development - civilisation, technology, etc - will be the topic of a new thread which I haven't started yet.

Re agriculture, Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) makes the case that the size of the grains of plants which became domesticated was extremely important - rice, wheat, corn - and that suitable plants did not grow in regions which never developed agriculture independently - sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, many many islands.
This issue always seemed to be self-evident to me: the African climate is wholly unsuitable for the development of even basic civilization, much less advanced civilization, and thats why it didn't happen there on its own. While the US produces vast surplusses of food, countries in Africa are in a near-perpetual state of famine - that's a pretty severe environmental constraint.
 
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russ_watters said:
This issue always seemed to be self-evident to me: the African climate is wholly unsuitable for the development of even basic civilization, much less advanced civilization, and thats why it didn't happen there on its own.

The mayan civilations were superior to anything produced in sub sahara africa even though there would have been no developments which were passed from the europeans.

While the US produces vast surplusses of food, countries in Africa are in a near-perpetual state of famine - that's a pretty severe environmental constraint.

It is a myth that africa cannot produce enough food. In fact, there is enough farm land in africa to feed the africans several times over. It is just that corruption and lack of organisation mean that they do not feed themselves.
For example in zimbabwe, the white farmers proiduced more than enough food, and there was a food surplus in the country many times over. After the genocide commited against them, the farms are now empty and ignored, and zimbabwe cannot feed its own people.
 
  • #16
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Andre said:
Now let's see



OK that's important in moderate climate where you need some stock in wintertime. Durable seeds are very suitable of course. Tropical africa provides food all year round.



Indeed there have been several severe climate changes, however the climate changes thoughout the Holocene were even more severe on the Northern hemisphere. The last 4000 years the climate in Central Africa was rather stabil http://www-bprc.mps.ohio-state.edu/Icecore/589.pdf [Broken]



I don't know. Africa has an abundance of species.

Now why could Eurasians succeed in domesticating the fierce Bos Primigenius and why not the African with one of the many herbivores like Syncerus caffer? Why could the Indian Elephant be domesticated and why not the African elephant?

Why would http://www.evolution.uni-greifswald.de/eng/10.php [Broken]? Even in the same genus. Numbers did not even have to increase, the savannah steppe has been more productive the last few thousands years than today given the increased aridness the last few centuries.

Perhaps it was not necessary to do so or perhaps is the secret in those numbers. The wild animals may have been too abundant perhaps or continued to compete successfully against the individuals that were under human control.

These are very good points. Some people have stated that the europeans were just lucky to live in an area in which there were edible crops and domesticable animals. Yous post highlights the facts which make their views unlikely.
 
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  • #17
Nereid
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plus said:
The mayan civilations were superior to anything produced in sub sahara africa even though there would have been no developments which were passed from the europeans.
The rise of civilizations is a very interesting question, and I intend to start a thread on it (as well as one on the role of 'intelligence'); for this thread, could we please focus just on the development of permanent agriculture and animal husbandry? ('Permanent' = settlements fixed in time for decades, cf nomadic pastrolism, or 'slash & burn' agriculture).
It is a myth that africa cannot produce enough food. In fact, there is enough farm land in africa to feed the africans several times over. It is just that corruption and lack of organisation mean that they do not feed themselves.
For example in zimbabwe, the white farmers proiduced more than enough food, and there was a food surplus in the country many times over. After the genocide commited against them, the farms are now empty and ignored, and zimbabwe cannot feed its own people.
I think this is an anachronism - applying what we know today to the past; those who lived in what we today call zimbabwe certainly didn't have access to corn, or modern plant genetics! Further, the social organisation of Homo sap. in Africa today bears only casual coincidence to those prevailing 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.
 
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iansmith said:
What I have stated is found inmost ecology and soil ecology text book. For something online, the review http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00450.x/abs/;jsessionid=c35V9uFZuWd7 [Broken] would be a good source of info if you can get access to it.
The material is offered for sale. I didn't buy it, but I did notice that it said nothing about Africa in the abstract. Have you read the whole article? Did it actually discuss Africa?

PHP:
I have generalize my statement to limit the size of my post. Each climates have their own diversity and agriculture suitability.

Sub-Saharan Africa covers a huge area. Your implication seems to be that it has poor agricultural conditions throughout. I have traveled in East Africa and South Africa. In East Africa, I saw a lot of vegitation. One of the concerns at the time I was there was that the expanding farming would cut off animal migration routes. It appears to me that the organic material argument is being offered as an explanation for the virtually complete lack of intellectual accomplishment in Africa? Is that correct?

When I have traveled in the Middle East, I noticed that there was not much organic material, yet many early advanced civilizations started there. I would be interested to learn how the desert is favorable to intellectual accomplishment, but Sub-Saharan Africa is not. I would also be interested to know if all lands occupied by Negroids are poor with respect to organic matter. I am unaware of any Negroid nations that have contributed significantly to human accomplishment. Are there any? If so, what are their accomplishments and how to they compare to those of Asian and European nations?
 
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  • #19
Evo
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Mandrake said:
Sub-Saharan Africa covers a huge area. Your implication seems to be that it has poor agricultural conditions throughout. I have traveled in East Africa and South Africa. In East Africa, I saw a lot of vegitation. One of the concerns at the time I was there was that the expanding farming would cut off animal migration routes. It appears to me that the organic material argument is being offered as an explanation for the virtually complete lack of intellectual accomplishment in Africa? Is that correct?

When I have traveled in the Middle East, I noticed that there was not much organic material, yet many early advanced civilizations started there. I would be interested to learn how the desert is favorable to intellectual accomplishment, but Sub-Saharan Africa is not. I would also be interested to know if all lands occupied by Negroids are poor with respect to organic matter. I am unaware of any Negroid nations that have contributed significantly to human accomplishment. Are there any? If so, what are their accomplishments and how to they compare to those of Asian and European nations?
The same questions can be raised about the tribes in the Amazon Jungle of South America. You could be describing them. It does appear to be more an issue of environment than anything else.
 
  • #20
iansmith
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Mandrake said:
The material is offered for sale. I didn't buy it, but I did notice that it said nothing about Africa in the abstract. Have you read the whole article? Did it actually discuss Africa?

If you are a university, usually you can get access to it. I haven't read the whole article so I don't if they talk about africa specifically but talk about ecosystem that are found in africa.

Mandrake said:
Sub-Saharan Africa covers a huge area. Your implication seems to be that it has poor agricultural conditions throughout. I have traveled in East Africa and South Africa. In East Africa, I saw a lot of vegitation. One of the concerns at the time I was there was that the expanding farming would cut off animal migration routes.

I am not talking about modern agricultural. The problem with the equatorial and tropical forest, for example, the fertile soil, the humus, is not as deep as the humus in temporal environment. Therefore, nutriment in a tropical ecosystem get depleted more rapidly by the vegetation in agriculture compare to temperate ecosystem. In a natural ecosystem, the humus get replete by dead organism. In agriculture decomposing organic matter such as cow manner must be added. Fertilizing was not a technique used extensively.

Mandrake said:
It appears to me that the organic material argument is being offered as an explanation for the virtually complete lack of intellectual accomplishment in Africa? Is that correct?

The argument is based on that some ecosystems produce enough food resources to satisfy the needs of a population whereas other ecosystems required basic agriculture to sustain a population. Needs drives progress. African did not lack any intellectual accomplishment and as a population were extremely successful because their community needed very changes to survive in the environment.

Mandrake said:
When I have traveled in the Middle East, I noticed that there was not much organic material, yet many early advanced civilizations started there. I would be interested to learn how the desert is favorable to intellectual accomplishment, but Sub-Saharan Africa is not.

Most of the agricultural civilization of the middle east settle on river bank. The advantage with settling field in proximity of a river is that you can easily irrigate the fields and river flood naturally fertilize the soil, thus keep you organic nutriment level at the desired level.
 
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Mandrake said:
When I have traveled in the Middle East, I noticed that there was not much organic material, yet many early advanced civilizations started there. I would be interested to learn how the desert is favorable to intellectual accomplishment, but Sub-Saharan Africa is not.
Proximity to rivers was important. Over time, the land of ancient Sumeria, for example, became over-salinated, leading to its decline in intellectual leadership.

I am unaware of any Negroid nations that have contributed significantly to human accomplishment. Are there any? If so, what are their accomplishments and how to they compare to those of Asian and European nations?
Egypt produced the only purely solar calendar in the ancient world. It is considered highly possible that contributions from sub-saharan Africa provided the underlying understanding that enabled the Egyptians to take advantage of their geography to develop such a calendar.
 
  • #22
iansmith
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For online info on soil
http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/modules/soils/soil_development_profiles.html [Broken]
 
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  • #23
Nereid
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Prometheus said:
Mandrake said:
I am unaware of any Negroid nations that have contributed significantly to human accomplishment. Are there any? If so, what are their accomplishments and how to they compare to those of Asian and European nations?
Egypt produced the only purely solar calendar in the ancient world. It is considered highly possible that contributions from sub-saharan Africa provided the underlying understanding that enabled the Egyptians to take advantage of their geography to develop such a calendar.
Welcome to Physics Forums Mandrake!

In starting this thread I was - and am - interested to examine the factors which lead various groups of Homo sap. - in the Levant, in China, in India, in Meso-America, and so on - to develop permanent agricultural settlements. As this seems to be intimately related to the domestication of certain animals, for food and in support of agriculture, the scope also includes the development of animal husbandry. Too, I am interested in why agriculture did not develop independently in Australia, southern Africa, the Pacific islands, and so on.

A great difficulty in exploring this is how to avoid projecting our modern attitudes, beliefs, etc onto the past; even something as simple as 'nation' clearly post-dates the development of agriculture by centuries if not millennia.

Some factors are easily identifiable; climate for example - although groups of Homo sap. lived successfully in tundra, desert, and arctic climates, it's not really a surprise to find that agriculture didn't develop among any of those groups. Equally clearly, climate is not the only factor; parts of Australia have climates similar to those of the parts of India, China, and the Middle East where agriculture did develop (the comparison has to be historical of course; present day climates in many of these places are different from what they were ~10,000 years ago).

Time is also somehow a factor; agriculture took much longer to develop in the Americas than it did in the Levant, with China somewhere in between ... or maybe not (the Americas have been home to Homo sap. for far less time than has China, for example).
 
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Nereid said:
In starting this thread I was - and am - interested to examine the factors which lead various groups of Homo sap. - in the Levant, in China, in India, in Meso-America, and so on - to develop permanent agricultural settlements.
Just a comment - nothing that most people don't know:
Agriculture began after the end of the last ice age, in locations where weather was conducive, near rivers that flooded to refresh the soil, and where appropriate strains of plant life grew wild.

The type of grains available exerted a significant influence on the animal life. For example, the life cycle of wheat encourages the dependence on livestock such as cows, and cows were/are very important in Europe, for example, where wheat is prevalent. The life cycle of rice is different, and discourages the dependence on such as cows, such that cows are not prevalent as a food source in rice developing regions.
 
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Prometheus said:
Proximity to rivers was important. Over time, the land of ancient Sumeria, for example, became over-salinated, leading to its decline in intellectual leadership.
Does this relate to the lack of intellectual accomplishment in Sub-Saharan Africa? When I was there, I saw rivers. Those rivers were healthy and filled with life. I don't get the point of your comment. Can you expand it?

Egypt produced the only purely solar calendar in the ancient world. It is considered highly possible that contributions from sub-saharan Africa provided the underlying understanding that enabled the Egyptians to take advantage of their geography to develop such a calendar.

I presume you understand that Egypt is neither Sub-Saharan, nor a Negroid nation. There are many Negroid nations in Africa and other parts of the world. Is there some reason for not simply explaining why none of them have produced significant intellectual accoumplishments? Or, just provide a list.

It is reasonably obvious that the very low IQs associated with Negroid nations have prevented them from the sorts of intellectual and cultural accomplilshments that have been seen throughout nations populated by the other two primary racial groups. Consider for example: architecture; written language and literature; science; mathematics; medicine; industrialization; even the elementary concept of the wheel; communications; engineering; government; legal systems; monitary systems; naval ships; flight; geographical exploration and mapping; manufacturing; the creation of sophisticated musical instruments; sophisticated written music (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.); sophisticated works of art; and universities.

Which negorid nations have excelled in any of the above list? Can you compare the intellectual accomplishments (as above) for any Sub-Saharan or other Negroid nation to those of any European country?
 

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