history essay

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Read the two assigned articles for Lecture Module 1 and post your answers to the following questions in your discussion group. At the end of your post, you MUST pose a question for other students to respond to. Your post needs to be at least 300 words. Refrain from writing more than 400 words.

Lecture Module 1 Readings: All these readings are post in file.

Jared Diamond, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” in Discover Magazine, May 1987. (6 pages) and Jared Diamond, “Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principle,” in Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997).


According to Jared Diamond in “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” what was the worst mistake in human history and why?

Jared Diamond begins his chapter on “Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principle” with the statement, “Domesticable Animals are all alike; every undomesticable animal is undomesticable in its own way.” What does he mean by this? Give an example.

Discover Magazine May 1987 Opinion The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race By Jared Diamond University of California at Los Angeles Medical School Discover Magazine, May 1987 Pages 64-66 Illustrations by Elliott Danfield To science we owe dramatic changes in our smug self-image. Astronomy taught us that our earth isn’t the center of the universe but merely one of billions of heavenly bodies. From biology we learned that we weren’t specially created by God but evolved along with millions of other species. Now archaeology is demolishing another sacred belief: that human history over the past million years has been a long tale of progress. In particular, recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence. At first, the evidence against this revisionist interpretation will strike twentieth century Americans as irrefutable. We’re better off in almost every respect than people of the Middle Ages, who in turn had it easier than cavemen, who in turn were better off than apes. Just count our advantages. We enjoy the most abundant and varied foods, the best tools and material goods, some of the longest and healthiest lives, in history. Most of us are safe from starvation and predators. We get our energy from oil and machines, not from our sweat. What neo-Luddite among us would trade his life for that of a medieval peasant, a caveman, or an ape? For most of our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering: we hunted wild animals and foraged for wild plants. It’s a life that philosophers have traditionally regarded as nasty, brutish, and short. Since no food is grown and little is stored, there is (in this view) no respite from the struggle that starts anew each day to find wild foods and avoid starving. Our escape from this misery was facilitated only 10,000 years ago, when in different parts of the world people began to domesticate plants and animals. The agricultural revolution spread until today it’s nearly universal and few tribes of huntergatherers survive. From the progressivist perspective on which I was brought up, to ask "Why did almost all our hunter-gatherer ancestors adopt agriculture?" is silly. Of course they adopted it because agriculture is an efficient way to get more food for less work. Planted crops yield far more tons per acre than roots and berries. Just imagine a band of savages, exhausted from searching for nuts or chasing wild animals, suddenly grazing for the first time at a fruit-laden orchard or a pasture full of sheep. How many milliseconds do you think it would take them to appreciate the advantages of agriculture? The progressivist party line sometimes even goes so far as to credit agriculture with the remarkable flowering of art that has taken place over the past few thousand years. Since crops can be stored, and since it takes less time to pick food from a garden than to find it in the wild, agriculture gave us free time that hunter-gatherers never had. Thus it was agriculture that enabled us to build the Parthenon and compose the B-minor Mass. While the case for the progressivist view seems overwhelming, it’s hard to prove. How do you show that the lives of people 10,000 years ago got better when they abandoned hunting and gathering for farming? Until recently, archaeologists had to resort to indirect tests, whose results (surprisingly) failed to support the progressivist view. Here’s one example of an indirect test: Are twentieth century hunter-gatherers really worse off than farmers? Scattered throughout the world, several dozen groups of so-called primitive people, like the Kalahari bushmen, continue to support themselves that way. It turns out that these people have plenty of leisure time, sleep a good deal, and work less hard than their farming neighbors. For instance, the average time devoted each week to obtaining food is only 12 to 19 hours for one group of Bushmen, 14 hours or less for the Hadza nomads of Tanzania. One Bushman, when asked why he hadn’t emulated neighboring tribes by adopting agriculture, replied, "Why should we, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world?" While farmers concentrate on high-carbohydrate crops like rice and potatoes, the mix of wild plants and animals in the diets of surviving hunter-gatherers provides more protein and a better balance of other nutrients. In one study, the Bushmen’s average daily food intake (during a month when food was plentiful) was 2,140 calories and 93 grams of protein, considerably greater than the recommended daily allowance for people of their size. It’s almost inconceivable that Bushmen, who eat 75 or so wild plants, could die of starvation the way hundreds of thousands of Irish farmers and their families did during the potato famine of the 1840s. So the lives of at least the surviving hunter-gatherers aren’t nasty and brutish, even though farmers have pushed them into some of the world’s worst real estate. But modern hunter-gatherer societies that have rubbed shoulders with farming societies for thousands of years don’t tell us about conditions before the agricultural revolution. The progressivist view is really making a claim about the distant past: that the lives of primitive people improved when they switched from gathering to farming. Archaeologists can date that switch by distinguishing remains of wild plants and animals from those of domesticated ones in prehistoric garbage dumps. How can one deduce the health of the prehistoric garbage makers, and thereby directly test the progressivist view? That question has become answerable only in recent years, in part through the newly emerging techniques of paleopathology, the study of signs of disease in the remains of ancient peoples. In some lucky situations, the paleopathologist has almost as much material to study as a pathologist today. For example, archaeologists in the Chilean deserts found well preserved mummies whose medical conditions at time of death could be determined by autopsy (Discover, October). And feces of long-dead Indians who lived in dry caves in Nevada remain sufficiently well preserved to be examined for hookworm and other parasites. Usually the only human remains available for study are skeletons, but they permit a surprising number of deductions. To begin with, a skeleton reveals its owner’s sex, weight, and approximate age. In the few cases where there are many skeletons, one can construct mortality tables like the ones life insurance companies use to calculate expected life span and risk of death at any given age. Paleopathologists can also calculate growth rates by measuring bones of people of different ages, examine teeth for enamel defects (signs of childhood malnutrition), and recognize scars left on bones by anemia, tuberculosis, leprosy, and other diseases. One straight forward example of what paleopathologists have learned from skeletons concerns historical changes in height. Skeletons from Greece and Turkey show that the average height of hunger-gatherers toward the end of the ice ages was a generous 5’ 9" for men, 5’ 5" for women. With the adoption of agriculture, height crashed, and by 3000 B. C. had reached a low of only 5’ 3" for men, 5’ for women. By classical times heights were very slowly on the rise again, but modern Greeks and Turks have still not regained the average height of their distant ancestors. Another example of paleopathology at work is the study of Indian skeletons from burial mounds in the Illinois and Ohio river valleys. At Dickson Mounds, located near the confluence of the Spoon and Illinois rivers, archaeologists have excavated some 800 skeletons that paint a picture of the health changes that occurred when a hunter-gatherer culture gave way to intensive maize farming around A. D. 1150. Studies by George Armelagos and his colleagues then at the University of Massachusetts show these early farmers paid a price for their new-found livelihood. Compared to the hunter-gatherers who preceded them, the farmers had a nearly 50 per cent increase in enamel defects indicative of malnutrition, a fourfold increase in iron-deficiency anemia (evidenced bya bone condition called porotic hyperostosis), a threefold rise in bone lesions reflecting infectious disease in general, and an increase in degenerative conditions of the spine, probably reflecting a lot of hard physical labor. "Life expectancy at birth in the preagricultural community was bout twenty-six years," says Armelagos, "but in the postagricultural community it was nineteen years. So these episodes of nutritional stress and infectious disease were seriously affecting their ability to survive." The evidence suggests that the Indians at Dickson Mounds, like many other primitive peoples, took up farming not by choice but from necessity in order to feed their constantly growing numbers. "I don’t think most hunger-gatherers farmed until they had to, and when they switched to farming they traded quality for quantity," says Mark Cohen of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, co-editor with Armelagos, of one of the seminal books in the field, Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture. "When I first started making that argument ten years ago, not many people agreed with me. Now it’s become a respectable, albeit controversial, side of the debate." There are at least three sets of reasons to explain the findings that agriculture was bad for health. First, hunter-gatherers enjoyed a varied diet, while early farmers obtained most of their food from one or a few starchy crops. The farmers gained cheap calories at the cost of poor nutrition. (today just three high-carbohydrate plants–wheat, rice, and corn– provide the bulk of the calories consumed by the human species, yet each one is deficient in certain vitamins or amino acids essential to life.) Second, because of dependence on a limited number of crops, farmers ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. Finally, the mere fact that agriculture encouraged people to clump together in crowded societies, many of which then carried on trade with other crowded societies, led to the spread of parasites and infectious disease. (Some archaeologists think it was the crowding, rather than agriculture, that promoted disease, but this is a chicken-and-egg argument, because crowding encourages agriculture and vice versa.) Epidemics couldn’t take hold when populations were scattered in small bands that constantly shifted camp. Tuberculosis and diarrheal disease had to await the rise of farming, measles and bubonic plague the appearance of large cities. Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing élite set itself above the disease-ridden masses. Skeletons from Greek tombs at Mycenae c. 1500 B. C. suggest that royals enjoyed a better diet than commoners, since the royal skeletons were two or three inches taller and had better teeth (on the average, one instead of six cavities or missing teeth). Among Chilean mummies from c. A. D. 1000, the élite were distinguished not only by ornaments and gold hair clips but also by a fourfold lower rate of bone lesions caused by disease. Similar contrasts in nutrition and health persist on a global scale today. To people in rich countries like the U. S., it sounds ridiculous to extol the virtues of hunting and gathering. But Americans are an élite, dependent on oil and minerals that must often be imported from countries with poorer health and nutrition. If one could choose between being a peasant farmer in Ethiopia or a bushman gatherer in the Kalahari, which do you think would be the better choice? Farming may have encouraged inequality between the sexes, as well. Freed from the need to transport their babies during a nomadic existence, and under pressure to produce more hands to till the fields, farming women tended to have more frequent pregnancies than their hunter-gatherer counterparts–with consequent drains on their health. Among the Chilean mummies for example, more women than men had bone lesions from infectious disease. Women in agricultural societies were sometimes made beasts of burden. In New Guinea farming communities today I often see women staggering under loads of vegetables and firewood while the men walk empty-handed. Once while on a field trip there studying birds, I offered to pay some villagers to carry supplies from an airstrip to my mountain camp. The heaviest item was a 110-pound bag of rice, which I lashed to a pole and assigned to a team of four men to shoulder together. When I eventually caught up with the villagers, the men were carrying light loads, while one small woman weighing less than the bag of rice was bent under it, supporting its weight by a cord across her temples. As for the claim that agriculture encouraged the flowering of art by providing us with leisure time, modern hunter-gatherers have at least as much free time as do farmers. The whole emphasis on leisure time as a critical factor seems to me misguided. Gorillas have had ample free time to build their own Parthenon, had they wanted to. While postagricultural technological advances did make new art forms possible and preservation of art easier, great paintings and sculptures were already being produced by hunter-gatherers 15,000 years ago, and were still being produced as recently as the last century by such hunter-gatherers as some Eskimos and the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Thus with the advent of agriculture and élite became better off, but most people became worse off. Instead of swallowing the progressivist party line that we chose agriculture because it was good for us, we must ask how we got trapped by it despite its pitfalls. One answer boils down to the adage “Might makes right.” Farming could support many more people than hunting, albeit with a poorer quality of life. (Population densities of hunter-gatherers are rarely over one person per ten square miles, while farmers average 100 times that.) Partly, this is because a field planted entirely in edible crops lets one feed far more mouths than a forest with scattered edible plants. Partly, too, it’s because nomadic hunter-gatherers have to keep their children spaced at four-year intervals by infanticide and other means, since a mother must carry her toddler until it’s old enough to keep up with the adults. Because farm women don’t have that burden, they can and often do bear a child every two years. As population densities of hunter-gatherers slowly rose at the end of the ice ages, bands had to choose between feeding more mouths by taking the first steps toward agriculture, or else finding ways to limit growth. Some bands chose the former solution, unable to anticipate the evils of farming, and seduced by the transient abundance they enjoyed until population growth caught up with increased food production. Such bands outbred and then drove off or killed the bands that chose to remain hunter-gatherers, because a hundred malnourished farmers can still outfight one healthy hunter. It’s not that huntergatherers abandoned their life style, but that those sensible enough not to abandon it were forced out of all areas except the ones farmers didn’t want. At this point it’s instructive to recall the common complaint that archaeology is a luxury, concerned with the remote past, and offering no lessons for the present. Archaeologists studying the rise of farming have reconstructed a crucial stage at which we made the worst mistake in human history. Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it’s unclear whether we can solve it. Suppose that an archaeologist who had visited from outer space were trying to explain human history to his fellow spacelings. He might illustrate the results of his digs by a 24-hour clock on which one hour represents 100,000 years of real past time. If the history of the human race began at midnight, then we would now be almost at the end of our first day. We lived as huntergatherers for nearly the whole of that day, from midnight through dawn, noon, and sunset. Finally, at 11:54 p. m. we adopted agriculture. As our second midnight approaches, will the plight of famine-stricken peasants gradually spread to engulf us all? Or will we somehow achieve those seductive blessings that we imagine behind agriculture’s glittering façade, and that have so far eluded us?
GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL THE FATES OF HUMAN SOCIETIES Jared Diamond W. W. Norton & Company New York London C H A P T E R 9 ZEBRAS, U N H A P P Y M A R R I A G E S , A N D THE ANNA KARENINA PRINCIPLE D O M E S T I C A B L E A N I M A L S ARE ALL A L I K E ; EVERY U N D O ¬ mesticable animal is undomesticable in its own way. If you think you've already read something like that before, you're right. Just make a few changes, and you have the famous first sentence of Tolstoy's great novel Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." By that sentence, Tolstoy meant that, in order to be happy, a marriage must succeed in many different respects: sexual attraction, agreement about money, child discipline, religion, in-laws, and other vital issues. Failure in any one of those essential respects can doom a marriage even if it has all the other ingredients needed for happiness. This principle can be extended to understanding much else about life besides marriage. We tend to seek easy, single-factor explanations of success. For most important things, though, success actually requires avoiding many separate possible causes of failure. The Anna Karenina principle explains a feature of animal domestication that had heavy consequences for human history—namely, that so many seemingly suitable big wild mammal species, such as zebras and peccaries, have never been domesticated and that the successful domesticates were almost exclusively Eurasian. Having in the preceding two chapters discussed why so many wild 1 5 8 • GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL plant species seemingly suitable for domestication were never domesticated, we shall now tackle the corresponding question for domestic mammals. Our former question about apples or Indians becomes a question of zebras or Africans. I N C H A P T E R 4 we reminded ourselves of the many ways in which big domestic mammals were crucial to those human societies possessing them. Most notably, they provided meat, milk products, fertilizer, land transport, leather, military assault vehicles, plow traction, and wool, as well as germs that killed previously unexposed peoples. In addition, of course, small domestic mammals and domestic birds and insects have also been useful to humans. Many birds were domesticated for meat, eggs, and feathers: the chicken in China, various duck and goose species in parts of Eurasia, turkeys in Mesoamerica, guinea fowl in Africa, and the Muscovy duck in South America. Wolves were domesticated in Eurasia and North America to become our dogs used as hunting companions, sentinels, pets, and, in some societies, food. Rodents and other small mammals domesticated for food included the rabbit in Europe, the guinea pig in the Andes, a giant rat in West Africa, and possibly a rodent called the hutia on Caribbean islands. Ferrets were domesticated in Europe to hunt rabbits, and cats were domesticated in North Africa and Southwest Asia to hunt rodent pests. Small mammals domesticated as recently as the 19th and 20th centuries include foxes, mink, and chinchillas grown for fur and hamsters kept as pets. Even some insects have been domesticated, notably Eurasia's honeybee and China's silkworm moth, kept for honey and silk, respectively. Many of these small animals thus yielded food, clothing, or warmth. But none of them pulled plows or wagons, none bore riders, none except dogs pulled sleds or became war machines, and none of them have been as important for food as have big domestic mammals. Hence the rest of this chapter will confine itself to the big mammals. THE I M P O R T A N C E O F domesticated mammals rests on surprisingly few species of big terrestrial herbivores. (Only terrestrial mammals have been domesticated, for the obvious reason that aquatic mammals were difficult to maintain and breed until the development of modern Sea World facili- ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • 1 5 9 ties.) If one defines "big" as "weighing over 100 pounds," then only 14 such species were domesticated before the twentieth century (see Table 9.1 for a list). Of those Ancient Fourteen, 9 (the "Minor Nine" of Table 9.1) became important livestock for people in only limited areas of the globe: the Arabian camel, Bactrian camel, llama/alpaca (distinct breeds of the same ancestral species), donkey, reindeer, water buffalo, yak, banteng, and gaur. Only 5 species became widespread and important around the world. Those Major Five of mammal domestication are the cow, sheep, goat, pig, and horse. This list may at first seem to have glaring omissions. What about the African elephants with which Hannibal's armies crossed the Alps? What about the Asian elephants still used as work animals in Southeast Asia today? No, I didn't forget them, and that raises an important distinction. Elephants have been tamed, but never domesticated. Hannibal's elephants were, and Asian work elephants are, just wild elephants that were captured and tamed; they were not bred in captivity. In contrast, a domesticated animal is defined as an animal selectively bred in captivity and thereby modified from its wild ancestors, for use by humans who control the animal's breeding and food supply. That is, domestication involves wild animals' being transformed into something more useful to humans. Truly domesticated animals differ in various ways from their wild ancestors. These differences result from two processes: human selection of those individual animals more useful to humans than other individuals of the same species, and automatic evolutionary responses of animals to the altered forces of natural selection operating in human environments as compared with wild environments. We already saw in Chapter 7 that all of these statements also apply to plant domestication. The ways in which domesticated animals have diverged from their wild ancestors include the following. Many species changed in size: cows, pigs, and sheep became smaller under domestication, while guinea pigs became larger. Sheep and alpacas were selected for retention of wool and reduction or loss of hair, while cows have been selected for high milk yields. Several species of domestic animals have smaller brains and less developed sense organs than their wild ancestors, because they no longer need the bigger brains and more developed sense organs on which their ancestors depended to escape from wild predators. To appreciate the changes that developed under domestication, just 160 • TABLE GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL 9.1 The Ancient Fourteen Species of Big Herbivorous Domestic Mammals The Major Five 1. Sheep. Wild ancestor: the Asiatic mouflon sheep of West and Central Asia. Now worldwide. 2. Goat. Wild ancestor: the bezoar goat of West Asia. Now worldwide. 3. Cow, alias ox or cattle. Wild ancestor: the now extinct aurochs, formerly distributed over Eurasia and North Africa. Now worldwide. 4. Pig. Wild ancestor: the wild boar, distributed over Eurasia and North Africa. Now worldwide. Actually an omnivore (regularly eats both animal and plant food), whereas the other 13 of the Ancient Fourteen are more strictly herbivores. 5. Horse. Wild ancestor: now extinct wild horses of southern Russia; a different subspecies of the same species survived in the wild to modern times as Przewalski's horse of Mongolia. Now worldwide. The Minor Nine 6. Arabian (one-humped) camel. Wild ancestor: now extinct, formerly lived in Arabia and adjacent areas. Still largely restricted to Arabia and northern Africa, though feral in Australia. 7. Bactrian (two-humped) camel: Wild ancestor: now extinct, lived in Central Asia. Still largely confined to Central Asia. 8. Llama and alpaca. These appear to be well-differentiated breeds of the same species, rather than different species. Wild ancestor: the guanaco of the Andes. Still largely confined to the Andes, although some are bred as pack animals in North America. 9. Donkey. Wild ancestor: the African wild ass of North Africa and formerly perhaps the adjacent area of Southwest Asia. Originally confined as a domestic animal to North Africa and western Eurasia, more recently also used elsewhere. 10. Reindeer. Wild ancestor: the reindeer of northern Eurasia. Still largely confined as a domestic animal to that area, though now some are also used in Alaska. 11. Water buffalo. Wild ancestor lives in Southeast Asia. Still used as a domestic animal mainly in that area, though many are also used in Brazil and others have escaped to the wild in Australia and other places. ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • I 6 I 12. Yak. Wild ancestor: the wild yak of the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau. Still confined as a domestic animal to that area. 13. Bali cattle. Wild ancestor: the banteng (a relative of the aurochs) of Southeast Asia. Still confined as a domestic animal to that area. 14. Mithan. Wild ancestor: the gaur (another relative of the aurochs) of Indian and Burma. Still confined as a domestic animal to that area. compare wolves, the wild ancestors of domestic dogs, with the many breeds of dogs. Some dogs are much bigger than wolves (Great Danes), while others are much smaller (Pekingese). Some are slimmer and built for racing (greyhounds), while others are short-legged and useless for racing (dachshunds). They vary enormously in hair form and color, and some are even hairless. Polynesians and Aztecs developed dog breeds specifically raised for food. Comparing a dachshund with a wolf, you wouldn't even suspect that the former had been derived from the latter if you didn't already know it. THE W I L D A N C E S T O R S of the Ancient Fourteen were spread unevenly over the globe. South America had only one such ancestor, which gave rise to the llama and alpaca. North America, Australia, and sub-Saharan Africa had none at all. The lack of domestic mammals indigenous to subSaharan Africa is especially astonishing, since a main reason why tourists visit Africa today is to see its abundant and diverse wild mammals. In contrast, the wild ancestors of 13 of the Ancient Fourteen (including all of the Major Five) were confined to Eurasia. (As elsewhere in this book, my use of the term "Eurasia" includes in several cases North Africa, which biogeographically and in many aspects of human culture is more closely related to Eurasia than to sub-Saharan Africa.) Of course, not all 13 of these wild ancestral species occurred together throughout Eurasia. No area had all 13, and some of the wild ancestors were quite local, such as the yak, confined in the wild to Tibet and adjacent highland areas. However, many parts of Eurasia did have quite a few of these 13 species living together in the same area: for example, seven of the wild ancestors occurred in Southwest Asia. This very unequal distribution of wild ancestral species among the con- 162 • GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL tinents became an important reason why Eurasians, rather than peoples of other continents, were the ones to end up with guns, germs, and steel. How can we explain the concentration of the Ancient Fourteen in Eurasia? One reason is simple. Eurasia has the largest number of big terrestrial wild mammal species, whether or not ancestral to a domesticated species. Let's define a "candidate for domestication" as any terrestrial herbivorous or omnivorous mammal species (one not predominantly a carnivore) weighing on the average over 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Table 9.2 shows that Eurasia has the most candidates, 72 species, just as it has the most species in many other plant and animal groups. That's because Eurasia is the world's largest landmass, and it's also very diverse ecologically, with habitats ranging from extensive tropical rain forests, through temperate forests, deserts, and marshes, to equally extensive tundras. Sub-Saharan Africa has fewer candidates, 51 species, just as it has fewer species in most other plant and animal groups—because it's smaller and ecologically less diverse than Eurasia. Africa has smaller areas of tropical rain forest than does Southeast Asia, and no temperate habitats at all beyond latitude 37 degrees. As I discussed in Chapter 1, the Americas may formerly have had almost as many candidates as Africa, but most of America's big wild mammals (including its horses, most of its camels, and other species likely to have been domesticated had they survived) became extinct about 13,000 years ago. Australia, the smallest and most isolated continent, has always had far fewer species of big wild mammals than has Eurasia, Africa, or the Americas. Just as in the Americas, in Australia all of those few candidates TABLE 9.2 Mammalian Candidates for Domestication A "candidate" is defined as a species of terrestrial, herbivorous or omnivorous, wild mammal weighing on the average over 100 pounds. ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • 163 except the red kangaroo became extinct around the time of the continent's first colonization by humans. Thus, part of the explanation for Eurasia's having been the main site of big mammal domestication is that it was the continent with the most candidate species of wild mammals to start out with, and lost the fewest candidates to extinction in the last 40,000 years. But the numbers in Table 9.2 warn us that that's not the whole explanation. It's also true that the percentage of candidates actually domesticated is highest in Eurasia (18 percent), and is especially low in sub-Saharan Africa (no species domesticated out of 51 candidates!). Particularly surprising is the large number of species of African and American mammals that were never domesticated, despite their having Eurasian close relatives or counterparts that were domesticated. Why were Eurasia's horses domesticated, but not Africa's zebras? Why Eurasia's pigs, but not American peccaries or Africa's three species of true wild pigs? Why Eurasia's five species of wild cattle (aurochs, water buffalo, yak, gaur, banteng), but not the African buffalo or American bison? Why the Asian mouflon sheep (ancestor of our domestic sheep), but not North American bighorn sheep? D I D ALL T H O S E peoples of Africa, the Americas, and Australia, despite their enormous diversity, nonetheless share some cultural obstacles to domestication not shared with Eurasian peoples? For example, did Africa's abundance of big wild mammals, available to kill by hunting, make it superfluous for Africans to go to the trouble of tending domestic stock? The answer to that question is unequivocal: No! The interpretation is refuted by five types of evidence: rapid acceptance of Eurasian domesticates by non-Eurasian peoples, the universal human penchant for keeping pets, the rapid domestication of the Ancient Fourteen, the repeated independent domestications of some of them, and the limited successes of modern efforts at further domestications. First, when Eurasia's Major Five domestic mammals reached subSaharan Africa, they were adopted by the most diverse African peoples wherever conditions permitted. Those African herders thereby achieved a huge advantage over African hunter-gatherers and quickly displaced them. In particular, Bantu farmers who acquired cows and sheep spread out of their homeland in West Africa and within a short time overran the former hunter-gatherers in most of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Even without 1 6 4 " G U N S , G E R M S , AND STEEL acquiring crops, Khoisan peoples who acquired cows and sheep around 2,000 years ago displaced Khoisan hunter-gatherers over much of southern Africa. The arrival of the domestic horse in West Africa transformed warfare there and turned the area into a set of kingdoms dependent on cavalry. The only factor that prevented horses from spreading beyond West Africa was trypanosome diseases borne by tsetse flies. The same pattern repeated itself elsewhere in the world, whenever peoples lacking native wild mammal species suitable for domestication finally had the opportunity to acquire Eurasian domestic animals. European horses were eagerly adopted by Native Americans in both North and South America, within a generation of the escape of horses from European settlements. For example, by the 19th century North America's Great Plains Indians were famous as expert horse-mounted warriors and bison hunters, but they did not even obtain horses until the late 17th century. Sheep acquired from Spaniards similarly transformed Navajo Indian society and led to, among other things, the weaving of the beautiful woolen blankets for which the Navajo have become renowned. Within a decade of Tasmania's settlement by Europeans with dogs, Aboriginal Tasmanians, who had never before seen dogs, began to breed them in large numbers for use in hunting. Thus, among the thousands of culturally diverse native peoples of Australia, the Americas, and Africa, no universal cultural taboo stood in the way of animal domestication. Surely, if some local wild mammal species of those continents had been domesticable, some Australian, American, and African peoples would have domesticated them and gained great advantage from them, just as they benefited from the Eurasian domestic animals that they immediately adopted when those became available. For instance, consider all the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa living within the range of wild zebras and buffalo. Why wasn't there at least one African hunter-gatherer tribe that domesticated those zebras and buffalo and that thereby gained sway over other Africans, without having to await the arrival of Eurasian horses and cattle? All these facts indicate that the explanation for the lack of native mammal domestication outside Eurasia lay with the locally available wild mammals themselves, not with the local peoples. A S E C O N D T Y P E of evidence for the same interpretation comes from pets. Keeping wild animals as pets, and taming them, constitute an initial ZEBRAS AND U N H A P P Y M A R R I A G E S • 165 stage in domestication. But pets have been reported from virtually all traditional human societies on all continents. The variety of wild animals thus tamed is far greater than the variety eventually domesticated, and includes some species that we would scarcely have imagined as pets. For example, in the New Guinea villages where I work, I often see people with pet kangaroos, possums, and birds ranging from flycatchers to ospreys. Most of these captives are eventually eaten, though some are kept just as pets. New Guineans even regularly capture chicks of wild cassowaries (an ostrich-like large, flightless bird) and raise them to eat as a delicacy—even though captive adult cassowaries are extremely dangerous and now and then disembowel village people. Some Asian peoples tame eagles for use in hunting, although those powerful pets have also been known on occasion to kill their human handlers. Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, and modern Indians, tamed cheetahs for use in hunting. Paintings made by ancient Egyptians show that they further tamed (not surprisingly) hoofed mammals such as gazelles and hartebeests, birds such as cranes, more surprisingly giraffes (which can be dangerous), and most astonishingly hyenas. African elephants were tamed in Roman times despite the obvious danger, and Asian elephants are still being tamed today. Perhaps the most unlikely pet is the European brown bear (the same species as the American grizzly bear), which the Ainu people of Japan regularly captured as young animals, tamed, and reared to kill and eat in a ritual ceremony. Thus, many wild animal species reached the first stage in the sequence of animal-human relations leading to domestication, but only a few emerged at the other end of that sequence as domestic animals. Over a century ago, the British scientist Francis Galton summarized this discrepancy succinctly: "It would appear that every wild animal has had its chance of being domesticated, that [a] few . . . were domesticated long ago, but that the large remainder, who failed sometimes in only one small particular, are destined to perpetual wildness." D A T E S O F D O M E S T I C A T I O N provide a third line of evidence confirming Galton's view that early herding peoples quickly domesticated all big mammal species suitable for being domesticated. All species for whose dates of domestication we have archaeological evidence were domesticated between about 8000 and 2500 B.C.—that is, within the first few thousand years of the sedentary farming-herding societies that arose after the end I 6 6 • G U N S , G E R M S , AND STEEL of the last Ice Age. As summarized in Table 9.3, the era of big mammal domestication began with the sheep, goat, and pig and ended with camels. Since 2500 B.C. there have been no significant additions. It's true, of course, that some small mammals were first domesticated long after 2500 B.C. For example, rabbits were not domesticated for food until the Middle Ages, mice and rats for laboratory research not until the 20th century, and hamsters for pets not until the 1930s. The continuing development of domesticated small mammals isn't surprising, because there are literally thousands of wild species as candidates, and because they were of too little value to traditional societies to warrant the effort of raising them. But big mammal domestication virtually ended 4,500 years ago. By then, all of the world's 148 candidate big species must have been tested innumerable times, with the result that only a few passed the test and no other suitable ones remained. S T I L L A F O U R T H line of evidence that some mammal species are much more suitable than others is provided by the repeated independent domestications of the same species. Genetic evidence based on the portions of our genetic material known as mitochondrial DNA recently confirmed, as had long been suspected, that humped cattle of India and humpless European cattle were derived from two separate populations of wild ancestral cattle that had diverged hundreds of thousands of years ago. That is, Indian peoples domesticated the local Indian subspecies of wild aurochs, Southwest Asians independently domesticated their own Southwest Asian subspecies of aurochs, and North Africans may have independently domesticated the North African aurochs. Similarly, wolves were independently domesticated to become dogs in the Americas and probably in several different parts of Eurasia, including China and Southwest Asia. Modern pigs are derived from independent sequences of domestication in China, western Eurasia, and possibly other areas as well. These examples reemphasize that the same few suitable wild species attracted the attention of many different human societies. THE F A I L U R E S O F modern efforts provide a final type of evidence that past failures to domesticate the large residue of wild candidate species arose from shortcomings of those species, rather than from shortcomings ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES TABLE • 167 9.3 Approximate Dates of First Attested Evidence for Domestication of Large Mammal Species For the other four domesticated large mammal species—reindeer, yak, gaur, and banteng—there is as yet little evidence concerning the date of domestication. Dates and places shown are merely the earliest ones attested to date; domestication may actually have begun earlier and at a different location. of ancient humans. Europeans today are heirs to one of the longest traditions of animal domestication on Earth—that which began in Southwest Asia around 10,000 years ago. Since the fifteenth century, Europeans have spread around the globe and encountered wild mammal species not found in Europe. European settlers, such as those that I encounter in New Guinea with pet kangaroos and possums, have tamed or made pets of many local mammals, just as have indigenous peoples. European herders and farmers emigrating to other continents have also made serious efforts to domesticate some local species. In the 19th and 20th centuries at least six large mammals—the eland, elk, moose, musk ox, zebra, and American bison—have been the subjects of especially well-organized projects aimed at domestication, carried out by modern scientific animal breeders and geneticists. For example, eland, the largest African antelope, have been undergoing selection for meat quality and milk quantity in the Askaniya-Nova Zoological Park in the I 6 8 • G U N S , G E R M S , AND STEEL Ukraine, as well as in England, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; an experimental farm for elk (red deer, in British terminology) has been operated by the Rowett Research Institute at Aberdeen, Scotland; and an experimental farm for moose has operated in the Pechero-Ilych National Park in Russia. Yet these modern efforts have achieved only very limited successes. While bison meat occasionally appears in some U.S. supermarkets, and while moose have been ridden, milked, and used to pull sleds in Sweden and Russia, none of these efforts has yielded a result of sufficient economic value to attract many ranchers. It is especially striking that recent attempts to domesticate eland within Africa itself, where its disease resistance and climate tolerance would give it a big advantage over introduced Eurasian wild stock susceptible to African diseases, have not caught on. Thus, neither indigenous herders with access to candidate species over thousands of years, nor modern geneticists, have succeeded in making useful domesticates of large mammals beyond the Ancient Fourteen, which were domesticated by at least 4,500 years ago. Yet scientists today could undoubtedly, if they wished, fulfill for many species that part of the definition of domestication that specifies the control of breeding and food supply. For example, the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos are now subjecting the last surviving California condors to a more draconian control of breeding than that imposed upon any domesticated species. All individual condors have been genetically identified, and a computer program determines which male shall mate with which female in order to achieve human goals (in this case, to maximize genetic diversity and thereby preserve this endangered bird). Zoos are conducting similar breeding programs for many other threatened species, including gorillas and rhinos. But the zoos' rigorous selection of California condors shows no prospects of yielding an economically useful product. Nor do zoos' efforts with rhinos, although rhinos offer up to over three tons of meat on the hoof. As we shall now see, rhinos (and most other big mammals) present insuperable obstacles to domestication. IN A L L , OF the world's 148 big wild terrestrial herbivorous mammals— the candidates for domestication—only 14 passed the test. Why did the other 134 species fail? To which conditions was Francis Galton referring, when he spoke of those other species as "destined to perpetual wildness"? ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • 169 The answer follows from the Anna Karenina principle. To be domesticated, a candidate wild species must possess many different characteristics. Lack of any single required characteristic dooms efforts at domestication, just as it dooms efforts at building a happy marriage. Playing marriage counselor to the zebra/human couple and other ill-sorted pairs, we can recognize at least six groups of reasons for failed domestication. Diet. Every time that an animal eats a plant or another animal, the conversion of food biomass into the consumer's biomass involves an efficiency of much less than 100 percent: typically around 10 percent. That is, it takes around 10,000 pounds of corn to grow a 1,000-pound cow. If instead you want to grow 1,000 pounds of carnivore, you have to feed it 10,000 pounds of herbivore grown on 100,000 pounds of corn. Even among herbivores and omnivores, many species, like koalas, are too finicky in their plant preferences to recommend themselves as farm animals. As a result of this fundamental inefficiency, no mammalian carnivore has ever been domesticated for food. (No, it's not because its meat would be tough or tasteless: we eat carnivorous wild fish all the time, and I can personally attest to the delicious flavor of lion burger.) The nearest thing to an exception is the dog, originally domesticated as a sentinel and hunting companion, but breeds of dogs were developed and raised for food in Aztec Mexico, Polynesia, and ancient China. However, regular dog eating has been a last resort of meat-deprived human societies: the Aztecs had no other domestic mammal, and the Polynesians and ancient Chinese had only pigs and dogs. Human societies blessed with domestic herbivorous mammals have not bothered to eat dogs, except as an uncommon delicacy (as in parts of Southeast Asia today). In addition, dogs are not strict carnivores but omnivores: if you are so naive as to think that your beloved pet dog is really a meat eater, just read the list of ingredients on your bag of dog food. The dogs that the Aztecs and Polynesians reared for food were efficiently fattened on vegetables and garbage. Growth Rate. To be worth keeping, domesticates must also grow quickly. That eliminates gorillas and elephants, even though they are vegetarians with admirably nonfinicky food preferences and represent a lot of meat. What would-be gorilla or elephant rancher would wait 15 years for his herd to reach adult size? Modern Asians who want work elephants find it much cheaper to capture them in the wild and tame them. Problems of Captive Breeding. We humans don't like to have sex under the watchful eyes of others; some potentially valuable animal species don't 170 • G U N S , G E R M S , AND STEEL like to, either. That's what derailed attempts to domesticate cheetahs, the swiftest of all land animals, despite our strong motivation to do so for thousands of years. As I already mentioned, tame cheetahs were prized by ancient Egyptians and Assyrians and modern Indians as hunting animals infinitely superior to dogs. One Mogul emperor of India kept a stable of a thousand cheetahs. But despite those large investments that many wealthy princes made, all of their cheetahs were tamed ones caught in the wild. The princes' efforts to breed cheetahs in captivity failed, and not until 1960 did even biologists in modern zoos achieve their first successful cheetah birth. In the wild, several cheetah brothers chase a female for several days, and that rough courtship over large distances seems to be required to get the female to ovulate or to become sexually receptive. Cheetahs usually refuse to carry out that elaborate courtship ritual inside a cage. A similar problem has frustrated schemes to breed the vicuna, an Andean wild camel whose wool is prized as the finest and lightest of any animal's. The ancient Incas obtained vicuna wool by driving wild vicunas into corrals, shearing them, and then releasing them alive. Modern merchants wanting this luxury wool have had to resort either to this same method or simply to killing wild vicunas. Despite strong incentives of money and prestige, all attempts to breed vicunas for wool production in captivity have failed, for reasons that include vicunas' long and elaborate courtship ritual before mating, a ritual inhibited in captivity; male vicunas' fierce intolerance of each other; and their requirement for both a yearround feeding territory and a separate year-round sleeping territory. Nasty Disposition. Naturally, almost any mammal species that is sufficiently large is capable of killing a human. People have been killed by pigs, horses, camels, and cattle. Nevertheless, some large animals have much nastier dispositions and are more incurably dangerous than are others. Tendencies to kill humans have disqualified many otherwise seemingly ideal candidates for domestication. One obvious example is the grizzly bear. Bear meat is an expensive delicacy, grizzlies weigh up to 1,700 pounds, they are mainly vegetarians (though also formidable hunters), their vegetable diet is very broad, they thrive on human garbage (thereby creating big problems in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks), and they grow relatively fast. If they would behave themselves in captivity, grizzlies would be a fabulous meat production animal. The Ainu people of Japan made the experiment by routinely ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • 171 rearing grizzly cubs as part of a ritual. For understandable reasons, though, the Ainu found it prudent to kill and eat the cubs at the age of one year. Keeping grizzly bears for longer would be suicidal; I am not aware of any adult that has been tamed. Another otherwise suitable candidate that disqualifies itself for equally obvious reasons is the African buffalo. It grows quickly up to a weight of a ton and lives in herds that have a well-developed dominance hierarchy, a trait whose virtues will be discussed below. But the African buffalo is considered the most dangerous and unpredictable large mammal of Africa. Anyone insane enough to try to domesticate it either died in the effort or was forced to kill the buffalo before it got too big and nasty. Similarly, hippos, as four-ton vegetarians, would be great barnyard animals if they weren't so dangerous. They kill more people each year than do any other African mammals, including even lions. Few people would be surprised at the disqualification of those notoriously ferocious candidates. But there are other candidates whose dangers are not so well known. For instance, the eight species of wild equids (horses and their relatives) vary greatly in disposition, even though all eight are genetically so close to each other that they will interbreed and produce healthy (though usually sterile) offspring. Two of them, the horse and the North African ass (ancestor of the donkey), were successfully domesticated. Closely related to the North African ass is the Asiatic ass, also known as the onager. Since its homeland includes the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of Western civilization and animal domestication, ancient peoples must have experimented extensively with onagers. We know from Sumerian and later depictions that onagers were regularly hunted, as well as captured and hybridized with donkeys and horses. Some ancient depictions of horselike animals used for riding or for pulling carts may refer to onagers. However, all writers about them, from Romans to modern zookeepers, decry their irascible temper and their nasty habit of biting people. As a result, although similar in other respects to ancestral donkeys, onagers have never been domesticated. Africa's four species of zebras are even worse. Efforts at domestication went as far as hitching them to carts: they were tried out as draft animals in 19th-century South Africa, and the eccentric Lord Walter Rothschild drove through the streets of London in a carriage pulled by zebras. Alas, zebras become impossibly dangerous as they grow older. (That's not to deny that many individual horses are also nasty, but zebras and onagers 172. • GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL are much more uniformly so.) Zebras have the unpleasant habit of biting a person and not letting go. They thereby injure even more American zookeepers each year than do tigers! Zebras are also virtually impossible to lasso with a rope—even for cowboys who win rodeo championships by lassoing horses—because of their unfailing ability to watch the rope noose fly toward them and then to duck their head out of the way. Hence it has rarely (if ever) been possible to saddle or ride a zebra, and South Africans' enthusiasm for their domestication waned. Unpredictably aggressive behavior on the part of a large and potentially dangerous mammal is also part of the reason why the initially so promising modern experiments in domesticating elk and eland have not been more successful. Tendency to Panic. Big mammalian herbivore species react to danger from predators or humans in different ways. Some species are nervous, fast, and programmed for instant flight when they perceive a threat. Other species are slower, less nervous, seek protection in herds, stand their ground when threatened, and don't run until necessary. Most species of deer and antelope (with the conspicuous exception of reindeer) are of the former type, while sheep and goats are of the latter. Naturally, the nervous species are difficult to keep in captivity. If put into an enclosure, they are likely to panic, and either die of shock or batter themselves to death against the fence in their attempts to escape. That's true, for example, of gazelles, which for thousands of years were the most frequently hunted game species in some parts of the Fertile Crescent. There is no mammal species that the first settled peoples of that area had more opportunity to domesticate than gazelles. But no gazelle species has ever been domesticated. Just imagine trying to herd an animal that bolts, blindly bashes itself against walls, can leap up to nearly 30 feet, and can run at a speed of 50 miles per hour! Social Structure. Almost all species of domesticated large mammals prove to be ones whose wild ancestors share three social characteristics: they live in herds; they maintain a well-developed dominance hierarchy among herd members; and the herds occupy overlapping home ranges rather than mutually exclusive territories. For example, herds of wild horses consist of one stallion, up to half a dozen mares, and their foals. Mare A is dominant over mares B, C, D, and E; mare B is submissive to A but dominant over C, D, and E; C is submissive to B and A but dominant over D and E; and so on. When the herd is on the move, its members maintain a stereotyped order: in the rear, the stallion; in the front, the top- ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES • 1 7 3 ranking female, followed by her foals in order of age, with the youngest first; and behind her, the other mares in order of rank, each followed by her foals in order of age. In that way, many adults can coexist in the herd without constant fighting and with each knowing its rank. That social structure is ideal for domestication, because humans in effect take over the dominance hierarchy. Domestic horses of a pack line follow the human leader as they would normally follow the top-ranking female. Herds or packs of sheep, goats, cows, and ancestral dogs (wolves) have a similar hierarchy. As young animals grow up in such a herd, they imprint on the animals that they regularly see nearby. Under wild conditions those are members of their own species, but captive young herd animals also see humans nearby and imprint on humans as well. Such social animals lend themselves to herding. Since they are tolerant of each other, they can be bunched up. Since they instinctively follow a dominant leader and will imprint on humans as that leader, they can readily be driven by a shepherd or sheepdog. Herd animals do well when penned in crowded conditions, because they are accustomed to living in densely packed groups in the wild. In contrast, members of most solitary territorial animal species cannot be herded. They do not tolerate each other, they do not imprint on humans, and they are not instinctively submissive. Who ever saw a line of cats (solitary and territorial in the wild) following a human or allowing themselves to be herded by a human? Every cat lover knows that cats are not submissive to humans in the way dogs instinctively are. Cats and ferrets are the sole territorial mammal species that were domesticated, because our motive for doing so was not to herd them in large groups raised for food but to keep them as solitary hunters or pets. While most solitary territorial species thus haven't been domesticated, it's not conversely the case that most herd species can be domesticated. Most can't, for one of several additional reasons. First, herds of many species don't have overlapping home ranges but instead maintain exclusive territories against other herds. It's no more possible to pen two such herds together than to pen two males of a solitary species. Second, many species that live in herds for part of the year are territorial in the breeding season, when they fight and do not tolerate each other's presence. That's true of most deer and antelope species (again with the exception of reindeer), and it's one of the main factors that has disqualified 1 7 4 " GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL all the social antelope species for which Africa is famous from being domesticated. While one's first association to African antelope is "vast dense herds spreading across the horizon," in fact the males of those herds space themselves into territories and fight fiercely with each other when breeding. Hence those antelope cannot be maintained in crowded enclosures in captivity, as can sheep or goats or cattle. Territorial behavior similarly combines with a fierce disposition and a slow growth rate to banish rhinos from the farmyard. Finally, many herd species, including again most deer and antelope, do not have a well-defined dominance hierarchy and are not instinctively prepared to become imprinted on a dominant leader (hence to become misim¬ printed on humans). As a result, though many deer and antelope species have been tamed (think of all those true Bambi stories), one never sees such tame deer and antelope driven in herds like sheep. That problem also derailed domestication of North American bighorn sheep, which belong to the same genus as Asiatic mouflon sheep, ancestor of our domestic sheep. Bighorn sheep are suitable to us and similar to mouflons in most respects except a crucial one: they lack the mouflon's stereotypical behavior whereby some individuals behave submissively toward other individuals whose dominance they acknowledge. L E T ' S N O W R E T U R N to the problem I posed at the outset of this chapter. Initially, one of the most puzzling features of animal domestication is the seeming arbitrariness with which some species have been domesticated while their close relatives have not. It turns out that all but a few candidates for domestication have been eliminated by the Anna Karenina principle. Humans and most animal species make an unhappy marriage, for one or more of many possible reasons: the animal's diet, growth rate, mating habits, disposition, tendency to panic, and several distinct features of social organization. Only a small percentage of wild mammal species ended up in happy marriages with humans, by virtue of compatibility on all those separate counts. Eurasian peoples happened to inherit many more species of domesticable large wild mammalian herbivores than did peoples of the other continents. That outcome, with all of its momentous advantages for Eurasian societies, stemmed from three basic facts of mammalian geography, history, and biology. First, Eurasia, befitting its large area and ecological ZEBRAS AND UNHAPPY MARRIAGES " 1 7 5 diversity, started out with the most candidates. Second, Australia and the Americas, but not Eurasia or Africa, lost most of their candidates in a massive wave of late-Pleistocene extinctions—possibly because the mammals of the former continents had the misfortune to be first exposed to humans suddenly and late in our evolutionary history, when our hunting skills were already highly developed. Finally, a higher percentage of the surviving candidates proved suitable for domestication on Eurasia than on the other continents. An examination of the candidates that were never domesticated, such as Africa's big herd-forming mammals, reveals particular reasons that disqualified each of them. Thus, Tolstoy would have approved of the insight offered in another context by an earlier author, Saint Matthew: "Many are called, but few are chosen."

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Response to Jared Diamond’s Works
Worst Mistake in the Human History
In as much as agriculture caters for a large population, it is characterized with poor life
quality. It is absolutely in order to agree with the fact that the worst mistake in the history of
mankind was ditching hunting and gathering for agriculture. Means of livelihood affect a wide
range of life’s aspects. On a general note, Diamond’s assertion that hunter-gatherers lived a more
fulfilling life in comparison with the farmers is logically correct (Pg. 64.) As a matter of fact,
most of the modern world problems such as starvation, deadly diseases such as cancer and
diseases are all the consequences of agriculture.
All evidence points to the fact that embracing agriculture led to poor health and
consequently, poor quality of life. To begin with, hunter-gatherers enjoyed a more nutritious as
compared to the early farmers. Secondly, embracing agriculture was the genesis of a divided

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