Guns, Germs, and Steel (part 2)

  1. Larger more dense populations
  2. Not everybody needed to be self-sufficient (allowed for specialization outside of farming)
  3. Allowed people to form a permanent settlement.

The Rise and Spread of Food Production

Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Large grain size (more calories/effort spent planting)
  • Plants that allow for intentional planting and harvesting
  • Self-fertilization that allow for artificial selection (otherwise beneficial mutations just get wiped out)
  1. Meat Diet: The animal has to be primarily a herbivore. It’s just too inefficient, calorically to raise a carnivore.
  2. Slow Growth Rate: The animal has to grow relatively quickly. The elephant seems like a fantastic animal to have on your side, until you realize it needs to be raised for like 10–15 years before it reaches adulthood.
  3. Incapable of being kept in captivity: Some animals evolved to survive on huge expanses of land. A single cheetah expects a humongous expanse of land and will refuse to mate without sufficient space.
  4. Nasty Disposition: You can tame some wild animals, but on balance there’s no reliable way to keep, say a bear in a cage, without it ripping a few heads off occasionally.
  5. Tendency to panic: There’s some animals that behave extremely erratically
  6. when startled. That means death for either the animal or its keeper.
  7. Social Structure: Animals that already have a social structure are much, much easier to domesticate. These animals are docile and responsive to the alpha, humans simply take the place of the alpha.



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