Africa's racial history was not necessarily its racial destiny.
To unravel the story of Africa's past, you must not only look at its faces but listen to its languages and harvest its crops.
Japan’s touchy relations with its neighbors make it more important than ever to strip away myths and unearth the origins of the Japanese.
Race based body chemistry makes no more sense than race based on looks, but you do get to move the membership around.
Today just three starchy plants – wheat, rice, and corn – provide the vast majority of the calories consumed by the human species.
All three are deficient in vitamins and amino acids essential to life. Mono-cropping leads to crop failure and mass starvation Dependent on a much smaller number of crops than gatherer-hunters, farmers ran the risk of starvation if even one crop failed.“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,” Diamond said. Higher population density encouraged epidemic disease Agriculture encouraged people to clump together in crowded societies, leading to the spread of parasites and infectious disease.Some archaeologists think it was crowding, rather than agriculture, that promoted disease, but Diamond calls this a “chicken-and-egg argument,” as crowding encourages agriculture and agriculture encourages crowding.“To people in rich countries like the US, it sounds ridiculous to extol the virtues of hunting and gathering,” Diamond said.“But Americans are an elite, dependent on oil and minerals that must often be imported from countries with poorer health and nutrition.Environmental collapse and the end of civilization When the mutineers from HMS Bounty landed on Pitcairn Island, they found no people--just a desolate land marked by the relics of a vanished society. The frightening story of that lost civilization is just now being learned... Epidemics couldn’t take hold when populations were scattered in small bands that constantly shifted camp, he said.“Tuberculosis and diarrheal disease had to await the rise of farming, measles and bubonic plague the appearance of large cities.” How agriculture destroyed egalitarianism “Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic infectious disease, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions,” Diamond said.But why didn't deadly disease flow in the other direction, from the New World to the Old?Once upon a time, all the fruits, nuts, and berries our gathering ancestors ate were wild.