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Zed

Watch the world urbanization in 3 minutes!!

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As the title says, not much more to add:



Source:

http://metrocosm.com/history-of-cities/

Thoughts?

Note: This is not a comprehensive list obviously, and I think only cities of certain size were considered (for example, 10,000+ for the 3500 BC - 1000 BC period).

Either way, I think this is very interesting. It would be cool to see also the projections for the period 2000 - 2100 maybe?

EDIT: Sorry, I meant 2100, not 21000.

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Urbanization and the spread of neolithic farming seem to have a concurrency. But I guess that would be obvious, considering they didn't have to follow herds anymore for food, and could stay put.

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There were an extremely large number of trade-offs in order to farm. Human society would never be the same. Neolithic farming was a very hard life. Hunter-gatherers probably had a better, happier lives. The march toward building cities was not an inevitable march of progress and human multiplication.

Some of the disadvantages of early farming: the need to have a huge family even if you couldn't support one. More animal-to-human disease transmission, people and animals exchange disease all the time, it is no special phenomenon due to a special mutation or something. Farming communities had a less nutritious diet because now they had to feed animal mouths as well as human mouths (bones and teeth also became more brittle once people started farming, they know for sure people were getting sick as well). More STDs because everyone was in one place, sharing the same partners all the time. Higher mortality rate especially for infants and women died in childbirth more often because they were having more kids to replace the dead ones. Pollution happened because people stayed in the same place and ended up spoling their water supply somehow. Gender roles forced women to stay at home and men out in the fields, the early stirrings of sexism.

I do not mean to be a pessimist, just pointing out the flaws. The obvious benefit of farming is that we all get to exist today! Humans would be a much smaller species if we remained hunter-gatherers. There were hundreds of years where people were barely subsistence farming even though it was their livelihood. They did not achieve agricultural surplus until they invented a lot of wooden/metal tools, better seeds, understood fertilizer and crop rotation, and figured out through trial and error what soil could grow which crops.

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http://www.pnas.org/content/113/2/368.abstract

This is a really interesting study. It said that not only was agriculture highly influential on the development of civilization in Europe, but also metallurgy.

Modern Europe has been shaped by two episodes in prehistory, the advent of agriculture and later metallurgy. These innovations brought not only massive cultural change but also, in certain parts of the continent, a change in genetic structure. The manner in which these transitions affected the islands of Ireland and Britain on the northwestern edge of the continent remains the subject of debate. The first ancient whole genomes from Ireland, including two at high coverage, demonstrate that large-scale genetic shifts accompanied both transitions. We also observe a strong signal of continuity between modern day Irish populations and the Bronze Age individuals, one of whom is a carrier for the C282Y hemochromatosis mutation, which has its highest frequencies in Ireland today.

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Kontra Kommando said:

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/2/368.abstract

This is a really interesting study. It said that not only was agriculture highly influential on the development of civilization in Europe, but also metallurgy.


It is also interesting how metallurgy was practically non-existent in the "New World" (it was used for jewelry and some other minor stuff, but that's about it).

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It makes me uncomfortable when Babylon or Egypt etc. are referred to as the "birth" of civilization/writing/farming. They didn't just spring up out of nowhere, more likely IMO they were the most successful cities among a large community of humans. Also, as if a hunter-gatherer culture can't be "civilized"? I wonder how many hundreds or thousands of years people were erecting wooden or clay brick cities, prior to the cultures who worked stone.

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Pastoralism was introduced by the steppe people, which is a massive contribution as well.

Also, I don't think anyone is discounting the hunter-gatherers. I think civilization, as we know it is a combination of what all these people have brought to the table.

Edit: This was the original National Geographic genome project reference populations. It shows what percentages of these ancient populations exist typically in modern humans. Read the descriptions, it pretty interesting.

https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/reference-populations/

Zed said:

It is also interesting how metallurgy was practically non-existent in the "New World" (it was used for jewelry and some other minor stuff, but that's about it).


I believe pastoralism was also non-existent, which is why they had retained a more hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The horse was an important animal, to societies in the old world. It could be employed as a quick means of travel, warfare, and production.

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Kontra Kommando said:

I believe pastoralism was also non-existent, which is why they had retained a more hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

The largest and most powerful pre-columbian societies were not hunter-gatherers. Incan and aztec agricultural prowess easily rivaled anything anyone else in the world had, even despite the lack of work animals.

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Quast said:

The largest and most powerful pre-columbian societies were not hunter-gatherers. Incan and aztec agricultural prowess easily rivaled anything anyone else in the world had, even despite the lack of work animals.


Yes, they did have agriculture too. Farming developed independently in many parts of the world. The Incas farmed along hillsides, and mountains. You don't need animal husbandry to farm. But since they didn't have pastoralism, their societies remained hunter-gatherers, or farmer. Animals, specifically the horse, were employed for more than just food, as I stated earlier. They were used for production, transportation, and warfare.

But also as the video mentions, metallurgy was a big part of the development of civilization in the old world, as well.

Edit:

These advances were made out of necessity, they didn't have to employ animals in the new world. They had adapted to the conditions that were presented to them, thus there was no need for change.

Edit 2:

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This is a pretty interesting video by the Alternate History Hub, that attempts to speculate what would happen if the Americas were never colonized.

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