[ExI] Guns Germs and Steel (was: Old still true)
jonkc at bellsouth.net
Wed Aug 17 15:49:33 UTC 2011
On Mon, 8/15/11, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
"I wonder if those Europeans who survived the plague were effectively
"selected" for disease resistance. This would certainly have given
them an edge in the biological warfare that decimated the natives."
According to Jared Diamond that is exactly what happened. He notes that most major diseases can be traced back to herds of domesticated animals, and for reasons not clearly understood many more animals (and plants too incidentally) that were suitable for domestication were indigenous to the old world than were indigenous to the new. Even when a good animal for domestication was found in the Americas, such as the llama, the practice could not spread as extensively or as rapidly as it did in the old world due to the limitations of geography; the primary axis of Asia-Europe is east west while in the Americas it is north south. So the old world had vast amounts of land at the same longitude and the same climate that a domesticated species could rapidly move into, while in the Americas you'd have to go north or south and face the problem of a different climate. As a result of all this people in Asia-Europe had been exposed to more plagues and for a longer
time than people in the Americas, so they had immunities the native Americans did not.
John K Clark
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