New Study says early humans migrated into Europe due to warming climate

New Study says early humans migrated into Europe due to warming climate

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Rising temperatures approximately 1.4 million years ago might have assisted the migration of hominins out of Africa and into Europe, a new study suggests.

Dr. Jordi Agustí and colleagues have published a study in the Journal of Human Evolution that argues that prehistoric climate change affected the location and amount of resources available to our early ancestors. These early humans are thought to have benefited from shifting climate patterns, as the warming environment facilitated migration and access to food.

Model of adult female Homo erectus, one of the first truly human ancestors of modern man. Wikimedia Commons

Agustí, research professor of the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), finds that the spread of hominins was halted by colder temperatures and glacial cycles during the early Pleistocene era. There is a lack of evidence of human presence in Europe during this epoch.

However, archaeological finds from Spain suggest that once the climate conditions became favorable, early humanity was able to migrate.


Evidence for the oldest hominin found in Western Europe is a tooth and stone tools. The tools were excavated in 1993 at the Barranco León site in the Guadix-Baza Basin of southeastern Spain. The Oldowan-styled stone tools date back to 1.4 million years ago, reports Popular Archaeology .

The stone tools are thought to have been used on herbivore mammals, as well as bodies scavenged after carnivore predators were finished with them. These traces of early human hunting and habitation indicate a migration of hominins out of Africa and into a vastly different landscape.

Through analysis of microvertebrate in deposits at the Barranco León site, researchers were able to determine the mean annual temperature of the nearby ancient lake. They found the period was characterized by warm temperatures and high humidity. This climate record corresponds to the stone tool and artifact timeline .

Researchers excavate the site at Barranco León. Screenshot via Excavación en Barranco Leon en Orce

ZeeNews reports, “The researchers said the early Pleistocene era (the era lasted from 2.59 million to 11,700 years ago) was characterised by colder and drier weather. ‘This possibly impeded the settlement of this region by the early hominin population from the southern Caucasus’. […]But shortly afterwards, ‘when the climatic conditions were again favourable, a hominin presence is suddenly evidenced.”

Ultimately, the researchers conclude in the study that the data “clearly support the idea that the early hominin occupation of Europe was strongly constrained by climatic and environmental conditions, rather than by physiography or cultural factors.”


According to the findings of Dr. Agustí, the climate of millions of years ago created a vital transitional period for humanity’s ancestors. Climate seems to remain a transitional force to this day. As the climate continues to change, ancient artifacts and significant human remains resurface , bringing us more information on the prehistoric past, enabling us to understand the overarching story of humanity and our place on this planet.

Featured Image: Pleistocene of Northern Spain showing woolly mammoth, cave lions eating a reindeer, tarpans, and woolly rhinoceros. Wikimedia Commons

By Liz Leafloor

    Killer dinosaurs turned vegetarian

    Scientists have discovered a mass graveyard of bird-like feathered dinosaurs in Utah. The previously unknown species provides clues about how vicious meat-eaters related to Velociraptor ultimately evolved into plant-munching vegetarians.

    Discovery of the bizarre new species, Falcarius utahensis, is reported in the Thursday May 5 issue of the journal Nature by paleontologists from the Utah Geological Survey and the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.

    Scientists do not yet know if the creature ate meat, plants or both, says James Kirkland, Utah state paleontologist at the Utah Geological Survey and principal scientist for the new study. But "Falcarius shows the beginning of features we associate with plant-eating dinosaurs, including a reduction in size of meat-cutting teeth to leaf-shredding teeth, the expansion of the gut to a size needed to ferment plants, and the early stages of changing the legs so they could carry a bulky body instead of running fast after prey."

    The adult dinosaur walked on two legs and was about 13 feet long (4 meters) and stood 4.5 feet tall (1.4 meters). It had sharp, curved, 4-inch-long (10 centimeter) claws.

    Falcarius, which dates to the Early Cretaceous Period about 125 million years ago, belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as therizinosaurs. The group includes feathered dinosaurs such as Beipiaosaurus that were found in southeast China in recent years. Falcarius and Beipiaosaurus are about the same age and appear to represent an intermediate stage between deadly carnivores and later, plant-eating therizinosaurs. Falcarius is anatomically more primitive than the Chinese therizinosaurs.

    The therizinosaurs are maniraptorans. Birds evolved from maniraptorans, a group that includes sharp-clawed meat-eaters such as Utahraptor and Velociraptor, the dinosaur popularized by chasing children through the kitchen in the hit film "Jurassic Park."

    Falcarius "is the most primitive known therizinosaur, demonstrating unequivocally that this large-bodied group of bizarre herbivorous group of dinosaurs came from Velociraptor-like ancestors," says study co-author Lindsay Zanno, a graduate student in geology and geophysics at the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Natural History.

    Falcarius did not descend directly from Velociraptor, but both had a common, yet-undiscovered ancestor, says study co-author and paleontologist Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History and an associate professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah.

    "We know that the first dinosaur was a small-bodied, lightly built, fleet-footed predator," he says. "Early on, two major groups of dinosaurs shifted to plant-eating, but we have virtually no record of those transitions. With Falcarius, we have actual fossil evidence of a major dietary shift, certainly the best example documented among dinosaurs. This little beast is a missing link between small-bodied predatory dinosaurs and the highly specialized and bizarre plant-eating therizinosaurs."

    With almost 1,700 bones excavated during the past three years, scientists have about 90 percent of Falcarius' bones and believe the skeletal remains show several signs of this major evolutionary transition. It had leaf-shaped teeth designed for shredding plants rather than the triangular, blade-like serrated teeth of its meat-eating relatives. Its pelvis was broader, indicating a larger gut to digest plant material, which is more difficult to process than meat. Its lower legs were stubby, presumably because it no longer needed to run after prey. Compared with carnivorous relatives, Falcarius' neck was more elongated and its forelimbs were more flexible, perhaps for reaching plants to eat.

    Sampson says: "Falcarius represents evolution caught in the act, a primitive form that shares much in common with its carnivorous kin, while possessing a variety of features demonstrating that it had embarked on the path toward more advanced plant-eating forms."

    In addition to Kirkland, Zanno and Sampson, other co-authors of the study were fossil preparator Donald DeBlieux, who directed excavation for the Utah Geological Survey, and George Washington University therizinosaur expert James M. Clark. The study was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Discovery Channel to the Utah Geological Survey, which provided a matching $100,000.

    A Place to Eat and a Place to Die

    Falcarius means sickle-maker, so named because later plant-eating therizinosaurs had 3-foot-long, sickle-like claws. The species name, utahensis, comes from the fact the new species was discovered in east-central Utah, south of the town of Green River.

    The new species was excavated from ancient gravely mudstones at the base of the Cedar Mountain rock formation, at a site named the Crystal Geyser Quarry after a nearby manmade geyser that spews cold water and carbon dioxide gas.

    Krkland estimates hundreds to thousands of individual dinosaurs - from hatchlings to adults - died at the 2-acre dig site.

    In the past, scientists have suggested a number of possible explanations for such mass deaths in the fossil record, Sampson says. These include drought, volcanism, fire and botulism poisoning from water tainted by carcasses.

    Kirkland leans toward a theory developed by Celina and Marina Suarez, twins who are geology graduate students at Temple University in Philadelphia. Their research on carbonate-rich sediments in which the dinosaurs were buried suggests the area was near or in a spring, and that there were at least two mass die-offs. That raises the possibility the dinosaurs were drawn repeatedly to the site by water or an attractive food source - perhaps plants growing around the spring - and then the spring occasionally would poison the animals with toxic gas or water, Kirkland says.

    Falcarius is the fourth new dinosaur species Kirkland has discovered in the Cedar Mountain Formation's Yellow Cat member (a unit of the formation) in 11 years. Others are meat-eaters Utahraptor and Nedcolbertia, and an armored dinosaur named Gastonia.

    Therizinosaurs have been found for 50 years in China and Mongolia, but were not recognized as a distinct group until about 25 years ago, Sampson says.

    The only therizinosaur known previously from North America was Nothronychus, which Kirkland discovered in the late 1990s in New Mexico. It was 90 million years old, so scientists initially believed the older therizinosaurs in China had migrated over a land bridge from Asia through Alaska to the American Southwest.

    But due to the constantly shifting plates of Earth's surface, Alaska didn't exist 125 million years ago - the age of both Falcarius and the oldest known Chinese therizinosaur, Beipiaosaurus. So scientists now wonder if therizinosaurs originated in Asia and migrated through Europe to North America before the Atlantic Ocean basin opened up, or if they originated in North America and migrated through Europe to Asia.

    "Falcarius may have been home-grown," Kirkland says.

    "This discovery puts the most primitive therizinosaurs in North America," Zanno says. "This tells us that North America potentially could be the place of origin for this group of dinosaurs."

    Kirkland says Falcarius likely was covered with shaggy, hair-like "proto-feathers," which may or may not have had a shaft like those found in bird feathers.

    No feathers were found with the Falcarius fossils. Feathers rarely are preserved, but "a number of its close relatives found in China had feathers [preserved by unusual lake sediments], so the presumption is this animal too was feathered," Sampson says.

    Therizinosaurs have been enigmatic. Until Falcarius, only "bits and pieces" of other species' skeletons had been found, and "their anatomy was so different from that of any other dinosaur that we didn't know what to make of them," Zanno says.

    The most advanced therizinosaurs - which lived 94 million to 65 million years ago - had larger bodies, long necks, short legs, broad hips, short tails, lightly built skeletons, small heads and many small, leaf-shaped teeth - except at the front of the face where there likely was a beak and - in the case of Therizinosaurus - 3-foot-long claws.

    The plant-eating, elephant-sized Therizinosaurus - a name that means sickle lizard - was "the ultimate in bizarre," resembling "a cross between an ostrich, a gorilla and Edward Scissorhands," Zanno says.

    Kirkland says it is not surprising that Falcarius represents an intermediate step between carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs because "all lines of plant-eating animals had meat-eating ancestors." Long before Falcarius existed, numerous plant-eating dinosaurs such as brachiosaurs already had arisen from meat-eating relatives, he adds.

    Sampson says the rise of plant-eating therizinosaurs "may have been directly linked to the spread of flowering plants about 125 million years ago."

    A Fossil Thief Led Scientists to the Dinosaur Site

    In 2001, Kirkland located the site where the new dinosaur species was discovered thanks to a commercial fossil collector who later was convicted of fossil theft.

    "We never would have found it, at least for 100 years or so, if he hadn't taken us to the site," Kirkland says. "Once he figured out he had a new dinosaur, he realized scientists should be working the site. His conscience led him to get this stuff to me."

    Kirkland first received fossils of the new dinosaur in 1999, when he worked in Colorado and people brought him the bones from a fossil show in Tucson, Ariz. Later, Denver fossil enthusiast John Scandizzo provided Kirkland with rough coordinates to the therizinosaur site, but Kirkland could not locate it. So Scandizzo introduced Kirkland to Lawrence Walker, who had taken fossils from the site. Walker led Kirkland to the site.

    Kirkland soon applied for a digging permit from the federal Bureau of Land Management, which asked Kirkland to give a legal deposition. In November 2002, Walker was indicted in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City for theft of government property. He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five months in prison and 36 months of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. He served his prison time in 2003 and then returned home to Moab, Utah.

    Although Walker led Kirkland to the site, "we simply can't justify illegal activity because it might let us know of something we might not know otherwise," Sampson says.

    "Illegal commercial collection of fossils has become a major problem globally," he adds. "Many highly significant specimens, a number of which represent animals brand new to science, are being lost to private collections. This unfortunate trend robs not only the scientists, but the general public, given that these fossils actually belong to the public and museums simply hold them in perpetuity for research, education and exhibit."

    News conference at 9:30 a.m. MDT May 4, Utah Department of Natural Resources, room 1060, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City.

    University of Utah Public Relations
    201 S Presidents Circle, Room 308
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9017
    (801) 581-6773 fax: (801) 585-3350

    Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

    Media Contact

    Contact: Lee Siegel, science news specialist, University of Utah Public Relations
    [email protected]
    801-581-8993 (office) / 801-244-5399 (cellular)
    University of Utah

    Media release from the Utah Geological Survey and the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah

    More on this News Release

    Killer dinosaurs turned vegetarian

    Journal Nature Funder Discovery Channel Discovery Quest, Utah Geological Survey

    Of lice and men

    A University of Utah study showing how lice evolved with the people they infested reveals that a now-extinct species of early human came into direct contact with our species about 25,000 years ago and spread the parasites to our ancestors.

    The study found modern humans have two genetically distinct types of head lice. One type is found worldwide and evolved on the ancestors of our species, Homo sapiens. The second type is found only in the Americas, evolved on another early human species (possibly Homo erectus) and jumped to Homo sapiens during fights, sex, sharing of clothes or perhaps cannibalism.

    "We've discovered the 'smoking louse' that reveals direct contact between two early species of humans," probably in Asia about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, says study leader Dale Clayton, a professor of biology at the University of Utah. "Kids today have head lice that evolved on two species of cavemen. One species led to us. The other species went extinct."

    Alan Rogers, a co-author of the study and professor of anthropology at the University of Utah, says: "The record of our past is written in our parasites."

    The analysis of lice genes also confirmed two other key developments in human evolution. First, it verified studies showing how and when various species branched off the family tree of primates and humans. Second, it confirmed the "out of Africa" theory that the population of Homo sapiens mushroomed after a small band of the early humans left Africa sometime between 150,000 and 50,000 years ago.

    The study will be published online Oct. 5 in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Biology. The study's first author is former University of Utah postdoctoral fellow David L. Reed, now assistant curator of mammals at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History. Other authors are Vincent Smith of Scotland's University of Glasgow, and Shaless Hammond, who worked in Clayton's lab as a high school student.

    Did Modern Humans Date Other Species - or Kill Them?

    Transmission of the second type of lice from a now-extinct human species to Homo sapiens may have happened during mating, so Reed plans a study of pubic or crab lice - which only spread sexually - to confirm or disprove that possibility. Clayton and Rogers say it's also possible our ancestors got the second kind of head lice by fighting with or cannibalizing another human species - or by sharing or stealing their clothing.

    Clayton says evidence of contact between two species of humans is surprising because "Homo erectus has long been thought to have gone extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago," although recent studies suggested Homo sapiens might have had contact with Homo erectus in Asia 50,000 years ago.

    Reed says: "Not only did modern humans live contemporaneously with close cousins such as Neanderthals, but also with more archaic hominids such as Homo erectus, a species that we have not shared a common ancestor with for over a million years. It is amazing to know that we had physical contact with another species of human. We either battled with them, or lived with them or even mated with them. Regardless, we touched them, and that is pretty dramatic to think about."

    Reed wonders if contact with our species proved fatal.

    "When scientists first determined that we (Homo sapiens) were contemporaneous with Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) in Europe, it was suspicious that our contact with them immediately preceded their extinction," Reed says. "Our study has provided evidence that we had contact with Homo erectus in Asia just prior to the extinction of that species as well. Did we cause the extinction of two other species of humans?"

    Findings Show Lice and Different Human Species Evolved Together

    Our genes reveal the evolutionary history only of modern humans. Fossil evidence is scant for now-extinct species of early humans. Because lice evolved in concert with the humans they infested, lice "have recorded events in human evolutionary history in their DNA," Reed says.

    The researchers analyzed the physical appearance and genetic material (mitochondrial DNA) of modern human head lice, Pediculus humanus, to construct a family tree for lice showing when various species branched off from each other. Genes of modern lice also were used to reconstruct their population histories over time.

    The researchers found the family tree of the lice closely mirrors the previously published family tree of humans and their primate ancestors. That was consistent with the well-known phenomenon that any single species or lineage of lice (like other parasites) tends to stick only to one species of host and rarely jumps to other hosts.

    Scientists already knew that early ancestors of our species, Homo sapiens, diverged from other archaic humans about 1.2 million years ago. (There is semantic debate over whether those archaic humans should be called Homo erectus, or whether the name should be reserved for their more recent descendants.) The new study showed two almost identical-looking but genetically different strains of head lice diverged 1.18 million years ago. That indicates each of the two kinds of head lice infested a different species of early human as the human species diverged.

    Genes from both types of head lice are found on people today, suggesting that after infesting Homo erectus or another archaic human species for 1 million years, the second louse type jumped from that soon-to-be-extinct species and onto Homo sapiens.

    "In order for the archaic human lice to still exist on modern humans, archaic and modern humans had to coexist in time and space," Clayton says.

    What Lice Say About Theories of Human Evolution

    Some of the findings conflict with two major theories of human evolution - the "replacement model" and "multiregional model" and instead fit best with a third theory known as the "diffusion wave model."

    (1) The replacement model says that after primitive human ancestors first left Africa about 2 million years ago, a second wave spread out from Africa sometime after 150,000 years ago and certainly by 50,000 years ago, and then replaced other now-extinct species of early humans in Africa, Asia and Europe without breeding with them.

    Clayton says that model doesn't fit the louse data because if Homo sapiens from Africa replaced archaic humans elsewhere without interacting with them, the type of lice on archaic humans would have gone extinct with their hosts instead of jumping to modern humans.

    (2) The multiregional model says early humans from Africa and elsewhere in the world mated with other each other, so Homo sapiens gradually evolved in many regions worldwide. But if so much interbreeding occurred, the two groups of lice probably would not have remained genetically distinct for the last 1.18 million years, Rogers says.

    (3) The diffusion wave model falls between the other two theories. Like the replacement theory, it says modern humans arose in Africa and spread across the world, Rogers says. Like the multiregional theory, it says those early humans mated with humans elsewhere. The diffusion wave theory adds a new twist, namely, that the genes of humans spreading from Africa came to dominate the modern human genetic blueprint because when they mated with archaic humans, the children were less fit.

    "As they come out of Africa, they replace other populations while interbreeding with them," Clayton says.

    The findings in lice are most consistent with the diffusion wave hypothesis, which allows some interbreeding among various forms of early humans but also says the genes of early humans who left Africa came to dominate Homo sapiens, he adds.

    Lice Genes Confirm Key Events in Human Evolution

    The new study confirmed several events in primate and human evolution. The researchers found chimp lice and human lice diverged roughly 5.6 million years ago, consistent with previous evidence that chimps and human ancestors diverged from a common ancestor about 5.5 million years ago.

    The study also supports the controversial view that there was a "bottleneck" or reduction in the global Homo sapiens population to only about 10,000 people about 100,000 to 50,000 years ago. Rogers and others have proposed the bottleneck may have occurred because of a mass die-off of early humans due to a globally catastrophic volcanic eruption. Others believe the population bottleneck seen in human genes happened because only a small group of human ancestors left Africa in the second wave 150,000 to 50,000 years ago, then reproduced to cause a sudden population expansion.

    The new study used the mutation rate in lice and comparisons of genetic differences among lice to find a similar population bottleneck in the group of head lice that infested early Homo sapiens, but no such bottleneck in the population of the lice on the archaic human species. That means archaic humans didn't go through the same population shrinkage and thus must have spread their lice to Homo sapiens sometime after 50,000 years ago. Rogers speculates contact occurred 25,000 or 30,000 years ago.

    The findings provide independent confirmation of the second "out of Africa" event because genetic analysis shows the population of lice - like their Homo sapiens hosts - also dramatically expanded after the bottleneck.

    University of Utah Public Relations
    201 S Presidents Circle, Room 308
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9017
    (801) 581-6773 fax: 585-3350

    Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

    Media Contact

    Contact: Dale Clayton, professor of biology
    [email protected]
    cellular 801-230-3170
    office 801-581-6482
    University of Utah

    Alan R. Rogers, professor of anthropology
    [email protected]
    cellular 801-949-2128
    office 801-581-5529
    home 801-486-6013
    University of Utah

    David Reed, former University of Utah postdoctoral fellow, now at Florida Museum of Natural History
    [email protected]
    352-392-1721, ext. 220
    Florida Museum of Natural History

    Lee Siegel, science news specialist, University of Utah Public Relations
    [email protected]
    office 801-581-8993 cellular 801-244-5399
    University of Utah

    More on this News Release

    Of lice and men

    Journal PLOS Biology Funder University of Utah, National Science Foundation, Wellcome Trust

    New Study says early humans migrated into Europe due to warming climate - History

    Neanderthal man was not as stupid as has been made out says a new study published by a University of Leicester archaeologist.

    In fact Neanderthals were far removed from their stereotypical image and were innovators, says Dr Terry Hopkinson of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History in a paper published in Antiquity.

    Neanderthals were the sister species of Homo sapiens, our own species, and inhabited Europe in the Middle Palaeolithic period which began some 300,000 years ago. This period has widely been thought to have been unremarkable and undramatic in cultural or evolutionary terms.

    Now Dr Hopkinson has challenged this notion and shown that it does not fit the archaeological evidence. He says early Neanderthals were devising new stone tool technologies and also coming to terms with ecological challenges that defeated their immediate ancestors, Homo heidelbergensis.

    Conventional theories focus on tool innovation much later on leading up to the period when modern humans replaced Neanderthals some 40,000 years ago.

    Dr Hopkinson said: "There has been a consensus that the modern human mind turned on like a light switch about 50,000 years ago, only in Africa. But many ‘modern’ traits like the use of grind stones or big game hunting began to accumulate in Africa 300,000 years ago.

    "It was the same in Europe with Neanderthals, there was a gradual accumulation of technology."

    Not only did the Neanderthals combine old stone tool technologies in innovative ways to create new ways of working stone, says Dr Hopkinson. They also spread from western Europe into areas of central and eastern Europe their forbears had been unable to settle.

    "The eastern expansion shows that the Neanderthals became capable of managing their lives and their landscapes in strongly seasonal environments,” said Dr Hopkinson.

    Dr Hopkinson concludes:” Neanderthals have typically been thought of as incapable of innovation, as it was assumed to be something unique to Homo sapiens. With this evidence of innovation it becomes difficult to exclude Neanderthals from the concept of humanity."

    An aluminum can producer is expanding in North Carolina, while Ball Corp. says its aluminum cups are hitting retailers’ shelves.

    Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group is investing $195 million in North Carolina to increase its ability to make aluminum beverage cans, while Colorado-based Ball Corp. has announced the increased availability of its aluminum beverage cups.

    Ardagh Group says it will make building improvements and convert warehousing space into production space while adding two “new, modern high-speed can manufacturing lines” to its existing site in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A news release from the office of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper states, “With six production lines, the Winston-Salem site is the company’s largest can manufacturing facility in the United States.”

    Ardagh makes aluminum, steel and glass packaging. On its website, the firm says it used nearly 580,000 metric tons of aluminum in 2019. Concerning all three materials, the company says it maximizes its recycling rates and optimizes “the use of secondary packaging materials.”

    The company’s announced expansion in North Carolina follows a similar announcement made last year concerning one of Ardagh Group’s plants in Mississippi.

    The production of more aluminum cans is likely to lead to a higher supply of and demand for aluminum used beverage containers (UBCs) in North America.

    “This very significant project forms a key part of Ardagh Group’s global $2.1 billion 2021-to-2024 business growth investment program and is being undertaken to meet fast-growing demand as consumers increasingly recognize the environmental and quality advantages of beverage cans,” says Claude Marbach, CEO of Ardagh Metal-Beverage North America. “Our products deliver high recycle and content rates, which support customer sustainability targets and contribute to a circular economy.”

    Westminster, Colorado-based Ball Corp., meanwhile, says its Ball Aluminum Cup is available at major retail outlets in all 50 states in the United States. By the end of June, the cups will be available in more than 18,000 food, drug and superstore retailers, including Kroger, Target, Albertsons and CVS, according to Ball.

    “Ball has a long history of being a brand that people trust, and we are excited to reenter the business-to-consumer market with the retail rollout of the innovative and infinitely recyclable Ball Aluminum Cup,” says Dan Fisher, president of the firm. “As a company, we are relentlessly focused on enabling the circular economy and finding new ways to help solve the packaging waste crisis with aluminum beverage packaging. We look forward to working with our retail partners to continue advancing this mission.”

    Sebastian Siethoff, a general manager with the company, says, “The Ball Aluminum Cup is a truly innovative product that has the potential to advance sustainability and reduce plastic waste at gatherings big and small. As we expand the cups’ availability to major retailers nationwide, we are seeing very strong consumer adoption and performance in the marketplace. We are excited to expand the cups’ footprint and continue driving meaningful sustainable solutions for customers and consumers.”

    Q&A: Kim Stanley Robinson Explains How He Flooded Manhattan

    In his latest book, New York 2140 (Orbit Books, 2017), the acclaimed novelist Kim Stanley Robinson presents a dark-but-hopeful vision for humanity a dozen decades from now, on an Earth radically altered by climate change. Robinson deftly constructs a sprawling, soaring story from eight interwoven narratives all sourced to a single building on the island of Manhattan&mdashwhich, despite being half-drowned under rising seas, still sustains a thriving megalopolis.

    In less optimistic and capable hands such a book might be little more than a grim catalogue of the devastating migrations, famines, wars, depressions and extinctions that would inevitably accompany the inundation of coastlines worldwide. These woes are mostly rearview considerations for Robinson, who instead marshals a wealth of evidence from economics, politics and science to explore the new normal that would gradually, inevitably emerge in a post-deluge world. The result is at once familiar yet alien. Robinson&rsquos Gothamites are indistinguishable from the New Yorkers living and working in the city today. But they inhabit a post-carbon super-Venice of canals, water taxis and airships moored to 300-story skyscrapers and verdant vertical farms. Beneath the surging waves and gleaming solar panels, the city&rsquos antediluvian foundations still lurk&mdashand occasionally resurface to profoundly change both individual lives and the course of history.

    Scientific American spoke to Robinson about this possible future, his research process, how this latest novel fits with the rest of his work and why there are rational reasons for optimism in a warmer, wetter world.

    [An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

    Credit: Sean Curtin

    What would you say this book is really about?
    It&rsquos about climate change and sea level rise, but it&rsquos also about the way that our economic system doesn&rsquot allow us to afford a decent future. As one of the characters says early in the book, &ldquoWe&rsquove got good tech, we&rsquove got a nice planet, but we&rsquore fucking it up by way of stupid laws.&rdquo

    Finance, globalization&mdashthis current moment of capitalism&mdashhas a stranglehold on the world by way of all our treaties and laws, but it adds up to a multigenerational Ponzi scheme, an agreement on the part of everybody to screw the future generations for the sake of present profits. By the logic of our current system we have to mess up the Earth, and that is crazy. My new novel explores this problem and how we might get out of it.

    So you set the novel in New York City because it&rsquos a global hub of finance, then?
    Yes. An analysis of late-stage capitalism is pretty abstract, and as a novelist what you need are characters in a situation. So when I was running these ideas by my wonderful editor, Tim Holman, he reminded me of a chapter in my book, 2312, where Manhattan is flooded and become something like Venice. Tim suggested that might be the best physical space to explore my financial ideas. It was a great idea.

    If Manhattan is inundated by 50 feet&mdashan amount unlikely but not impossible&mdashyou can look at topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey and see what would be underwater and what would still be dry. Lower Manhattan would be underwater, upper Manhattan mostly above water. Tides would make Midtown a problem zone, the &ldquointertidal,&rdquo where a swathe several blocks wide would be above water at low tide but underwater at high tide.

    New York Bay is an ecological region that&rsquos still very lively despite all the infrastructure, so you can also imagine a lot of wildlife coming back into the drowned parts of the city. At the same time, it&rsquos hard to imagine people giving up on Manhattan, and all the time and money it represents&mdashit&rsquos an example of what economists call the tyranny of sunk costs. People will want to stay.

    All that struck me as a great setting for a story about a plausible collision between economics and climate change.

    Have you ever lived in New York?

    Wow. I ask because the book is overflowing with references to geography, architecture and the daily flow of life in the city that make it clear you&rsquove spent a lot of time here&hellip. Can you tell me a bit more about your research process?
    It was tremendous fun, although it was also a challenge, because I&rsquom a Californian. I was kind of intimidated to write about New York&mdashin fact I felt more comfortable writing about Mars than about New York. So I looked at maps and read books, and then I went to New York and walked the streets and thought it over. One of the more useful books I read was Mannahatta, by the ecologist Eric Sanderson. It&rsquos an ecological guide to the city, describing what this place was like before people did what they did to it.

    I&rsquove walked in Manhattan many times throughout my life, and for this book I focused on my &ldquointertidal.&rdquo When I went to the city I was on the hunt. One of my good friends lives in New York, so I would visit her and say, &ldquoI need to see the Cloisters,&rdquo or &ldquoI need to go to Hell Gate.&rdquo These were places I thought would become distinctly different if there was a 50-foot rise in sea level. Some would stay well above that rise, like the Cloisters. Other places, like Coney Island, would be drowned.

    Did you learn anything surprising during your visits?
    There was one thing I learned that proved crucial for my story: the old MetLife Tower on Madison Square is an imitation of the Campanile in Saint Marcos Plaza in Venice. That made a good joke, so I placed my characters there, and that&rsquos where a lot of the story unfolds.

    And, as you explain in your book, the 50-foot rise in sea level that turns Manhattan into Venice takes place in two stages&mdasha &ldquoFirst Pulse,&rdquo when the sea rises 10 feet in scarcely a decade in the mid-21st century, followed by a catastrophic &ldquoSecond Pulse&rdquo a few decades later that increases sea levels by 40 more feet. What led you to envision that scenario?
    Well, it wasn&rsquot exactly an attempt at real prediction. I began by figuring out how much of a sea level rise my story needed. It wasn&rsquot that much compared to the maximum that would occur if all the ice on the planet melted, which is something like 210 or 270 feet&mdashI&rsquove read both. How fast would that happen? Not fast at all, because most of the world&rsquos ice is stacked on the eastern half of Antarctica, where it will always be dark and cold half of every year. But because I wanted to portray lower Manhattan as being underwater, I wanted a substantial rise that was still scientifically defensible. What I chose is at the extreme edge of what&rsquos possible, but that said, sea level rise really is going to happen, we&rsquove started it already and it&rsquos going to be a serious problem.

    I was already well along in my book when a paper came out in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics from James Hansen and 18 co-authors. They suggested that the 1-degree Centigrade temperature rise that we&rsquove already created could be enough to generate a 10-meter sea level rise within a century. They suggested this based on paleoclimate data from the Eemian period, when one degree of warming seems to have done just that. Hansen and his group explained this dramatic and inexplicable rise by pointing out that lots of Antarctic ice is perched above and behind ice buttresses resting on land under sea level, so that they stop ice further inland from sliding down at speed.

    If you decouple that ice from where it&rsquos grounded&mdashsomething that currents of warming water, already circulating around the Antarctic coast, could do&mdashthen water could flow beneath the inland ice and lubricate its slide into the ocean. That could drastically increase the rate of ice release and the speed of sea-level rise. If the rate of release doubles every 10 years, you quickly get massive rises. This is the thesis of the Hansen paper, and I ran with that, as it gave me the scientific rationale for what I was portraying.

    The two pulses I described are definitely science fiction, in that they&rsquore speculation on my part. They are derived from the idea that if the ice buttress for one of these big basins in East Antarctica were to go, you might get lots of ice sliding into the ocean very quickly, then sea level stabilizing after that most unbalanced ice is released. Then it might start sliding fast again when other buttresses float away, then again stabilizing, and like that.

    Hansen is one of the more controversial experts in his field, and even to say where sea level was more than 100,000 years ago is really hard, because of various obscuring effects&mdashlithostatic rebounds, etcetera. I would say his paper is a really artful cobbling together of multiple lines of evidence from many different fields. But everyone agrees that sea levels will rise, and every time they update estimates for the size and speed of that rise, they predict it happening faster and higher. That&rsquos the reality we&rsquore in, so I feel confident I was describing a realistic future, even if I wanted to portray rapid sea level rise also for its metaphorical financial aspects.

    Outside of Earth science, there is another pillar of the story in New York 2140: global finance, and how markets and economies might react to climate change. Without giving too much away, the book&rsquos last act describes a sort of utopian solution to things, an eco-motivated populist uprising that results in nation-states wresting control of the global financial system away from transnational banks and corporations. Did you consult experts for that, too? And do you think this scenario is as plausible as your speculations on rising seas?
    My previous books get me invited to what you might call radical or utopian economic conferences. These are often academic meetings critiquing economics from the viewpoint of sociology or anthropology, and in essence reintroducing political economy into the world of discourse. Some of these academics also used to be traders on Wall Street or in finance in some other way. The U.C. Santa Cruz group, Rethinking Capitalism, was an important one for me. Its leader, Robert Meister, introduced me to Dick Bryan from the University of Sydney and Randy Martin from New York University, who has sadly since died. I also have friends here at U.C. Davis doing similar kinds of work at the Center for Science and Innovation Studies, studying economics as a political power system rather than an immutable truth.

    You might call these studies the latest stage of leftist theory in the post-2008 world. And they definitely inform the events near my novel&rsquos end, when citizens first cause the banks to crash by various acts of fiscal noncompliance, then support the nationalization of the banks following that crash. In a way it&rsquos a variation on what happened in 2009, when our federal government nationalized General Motors but let the banks get away. Essentially we paid 100 cents on the dollar for the banks&rsquo terribly stupid gambling, an absurd response concocted mainly by Goldman Sachs executives who had become public officials. People panicked and we got stuck with the bill.

    So my novel&rsquos plot is not my personal invention. It emerges from recent history, and from groups like the ones I mentioned. I&rsquove articulated it as a science fiction story, and I don&rsquot think anyone else has written that particular story yet, so for me it&rsquos new and interesting because it is plausible&mdashand if we enacted it successfully, we could solve some terrible problems we&rsquore facing.

    There is a common tendency among readers to project all of the events and ideas that are contained in a work of fiction upon its author. I just want to be sure: You said this isn&rsquot your plan, that you&rsquore just examining a scenario that might unfold in a possible future. But it also sounds like you&rsquore very passionate about this. How many of these ideas are just plot devices for you?
    I&rsquom an American leftist. When people were trying to place Bernie Sanders in an intellectual tradition, I saw my name mentioned in some articles&mdashthat&rsquos how desperate for American democratic socialists reporters were. I&rsquom happy to be included in that list. My books have a utopian slant to them that is best explained by a coherent political view. And I have no problem with art being political&mdashart is always political, so you might as well be coherent. So I&rsquom happy with that identification, and it&rsquos sort of inevitable at this point. Whatever people might call me, I think I&rsquom much like almost everybody else&mdashI&rsquom surprised at the fearfulness and the stupidity of global finance, the greed involved. I think there&rsquos reason to be angry at what happened in 2008 and at the system that still exists, and to want a better system.

    Getting back to the populist uprising at the end of the book&hellip. It seems the only way to do that would be through some kind of upheaval that delivers a shock to the system. In New York 2140 you&rsquove focused on the potentially catastrophic flooding of coasts around the world due to global warming. Do you think it has to be a major environmental or financial disaster that shakes things up? Or might there be similar potentials for profound change in the moment we&rsquore having now, with the presidency of Donald Trump and the ascendancy of right-wing ideology?
    I think it would be very bad to wait for an ecological catastrophe as a trigger. Naomi Klein argues in her book The Shock Doctrine that whenever we get an eco-catastrophe, capitalism actually tightens the noose around our neck. The fact that they built prisons faster than they built aid centers after Hurricane Katrina is a sign of the fear involved in catastrophe. If you tried to stage a revolt after a catastrophe, you would be justifying the prisons, the oppression, etcetera.

    So what you want is for things to be going along pretty well when the change occurs, and that it just be simply political. Many people are distraught and shocked at the reality of a Trump administration, but I think it&rsquos clear that a certain portion of the population felt so disenfranchised that they freaked out and decided to destroy the system and see what happens. But we are actually still in a moment where things are limping along. So, in a moment that is as weird as this one&mdashbeing an ideological crisis caused by us facing (or not) the reality of a coming ecological crisis&mdashmany people are thinking we&rsquove got to do better. That&rsquos when new ideas might have their best chance.

    In my book there develops a large organization called the Householders&rsquo Union, which plays on the idea that we&rsquore all householders. We all want stability, which in financial terms means illiquidity [Editor&rsquos Note: &ldquoIlliquidity&rdquo refers to assets not easily transferred to currency, a property that can protect against&rdquo volatility&rdquo&mdashrapid, radical swings in value]. This desire for stability allows global finance to prey upon us, because finance prefers liquidity, even volatility&mdashand as the rules are set now, liquidity always beats illiquidity at the game of maximizing profit. So we&rsquove got this parasitic mechanism and class that is eating our lives, and we want to throw them off and re-exert the tenet &ldquoof the people, by the people and for the people.&rdquo How do we do that? Well, because they&rsquore so greedy they have become overleveraged, thus brittle and fragile. So even though they look like they&rsquore in control, all that is needed is for this hypothetical Householders&rsquo Union to conduct a general strike&mdashbut only after electing a particular political order into Congress, one willing to back the people. Then a major change can happen, like nationalizing the banks and making money a kind of public utility, a tool for the people.

    I know this plan is overly simplistic and that there is no single solution, but I am looking for a story to tell that allows us to think the totality in new ways&mdashand because it&rsquos modeled on actual events and in fact almost happened, it could happen again in this way. So to get back to your basic question, no, we don&rsquot want to wait for an eco-catastrophe to stimulate economic change. We want change to happen at a moment of relative stability. We want to cause the change deliberately and proactively.

    It seems like New York 2140 is a marked departure from your most popular previous books, where your &ldquoutopian slant&rdquo played out in stories about human beings leaving Earth and all its baggage behind&mdashor at least trying to. You&rsquove explored this in novels about terraforming Mars, colonizing the solar system and even traveling to other stars. That idea of escaping to somewhere else entirely seems very appealing to many people today who are seeking revolutionary shifts in how society works. Do you think that&rsquos a realistic plan?
    No, not at all.

    I think my body of work makes the case that we can visit and explore the worlds of our solar system in the same way that we now visit and explore Antarctica. People go there, they do good work, they have exciting times, it&rsquos interesting and beautiful&mdashbut then they must return to &ldquothe world,&rdquo as Antarcticans say when they head north.

    Recent discoveries concerning the microbiome have made me think that because we coevolved with this planet we can never really be healthy without it. We are expressions of it and depend on it. Then Antarctica as a model becomes even more powerful. You go to these alien places to study them and then come home. You don&rsquot want to spend your whole life on Mars, because it significantly compromises your health. Spending too much time in a low-g environment might wreck your health. Fetuses might not properly develop in low gravity&mdashthat could be a real showstopper. And as for interstellar travel, all we have learned in the last century suggests that getting human beings to other stars is a fantasy. The cosmos as a story space is like Middle Earth, a great way to tell epic stories that can be interesting but are never going to happen. Or, let&rsquos say we need hundreds or thousands of years of experience before we could even try it, and even then it might not be possible.

    So, I&rsquom trying now in my stories and my public comments to make these distinctions. It&rsquos important to emphasize we have no Planet B available. Mars as an escape hatch is a fantasy. It would be way easier to restore Earth and make it healthy than it would be to terraform Mars. Our environmental emergency will hit hard in the next 200 years, so a thousand-year project to terraform Mars is no solution. I have to admit that my Mars trilogy squeezed that terraforming Mars timeline to its minimum at around 200 years, and has thus created some of this conceptual problem. But even if that timeline were possible, it would still rely on Earth being healthy to be sustainable over the long haul.

    I do research to try to make my stories plausible, so that when you read one and it takes a utopian turn, you might think, &ldquoyeah, that could really happen.&rdquo Because the possibilities for positive futures are there. We don&rsquot have to be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We could actually patch the leaks, and restore a great ship that smoothly cruises along, with no end in sight. And if you then mention that moment when the sun expands and burns up the Earth, sure in five billion years we&rsquove got a problem. Meanwhile the planet is robust. Life is robust. Everything is robust&mdashexcept the current economic system. So let&rsquos reform that, revise it to something more intelligent and generous. That&rsquos my hope&mdashand it doesn&rsquot hurt that it lets me tell a lot of fun and interesting stories.


    Collection 2. Ancient stone tools hint at first division of labor. Above, two stone tool points made using a prismatic blade technique (left and center), and a bone point or needle (right).

    The finds "give us a new window onto a transitional time, on the cusp of modern human cultural behaviors," says anthropologist Aaron Stutz. Thousands of stone tools from the early Upper Paleolithic, found in a cave in Jordan, reveal clues about how humans may have first organized into more complex social groups depending on their technical skills. “We have achieved remarkably accurate estimates of 40,000 to 45,000 years ago for the earliest Upper Paleolithic stone tools in the Near East,” says Aaron Stutz, associate professor at Emory University’s Oxford College. “Our findings confirm that the Upper Paleolithic began in the region no later than 42,000 years ago, and likely at least 44,600 years ago.” The rich array of artifacts shows a mix of techniques for making points, blades, scrapers, and cutting flakes. Population mix Family life. DISABILITY made us human: New vulnerable ape theory suggests our ancestors turned poor genes into an advantage. Small groups of early humans became isolated in genetic bottlenecks making inbreeding more likely and increasing rate of hereditary disabilitiesThese would have forced humans to be more social and compassionateThe model turns conventional thinking about human evolution on its head By Richard Gray for MailOnline Published: 17:46 GMT, 16 June 2015 | Updated: 17:46 GMT, 16 June 2015 Throughout history people with disabilities have been shunned and even actively persecuted.

    But a new evolutionary theory suggests that disability and deformities may have played a crucial role in the development of our species. Anthropologists at the University of York and Newcastle University believe hereditary disabilities may have forced early humans to become more social and cooperative. They claim our ancestors faced genetic bottlenecks at key moments in our evolutionary history, where small groups became isolated, making inbreeding more likely. 3 Simple Tools to Create Quote Posters for Your Class. May 29, 2015 Below are three of our favourite web tools for creating picture quotes.

    You can use these tools with your students to create beautiful quote posters for your class. These picture quotes can be used as warm-up activities or entry events to project based learning. They could also serve as prompts to brainstorm ideas around a given topic or as educational posters to embellish your classroom walls with nuggets of wisdom. 1- PixTeller “PixTeller is a new and simple way to make beautiful posters and to share them with your friends and family.

    Ethiopian and Egyptian genomes help map early humans' route out of Africa. Posted by TANNAnthropology, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Early Humans, Genetics10:00 PM Although scientists are confident that all modern human populations can trace their ancestry back to Africa, the route taken out of Africa is still unclear.

    New genomic analyses of people currently living in Ethiopia and Egypt indicate that Egypt was the major gateway out of Africa and that migration followed a northern rather than a southern route. The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Human Genetics, add a crucial piece of information to help investigators reconstruct humans' evolutionary past.

    To uncover the migratory path that the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians (Eurasians) took when moving out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, Dr. Out of Africa: How early humans first got to Europe. A new study determined that early humans migrated out of Africa through Egypt, a finding bolstered by the discovery an almost complete skull in the Manot Cave of Israel's Western Galilee dating back 55,000 years.

    It provides direct anatomical evidence that fills the historic time gap of modern human migration into Europe. Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority Anthropologists have long debated how early Europeans and Asians left Africa, with some arguing for a southern route via Ethiopia and others pushing a northern path through Egypt. Now, a study in the American Journal of Human Genetics goes a ways to settling this debate and filling in some of the gaps surrounding early human migration. By analyzing genetic data, Luca Pagani, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge in the UK, determined that the preferred route this group of ancestors chose around 60,000 years ago was through Egypt and the Sinai.

    Humans migrated north, rather than south, in the main successful migration from Cradle of Humankind. New research suggests that European and Asian (Eurasian) peoples originated when early Africans moved north - through the region that is now Egypt - to expand into the rest of the world.

    The findings, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, answer a long-standing question as to whether early humans emerged from Africa by a route via Egypt, or via Ethiopia. The extensive public catalogue of the genetic diversity in Ethiopian and Egyptian populations developed for the project also now provides a valuable, freely available, reference panel for future medical and anthropological studies in these areas. Two geographically plausible routes have been proposed for humans to emerge from Africa: through the current Egypt and Sinai (Northern Route), or through Ethiopia, the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Arabian Peninsula (Southern Route). Did sexual equality fuel the evolution of human cooperation? When a massive earthquake struck Nepal 3 weeks ago, people around the world flooded the country with donations and other offers of support.

    Humans are among the most cooperative animals on the planet, yet scientists are unclear about how we got this way. A new study suggests the answer may be gender equality: When men and women have equal say in who they associate with, our social networks get larger. Anthropologists used to think that we grew our social networks by associating with people who were genetically related to us. Families moved in with grandparents and cousins, who themselves lived close to other relatives.

    Study Shows Gender Equality Prevailed Among Prehistoric People. A review by anthropologists of the way gatherer-hunter societies are organized in our own time suggests that the gender inequality observed today did not exist for the vast majority of our evolutionary history and that prehistoric societies were fundamentally egalitarian.

    Science correspondent Hannah Devlin writes at The Guardian: “A study has shown that in contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes, men and women tend to have equal influence on where their group lives and who they live with. The findings challenge the idea that sexual equality is a recent invention, suggesting that it has been the norm for humans for most of our evolutionary history.” Devlin quotes Mark Dyble, an anthropologist who led the study at University College London, as saying: “There is still this wider perception that hunter-gatherers are more macho or male-dominated.

    We’d argue it was only with the emergence of agriculture, when people could start to accumulate resources, that inequality emerged.” More Below the Ad. Scientists unearth earliest-known stone tools, 3.3 million years old. Scientists working in Kenya have unearthed the oldest known stone tools, simple cutting and pounding implements crafted by ancient members of the human lineage 3.3 million years ago.

    At about 700,000 years older than the other stone tools excavated to date, the discovery hints that anthropologists may have had the wrong idea about the evolution of humans and technology, said Stony Brook University archeologist Jason Lewis, coauthor of a study describing the find published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Traditionally, Lewis said, scientists believed that stone tool-making emerged with the first members of our own large-brained genus, Homo, as they fanned out into savanna grassland environments about 2.5 million years ago. Islamic State bans archaeology due to fears of idol worship. Chapter 1 Instructor's Essay: Prehistory. Understand the basic scientific story of hominid evolution What climate changes in what era may have sparked the emergence of what growing array of crucial physical characteristics, australopithicines through Homo sapiens sapiens?

    Understand the basic features of end-of-ice-age Paleolithic human (Homo sapien sapien) society and culture. How did hunter-gatherer communities live, doing what kinds of work, living where, with what status differences for genders and age, and showing what kinds/levels of culture and belief (ex: burial customs, art work)? The First Towns: Seedbeds Of Civilization.

    AP World History Unit 1 Assessment Notes: The Agricultural Revolution flashcards. The Origins of Civilization, Gil Stein. 2 of 2 Chronology of the “Neolithic Revolution”: The Neolithic revolution took place in several stages. First, people settled down in permanent communities (“sedentism”), and afterwards they developed food production. Paleolithic – before 10,000 BCE – nomadic hunter-gathers of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) Epipaleolithic – Natufian Culture ca. 10,000-8300 BCE – sedentary hunter-gatherers Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) – 8300-7500 BCE – domestication of wheat, barley Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) – 7500-6000 BCE – domesticated sheep, goats, cattle, pigs Once people had developed a village farming system based on both domesticated plants and animals, the Neolithic economy spread across the Middle East. The Environmental Context of the Neolithic “Revolution” During the Pleistocene, climatic conditions in the Middle East were much colder and drier than they are today.

    The Epipaleolithic Period and the Natufian Culture of the Levant (10,000–8300 BCE) 1. Framing the Issues. Neolithic Revolution. "The Agrarian Revolution and the Birth of Civilization" Peter N. Stearns, Michael Adas, Stuart B. Plant Domestication. Agricultural Revolution. Ancient Culture Agricultural Revolution Emergence of Agriculture, Ancient Times Inevitably, these methods of hunting and gathering would not prove to be lucrative enough for the nomads, so they were forced to turn to anther method of survival. Within the last 11,000 years, some peoples turned to more modern food production: domesticating wild animals and plants and eating the resulting livestock and crops. As humans spread the globe, game resources in the favorable regions were declining and hunters/gatherers were required to formulate another method of keeping themselves fed. National Geographic: Massive Genetic Study Supports "Out of Africa" Theory.

    Out of Africa Replace or Amixture. Out of Africa and Economics. Genetic Origins. Out of Africa Theory. Investigating Our Past: Where Did Humans Come From? New Study says early humans migrated into Europe due to warming climate. Rising temperatures approximately 1.4 million years ago might have assisted the migration of hominins out of Africa and into Europe, a new study suggests. Dr. Jordi Agustí and colleagues have published a study in the Journal of Human Evolution that argues that prehistoric climate change affected the location and amount of resources available to our early ancestors. These early humans are thought to have benefited from shifting climate patterns, as the warming environment facilitated migration and access to food.

    World's oldest tools discovery may rewrite evolutionary history. Archaeologists have found 20 stones shaped by early humans using 'simple techniques' close to the west shore of Lake Turkana in KenyaThe tools are thought to be 500,000 years older than the first Homo speciesThey are also 700,000 years older than other stone tools found previouslyScientists say it could reshape ideas about how our own species evolved By Richard Gray for MailOnline Published: 12:35 GMT, 15 April 2015 | Updated: 16:46 GMT, 15 April 2015 A set of stone flakes shaped more than 3.3 million years ago could be the world's oldest tools created by early human ancestors, according to researchers.

    Archaeologists have revealed that they have discovered 20 stone flakes and anvils - used to help shape the tools - just west of Lake Turkana in Kenya. World's Oldest Stone Tools Found in Africa - D-brief. Neolithic bling and the spread of farming in Europe. The adoption of farming has completely and definitively changed the relation between humans and nature.

    For the first time, by putting nature at their service through the development of a production economy, humans became the masters of their own destiny. Paleolithic Era vs Neolithic Era quiz flashcards. 34 minutes on Paleolithic Era. The paleolithic era and the neolithic era. An Overview of the Paleolithic. Paleolithic - Study Guide and Chronology of the Paleolithic. Neolithic Europe's Remote Heart. In 2002, Ola and Arnie Tait decided they wanted to change the view from their kitchen window. Rather than staring at a sheep pasture, they envisioned looking out onto a wildflower meadow full of poppies, cornflowers, buttercups, and singing birds. The Neolithic Revolution. A Settled Life. The Agricultural Revolution. Return to Sociology Timeline. Wealth and power may have played a stronger role than 'survival of the fittest'

    The DNA you inherit from your parents contributes to the physical make-up of your body -- whether you have blue eyes or brown, black hair or red, or are male or female. Wealth and selection. Did A Cultural Shift Influence Human Evolution? How Farming Might Have Changed Genetic Diversity. If you’ve ever wondered why people have varying skin tones, it’s because about 1.2 million years ago, we all migrated from Africa, where dark skin protected us from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays, to other areas of the world like Europe, where sunlight isn’t so strong.

    GEOGRAPHY OF ANATOLIA AND ASIA MINOR. Dairy-diaspora2. Map_of_ancient_civilizations. Africa-mp. HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION. The Causes Of Civilization. The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History #1. What is Civilization. Rewritten September 26, 2010 The old master Will Durant begins: "Civilization is social order promoting cultural creation.

    " He goes on to describe four elements that constitute it, one of which is economic activity. I'm bothered by Durant's attempt to answer his question, "What is Civilization? " Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee also annoyed a lot of people with their verbosity on the subject. Origins of Civilization. Emergence of Civilization:Overview. Description: Three to five thousand years ago, many groups of people lived in the Mediterranean area of the world and created the first traditions that can be traced to western culture. Is Civilization A Universally Bad Idea? : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture. Url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=110&ved=0CIIBEBYwCThk& Lecture 1: What is Civilization?

    Up to about the year 1860, man's history had been conveniently divided into three distinct epochs: ancient, medieval and modern. After 1860, however, a new expression came into general use to describe the cultures of the distant past. New Concept of Civilization. Globality Studies Journal (GSJ) WhatIsCivilization-FINAL1. The Concept of Civilization by Xavier Bartlett. What is Civilization. Beyond Mesopotamia: A New View Of The Dawn Of Civilization. New York State Test Prep Social Studies 5 (Grade 3) New York State Test Prep Social Studies 5 (Grade 3) Cultures and Civilizations. Dawn of Civilization2. 8 FeaturesCivilization. National Geographic: The Story of Earth HD. Before Civilization - Ancient Civilizations for Kids. Evolution of Modern Humans: Early Modern Human Culture. Early Humans - Analyzing Paleolithic Art. What did the Paleolithic people use for writing, like on walls and on rocks?

    New Study says early humans migrated into Europe due to warming climate - History

    Printable Version: Download as a PDF [266k]. Download free Adobe Acrobat.
    Sunrise over African landscape, African mountains and landscapes

    Jared in Zambian hospital, with sick children

    Voiceover: Africa. It’s been called the birthplace of humanity, the land where our ancestors took their first steps. Yet only recently revealed as the home of a vast tropical civilization. Cities and kingdoms once spread across the continent, then vanished, leaving barely a trace. What happened to this great achievement? Professor Jared Diamond has set out to explore the great patterns of human history. It’s a journey that has taken him from the jungles of New Guinea to the snow-capped peaks of Peru. His quest, to understand why one people, Europeans, have conquered so much of the world. Diamond argues that the roots of European triumph stretch back thousands of years,
    and rest in the power of geography. Geography gave Europeans the most productive crops and animals on the planet, and these allowed them to develop guns, germs and steel &ndash three great forces of conquest that have shaped human history. Now, Diamond is setting out on the last stage of his quest to discover what happened when guns, germs and steel came to Africa. And to ask what role these forces still play. But Diamond’s journey will test much more than theories. It will also test the man himself.

    Titles: Episode 3: Into The Tropics

    Voiceover: A Class 19D South African Railways steam locomotive. Built Glasgow, Scotland, 1932. It is a testament to technology and human achievement. A tool built to carve a path across a continent. A lasting symbol of the triumph of European guns, germs and steel.

    Voiceover: This engine and its tracks of steel will carry Jared Diamond through the story of Africa. It is a tale with its roots in ambition and greed, peoples of Europe reaching out beyond their native lands in a quest for global conquest.

    Jared Diamond: As Europeans expanded around the world, they conquered other people, they built railroads, they developed rich societies modeled on Europe, they had done this successfully in North America and South America, in Australia, and then they arrived in Africa, and it looked as if the same thing were starting all over again.

    Voiceover: But Africa would be different. A place of dangers and secrets, hidden from these foreign invaders. The first European settlers arrived in Southern Africa in the mid 1600s. They landed here, in the Cape of Good Hope, at the southernmost tip of the continent. They quickly established themselves in this new land, laying out farms, planting wheat and barley, ranching cattle and sheep.

    African landscape with train

    Jared Diamond: This may sound strange but it’s from ordinary agriculture like this that my theory of guns, germs and steel arose. My quest began more than 30 years ago, on a trip to Papua New Guinea, when I began to try to understand why the people there lived so differently from Europeans and Americans. The beginnings of the answer, I realized, depended on farming. New Guineans had only a few native crops that they could grow, and no native farm animals, while my ancestors, even 10,000 years ago, had been blessed with an abundance of domestic plants and animals. Over the centuries this had given them a huge advantage that let them develop cities, nations and even colonies abroad.

    Voiceover: But Southern Africa is 5,000 miles from Europe. How was it possible for the settlers to import European crops and animals to such a distant part of the world? As much as skill, it came down to good fortune. Geography had dealt the settlers an immensely lucky hand. They had stumbled across one of the few parts of the southern hemisphere that feels just like Europe. Because the Cape and Europe lie at a similar latitude, or distance from the equator, and this means that the temperature and climate of these widely separated regions are almost exactly the same. The Europeans were able to establish prosperous farms and settlements, properties now owned by their descendants – people like Hempies Du Toit.

    Jared Diamond: So your family has been here for centuries on this land. How do you feel about the land yourself then?

    Hempies Du Toit, Annandale Farm, South Africa: Well I’ve always loved the land since childhood days and it comes, agriculture’s been in our family for so many generations.

    Jared Diamond: Tell me about the history of this farm.

    Hempies Du Toit: Well the, the land was occupied in 1683, I mean that was only a couple of years after the first settlers came to the Cape.

    Voiceover: But settlers like the Du Toit knew that this was not an empty land. Even today their farms turn up evidence of the Cape’s original inhabitants, a people known as the Koysan.

    Hempies Du Toit: Oh this is interesting. This is a, this is from the Stone Age. Prior to the occupation of this land in 1683 by the settlers, this land was most probably occupied by Koysan people. These were the tools they used to, to scrape the skins when they tanned the skins.

    Hempies Du Toit: And you can see how easily, how nicely it fits into your hand.

    Voiceover: With the arrival of Europeans, these native peoples were driven from their land. But they also faced an invisible and even more devastating agent of conquest. A force Diamond has identified as one of the greatest in human history – germs.

    Jared Diamond: Realizing the importance of farming led me to the next big surprising discovery of guns, germs and steel. Domesticated animals had given Europeans one advantage of which they were completely unaware. By living in close proximity to their livestock, they had become infected with viruses and germs of those animals, which evolved into diseases of humans. Through exposure over centuries, Europeans had developed some resistance to those diseases. But as Europeans spread around the world, they encountered peoples who didn’t have that same resistance, and who then fell victim to devastating outbreaks of infection, especially of smallpox. In the Americas, millions of native people died from this one disease, and here in the Cape it wrought the same havoc on the Koysan peoples.

    Voiceover: Through their farming and their germs, Europeans had established a firm foothold in the southern tip of Africa. Now, they looked to expand.

    Jared Diamond: In the 1830s there was a burst of the pioneer spirit such as had been seen in the European expansion across North America and Australia. This time it was Dutch settlers, and these pioneers moved into the interior like the pioneers moving across North America and Australia.

    Voiceover: Over the course of the 1830s, thousands of Dutch farmers with their families and possessions loaded into wagons left the Cape in search of new land to settle. They called themselves the voertrekkers, and these pioneers all wielded another agent of European conquest – the gun.

    Paul Garner, Battlefield Historian: This is a muzzle-loading rifle, typical of the weapon that every Voertrekker would have had in his wagon. The Boers were particularly adept at using this weapon.

    Voiceover: They could reload it and fire from horseback. These muzzle-loading rifles are still much admired by the voertrekkers’ descendants.

    Derek Engelbrecht, Settler Descendant: Every single man that was in, in good health had at least two or three of these particular rifles.

    Posselt Lawrens, Settler Descendant: In those days it must have been the person’s life, you know. Everything depended on that, you know.

    Derek Engelbrecht: They hunted with them, they protected themselves with them.

    Posselt Lawrens: It was part of him, you know, if you didn’t handle a gun in that day there was something wrong with you. Yeah.

    Man firing gun and Jared watching and firing it himself

    Jared Diamond: Guns and the steel from which they’re made were the last two of the great advantages that Europeans carried with them around the globe.

    Sword smith working as Jared watches

    Jared Diamond: Guns are the result of thousands of years of complex technological developments, which began outside Europe but which Europeans perfected.
    And that was all because of the head start that their farming had given them thousands of years previously.

    Derek Engelbrecht: You know, the flintlock rifle, it was, you know, I shouldn’t really
    say this but it was nearly like as important as a cellphone is today. You can’t go without your cellphone in those days you couldn’t go without your flintlock rifle.

    Fire, with settlers tending it and in encampment at night

    Voiceover: Armed as they were, the European settlers must have been confident they could overcome any obstacle as they pushed further into the African interior. By February 17th 1838, the voertrekkers had reached 800 miles inland from the Cape. But they were entering an alien and unexplored land.

    Zulus approaching settlers’ encampment and attacking it, leaving camp burning

    Voiceover: Suddenly out of the darkness swept a native African army. Their victims barely had time to fire a single shot from their rifles before they were completely overwhelmed. Within hours, nearly 300 voertrekkers lay dead.

    Child crying in camp at morning as settlers lie dead

    Voiceover: Their enemy had struck without mercy. Killing men, women and children alike. Who could have committed such a ruthless and calculated assault, stopping the Europeans in their tracks? In fact, the voertrekkers had trespassed across the border of a mighty African kingdom. Inhabited by people very different from the Koysan of the Cape. They had encountered the Zulus.

    Paul Garner: When they ran into the Zulus, they ran into a group of people who were very different to anybody else they’d been up to, up against up until that point in time. This was an organized group of people.

    Archive: B&W still – Zulu warriors

    Voiceover: The Zulus were the authors of a unique and highly developed African state. Their military skills had allowed them to overwhelm their native African neighbors.
    They held more than 30,000 square miles of land, and had established a sophisticated economy and society. The ferocity of the Zulu defense of their land was something the voertrekkers had simply not expected.

    Paul Garner: It was more than the voers could handle. They, they, they were not prepared for the attack from the Zulus. They were up against a king who could mobilize an army of 10-15,000 men without any problem at all. It could take on almost anybody, they were absolutely fearless.

    Voiceover: The voertrekkers were stunned and devastated. Had they, and the power of guns, germs and steel met their match in Africa? The voertrekkers showed little interest in who the Zulus were, or how they’d developed such a sophisticated state. They wanted a showdown. They gathered their scattered forces behind a great circle of wagons, and readied themselves for battle. At dawn on 16th December 1838, more than 10,000 Zulus stormed across the horizon, charging in to destroy the outnumbered settlers. But this time, the Europeans were able to use their technology to maximum effect. To increase the rate of fire from their muzzle-loading rifles, some would shoot while others would reload.

    Derek Engelbrecht: They would shoot, hand the gun over, take the next gun, fire, hand the gun over. So every five or six seconds you could fire a shot. See that, that was the important thing.

    Voiceover: This time, not a single Zulu could get within ten paces of the encampment. It was a massacre.

    Paul Garner: The voertrekkers had probably killed an estimated 3-3,500 Zulus. The Boers themselves suffered only three injuries.

    Voiceover: The conflict became known as the Battle of Blood River. The Zulus had been broken. Guns, germs and steel had prevailed.

    Steam train being stoked, Jared studying on train

    Jared Diamond: The victorious European settlers pushed on beyond Zulu lands, while new developments in their technology let them increase the pace of conquest. Railroads were key. With railroads one could transport lots of people and their supplies over vast areas. And so in Africa, Europeans started to build railroads, move into the interior and transport themselves and their supplies.

    Voiceover: This was the era of the industrial revolution, a revolution that introduced one further weapon to the colonization of Africa. A weapon that put the same devastating firepower seen at Blood River into the hands of just a single man.

    Paul Garner: This is a Maxim gun. What made this weapon such a great weapon, as opposed to the old single-shot weapons that had been used in years before, is this gun could fire continuously for up to 500 rounds a minute. It had the equivalent firepower of probably 100 men in a company with single shot weapons.

    Voiceover: As they drove further into Africa, Europeans encountered new tribes, some just as hostile to invasion as the Zulus had been. But for peoples like the Matabele, there was simply no answer to the world’s first fully-automatic weapon. The Matabele conflict of October 1893 lasted a matter of hours.

    Paul Garner: The settlers mowed down those Matabele warriors until there were only a few of them left. It was a real case of ancient technology up against the latest and greatest as far as European inventions were concerned.

    Jared Diamond: It seems like the birth of a new age. Europeans carving the path into the interior of Africa. Conquering tribe after tribe, settling where they pleased. Guns, germs and steel triumphant. Except now, those settlers would find themselves facing an entirely new enemy – one that had once been their greatest ally. Geography.

    Voiceover: As they moved north, settlers cleared land for farms, confident they could build a prosperous life in Africa. But with little warning, things began to go awry. The land became impossible to plough. Their crops refused to grow. Their shoes fell apart in the mud. And that was only the start.

    Jared Diamond: The second big problem that Europeans encountered was their animals died. Their horses and oxen had been a big part of the European advantage elsewhere in the world – oxen as draught animals, and horses as their military animals, but here their animals were dying.

    Voiceover: For thousands of years, these domesticated animals and crops had sustained European civilization. Without them, there would have been no guns, germs and steel no history of conquest and colonization. And now the settlers themselves began to fall ill with terrible fevers, while all around them they could see native Africans farming, herding cattle, healthy and alive. How was this possible? What were the secrets of this strange new land?

    Jared Diamond: The ideas behind guns, germs and steel all spring from an understanding of geography. And geography explains why Europeans were now failing.

    Voiceover: European crops had grown well in the Cape, because the Cape was a mirror of the European world, lying on a similar latitude. But as the settlers progressed into the African interior, they’d been moving north, closer and closer to the Equator. At about 23 degrees south, near the River Limpopo, they passed a major geographical boundary known as the Tropic of Capricorn. They were leaving behind their familiar European climate and entering a totally different world. They had entered the Tropics. Compared to the European or temperate zones, the Tropics operate by entirely different rules. Instead of the four seasons of Europe, North America and the Cape, here there are just two – the dry season, and the rainy. Wheat and barley, the crops that had sustained European civilization for centuries, had not evolved to survive in this tropical climate. Yet the native Africans, the Zulus, the Matabele, all the tribes that the settlers had encountered, depended on agriculture just as much as the Europeans. How were they succeeding as the Europeans failed? Even today, the continent of Africa is composed of thousands of different tribal groupings. Each is subtly distinct from the next, in custom and language.

    Children singing in classroom as Jared watches

    Jared Diamond: Such diversity means that most Africans have to master more than one language, and they acquire those skills at a very young age.

    Jared asking children about the languages they speak

    Jared Diamond: I would like to find out how many languages you speak. Who here speaks, knows how to speak Bemba? Aha. Does anybody else know how to understand or speak Lozi? You speak Lozi.

    Jared Diamond: Do you also speak Bemba?

    Jared Diamond: Is there another language that you speak also?

    Jared Diamond: Lovak. That’s four languages. That’s good. Most Americans speak only one language. After a little exposure to these different languages, you begin to realise one thing – they all sound remarkably similar. I’m fascinated with languages, and wherever I’ve been going I’m asking Africans, what’s your language and tell me some words in your language, so here’s what I found out for the word for sun. In the Neanga language, sun is azuba, in the Bemba language it’s haka zuba, in Chiwa it’s dzuba, and in the Senga languages, zuba again. Or the word for water. In the Neanga language it’s manzi and in Bemba it’s amenchi, and in chiwa it’s manzi, similar to each other again.

    Marketplace with people buying and selling

    Jared Diamond: What do these linguistic similarities tell us? That there is a common root for most of the modern languages of tropical Africa. A single ancestral language spoken by a single group of people from which the many languages of today have descended.

    Voiceover: Linguistic analysis has isolated a family of languages known as Bantu, which originated in tropical West Africa. About 5,000 years ago, the early Bantu speakers began to spread into new lands, bringing their crops, their animals and their language with them. And over centuries, Bantu culture evolved, diversifying into hundreds of tribes, expanding across the tropical region of Africa. But the truth of this pan-African civilisation was suppressed for many years. Dr Alex Schoeman is trying to overturn the legacy of South Africa’s racist past. She has been excavating an archaeological site on the banks of the Limpopo River.

    Alex Schoeman, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa: In the early part of the 20th century, and there were rumors in the white South African community about this place, in their minds linked to the Queen of Sheba or some other early white civilization in Southern Africa, trying to show that the Phoenicians or the Subeyans, basically anybody who was a bit lighter-skinned than Africans, were here first, and they found the opposite, that Africans actually had amazing great history and that they had earlier states running before, way before any white set foot in Africa.

    Voiceover: This site, known as Mapungudwe, the place of the jackal, formed the heart of a kingdom similar to the earliest civilizations in Europe.

    Alex Schoeman: Mapungudwe was the core, it was the capital of a massive state, and about 5,000 people living around this hill, but then you had several thousand other people living in the valley who produced the agricultural surplus to feed the city or town. They had cattle, they had sheep, they grew sorghum, millet, and they worked iron. It was
    a massive, amazing development that occurred in Southern Africa.

    Voiceover: And this was not an isolated state. It formed part of a much larger economic network that had spread across Southern Africa and beyond.

    Alex Schoeman: These are Mapungudwe beads, they’re gorgeous blue ones, these are glass beads that came down the Indian Ocean coast, and through them we know that Mapungudwe’s part of an international trade network, linking it all the way to the coast. It’s an incredible African accomplishment, to set up such a complex trade network that links all the way into Northern Botswana, bringing material from there and taking it all the way to the Indian Ocean coast.

    Jared Diamond: So, Africans had overcome the problems of agriculture that defeated
    the European settlers. They had developed a unique tropical system of agriculture that had spread across the continent, and become the foundation of complex societies, trading as far afield as India. But there was an even more extraordinary story at the heart of this flourishing tropical civilization.

    Voiceover: As soon as they entered the tropics, Europeans and their imported animals had fallen victim to terrible disease. Fevers wracked their population. Yet tropical Africans showed fewer of the same effects. Many of them even survived that most lethal of European weapons smallpox &ndash the disease that had devastated the native peoples of North and South America and the Koysan of the African Cape. How was this possible?
    Diamond believes it all comes back to geography. Many of the diseases that were killing the settlers and their European livestock were unique to the tropical world. They had never encountered them before. It was a complete reversal of the usual pattern of conquest.

    Jared Diamond: In the New World, the germs had been a weapon on the side of the Europeans killing indigenous people. Here it was indigenous germs, to which Europeans had not a history of exposure, and so here we have guns germs and steel again, but the germs working in the opposite direction, killing Europeans.The settlers and their imported livestock had fallen victim to a host of tropical infections and diseases. But African cattle, over thousands of years, had developed resistance to many of these tropical germs. And these cattle might also explain why tropical Africans had not succumbed to smallpox on the same scale as the Koysan people of the Cape. The smallpox virus originally crossed over from cattle to man centuries ago, and experts now believe it may have first originated in tropical Africa. Africans were certainly familiar with the disease. They had even developed methods of vaccination that bestowed immunity for life. And there was more. Native Africans had also developed antibodies against one of the most virulent diseases on earth. Malaria. Carried by the humble mosquito, this was the disease that was now overwhelming the European settlers. But tropical Africans were combating malaria with more than just antibodies. Their entire civilisation had evolved to help them avoid infection in the first place. They tended to settle in high or dry locations, away from the wet, humid areas where mosquitoes breed. And by living in relatively small communities, spread out over vast areas, Africans could limit the level of malaria transmission. It was an extraordinary achievement. But the Europeans understood little of the Africans’ way of life. They built settlements by the rivers and lakes they used for water, in places infested by mosquitoes. Thousands died.

    Jared Diamond: So it seemed that the tropics had defeated European guns, germs and steel. And that Africans had emerged triumphant. They had evolved a complex civilization well suited to the tropical world. A civilization that had spread throughout the continent in a vast cultural Diaspora.

    Voiceover: Was this the end of European guns, germs and steel in Africa? What would the future hold for this mighty tropical civilization? The Europeans had failed to settle Africa’s land. This would become no North or South America. But Africa still had
    one great draw for the colonizing powers – vast reserves of natural resources copper diamonds gold. European conquest and the story of guns, germs and steel would now enter a whole new age.

    Archive: B&W footage Africans laboring and building

    Voiceover: In the late 1800s, is what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Belgians drove millions of native Africans from their villages, setting them to work gathering rubber, mining copper and other minerals. Burning their homes behind them. Reducing their 1,000 year old tropical civilization to dust and ashes. Few were as brutal as the Belgians, but across the continent, millions of Africans were compelled to abandon a way of life perfectly adapted to the tropics, and to labor for Europeans. To ferry Africa’s natural wealth back to Europe, the colonizers turned again to their technology, building ever greater railroads. After more than half a century and the labor of tens of thousands, tracks of shining steel reached all the way from the Cape into the very heart of the tropics. Constructed for Europeans to extract Africa’s wealth. Built on the ruins of African civilization.

    Jared Diamond: All this time, I’ve been uncovering the train of guns, germs and steel across Africa. And even this train and the track it rides on lie at the heart of my story.
    These tracks are still in use, still fulfilling their original purpose. Trains travel from the southern tip of Africa into modern Congo and Zambia, ferrying back tons of copper and other minerals. But Africa today is no longer a continent of colonies. Its nations are free and independent. What place is there for my theory of guns, germs and steel in modern Africa?

    Voiceover: The end of the line for Jared Diamond. Civil war in the neighboring Congo makes it too dangerous to travel the last few miles of this track. But even here, the reality of modern Africa is clear.

    Jared Diamond: I’m now in the centre of the African tropics, and I’m in Zambia, one of the poorest countries in Africa and really in the whole world. The average annual income here is a few hundred dollars, and the lifespan, average lifespan of a Zambian is 35 years, so I myself have now lived nearly two average Zambian lifetimes. What goes through my mind here is, what can history and geography and guns, germs and steel tell us that would help us understand the plight of Zambia today? In modern Zambia I see few signs around me of the great native civilizations that once flourished in tropical Africa. What I see instead is a country shaped by colonization. I see towns and cities that grew up next to the mines and railroads established by Europeans, and built on the European model. What about the great forces that originally shaped this continent and its people? The forces behind its conquest by Europeans. Where are guns, germs and steel in modern Africa?

    Hospital interior with patients and families

    Dr Christine Manyando, Tropical Diseases Research Centre, Zambia: In Zambia, malaria is endemic. It is the number one public health problem, and when you look at the children particularly, when you go to a health facility, up to 45% of the children in the outpatient facility of the hospital will actually be presenting with malaria.

    Hospital with patients and their parents

    Voiceover: Germs, one of Diamond’s great forces of history, are still shaping the story of modern Zambia. Not just the recent scourge of AIDS, but also that ancient tropical disease that defeated Europeans – malaria. Malaria is now the number one killer of African children under five years old.

    Christine Manyando: This old register will just show you the picture of, of the number of deaths that would have occurred within the hospital. Most of them are children below five years, one year six months, three years, five months, one year, most of them are really below five years.

    Voiceover: Tropical Africans once lived in settlements spread out over large areas, which minimised the spread of malaria. But now they’re living in modern high-density cities and towns, and the rate of infection has increased dramatically. The burden of germs is one of the greatest problems afflicting the country.

    Christine Manyando: Undoubtedly malaria has a very big economic burden on us as a country, because as you may be aware, if so many children would be suffering from malaria, if we just look at the children who are in this ward, these mothers would be working somewhere and being productive, so that’s one direct way in which we know productivity’s been affected to a large extent.

    Professor Nick White, Centre for Tropical Medicine, Oxford University: It’s been estimated by eminent economists that the 1% negative growth each year in Africa over the last half a century can be attributed entirely to malaria.

    Voiceover: The immunities and antibodies that Africans had developed over thousands of years to protect them from malaria no longer provide sufficient protection. The strains of the disease are mutating, and standard drugs are becoming less effective. In the high malaria season, up to seven children a day die in this hospital.

    Jared Diamond: You’re used to this. I’m, I’m not. I’m – what is this, what does this scene make you feel about – your work in Zambia?

    Christine Manyando: Exactly. To be frank with you, Jared, I wouldn’t say I’m used to this, because I don’t think there’s anyone who can be used to sickness and eventually death, especially of people that you love so very much and are a part of you. It is, it is something that in fact I would say because of the magnitude of the problem, one would wish to do everything they possibly could do.

    Children in hospital, and Jared crying

    Christine Manyando: Because of the fact that…..

    Jared Diamond: There’s a difference between understanding something intellectually and experiencing it at first hand. In my book, germs was one of the three main forces of history and it’s impersonal, and it’s still different and it hits me to be in a place where germs are in action.

    Jared on plane/view from plane

    Jared Diamond: Thirty years ago I set out on a journey. A quest to understand the origins of inequality in our world. I discovered that this story stretched back to the beginning of civilization, and rested on the geography of our planet. When humans first started farming, one small area in the world was lucky enough to have the best crops and animals, which gave one group of people a unique advantage in history. Europeans perfected guns and steel evolved lethal diseases and germs. They then used these tools to conquer continents and to build extraordinary wealth. I conclude that geography, and guns, germs and steel, have been the strongest forces to shape the history of our world. Here in Zambia, these forces are still shaping the world today. Tropical germs are overwhelming this country and its people, and driving them into poverty. Does that mean that Zambia will always remain a victim of these great forces of history and geography? And that Africa is condemned to a future as poor as its present? Absolutely not. And I would say that the message is a hopeful one, it’s not a deterministic, fatalistic one that says, forget about Africa and underdeveloped areas. It says there are specific reasons why different parts of the world ended up as they did, and with understanding of those reasons, we can use that knowledge to help the places that historically were at a disadvantage.

    Voiceover: Malaysia and Singapore are among the richest and most dynamic economies in the world. Like Africa, they are tropical countries, with the same problems of geography and health, the same endemic malaria. But both transformed themselves by understanding their environment. Fifty years ago, these countries realized the burden that geography and germs could be. Through concerted effort, they managed to almost entirely eradicate malaria from their land, transforming their economies and way of life.
    The story of Malaysia and Singapore shows what an understanding of geography and history can do.

    Jared Diamond: Explanations give you power, they give you the power to change.
    They tell us what happened in the past and why, and we can use that knowledge to make different things happen in the future.

    Voiceover: The government of Zambia agrees. They have set up a nationwide project to try to eliminate malaria from the country, just as in Malaysia and Singapore. New drugs, even a possible vaccine, are giving them an increasing chance of success.

    Christine Manyando: The control of malaria will mean an improvement in the welfare of the people, and an improvement in the welfare of the people will mean increased productivity, and increased productivity will mean that we will be a wealthy nation, because that will mean that then people will have sufficient, not only food but sufficient time to do things that make a human being complete and whole and able to lead a fulfilled life.

    Voiceover: Jared Diamond’s quest has been to understand the great forces of human history. But it is still the very smallest of details, the lives of individual human beings, that lie at the heart of his work.

    Jared Diamond: When we talk about history we talk about development, we talk about competition between societies and the wealth of nations, it can sound intellectual, but here in Africa there are human faces on it.

    Voiceover: And for Diamond, even after 30 years of thought and enquiry, the questions behind guns, germs and steel remain as important as they ever did. Why is our world divided between rich and poor, and how perhaps can we change it?

    Jared Diamond: I feel that whatever I work on for the rest of my life, I can never work on questions as fascinating as the questions of guns, germs and steel, because they’re the biggest questions of human history.

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom Insists, “I Have No Patience For Climate Change Deniers” Amid Largest Fire Season In Recent Memory

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that, as of this time last year, 118,000 acres had been burned by wildfires. So far in 2020, the state has seen 2.3 million acres burned.

    “We’re just entering into fire season this year,” said the governor, and this is already “the largest fire season we’ve had in recent recorded history.” He then made a more forceful point.

    “Extreme fire events that we believe are climate-induced,” said the governor, require stronger commitments from state, local and federal governments.

    When challenged on the cause of the fires, Newsom ticked off a list of extraordinary climate-related factors coming together this year including, “unprecedented temperatures, a heat dome, 14,000 lightning strikes over a 24-hour period and 150 million-plus dead trees related to a multi-year drought.”

    Related Story

    50-60 MPH Santa Ana Winds To Rake L.A. This Week As Fires Rage Utilities Might Cut Power

    He added: “I have no patience for climate-change deniers. It’s inconsistent with the reality on the ground, the facts.”

    Today 14,000 firefighters are battling 25 major wildfires statewide. CAL FIRE has increased staffing in preparation for critical fire weather in multiple areas of the State. More information at:
    Photo courtesy of Jeremy Ulloa.

    &mdash CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) September 8, 2020

    Locally, the Bobcat Fire near Azusa has grown to more than 8,000 acres and remains at 0 percent containment.

    The Forest Service estimates that the fire — which broke out at midday Sunday near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area — will not be fully contained until Oct. 15.

    Fire officials put some Monrovia residents on notice that they might be ordered to evacuate if the fire spreads south.

    Evacuations already were ordered for residents and Angeles National Forest visitors from Big Santa Anita Canyon, Mount Wilson, San Gabriel Canyon and Monrovia Canyon.

    Officials also said Tuesday that the full closure of the Angeles National Forest — announced Monday along with those of several other national forests in California due to ongoing fire danger across the state — will be in effect until September 14.

    Two other fires in Southern California are also at 10 percent containment or less: the Valley Fire near San Diego and the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino. Both are at about 16,000 acres burned.

    After mentioning the record temperatures seen in Los Angeles over the weekend, Newsom stressed the impact on energy infrastructure.

    “All these things are connected,” he said. “Obviously, these weather events have put a lot of pressure on our electrical system. We have put historic pressure on our grid.”

    That pressure might increase again as the National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for Ventura and Los Angeles counties for Tuesday and Wednesday. The NWS alert says early-season Santa Ana winds will create “critical fire danger” in many areas.

    “In the next 24 hours, we may see wind gusts up to 50 mph,” warned the governor.

    The strongest winds in Southern California are expected Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with gusts between 35 and 55 mph.

    Here's an idea of predicted winds over Ventura & Los Angeles Counties thru Wed. Gusty #SantaAnaWinds will increase over the mountains by midday then spread to the valleys/coast tonight. Gusts to 60 mph mtns & 40 mph coasts possible. #CAwx #LAfire #LAweather

    &mdash NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) September 8, 2020

    Newsom said SCE was indicating that six counties might be impacted, power-wise, by Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are implemented to help prevent wildfires from sparking. Two of the state’s most deadly wildfires — the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire — are thought to have been started by power lines downed by high winds.

    Meanwhile, thousands of Southern California Edison and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers already were without power on Tuesday, and electricity for some was not expected to be restored until Wednesday.

    As of Tuesday morning, there were 9,700 DWP customers without power, down from 23,000 at 9 p.m. Monday and more than 45,000 at 1 p.m. Monday, following the record-breaking heat wave that hit Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend.

    “As I speak, there continues to be … those who are without power, and that is something that this department sincerely regrets,” DWP Board of Water and Power Commission President Cynthia McClain-Hill said during the commission’s meeting Tuesday. “We had crews that were out, as I understand it, doing 16-hour shifts. … Every single resource that this department has and every resource that we could beg, borrow or steal was dedicated toward addressing this crisis.”

    The estimated time of total restoration of services is 48 hours from the time an outage began, DWP spokeswoman Dawn Cottrell said. Customers who have been without power the longest were receiving top priority.

    “We are doing everything we can to get everyone dealt with, both the large outages and the small outages,” DWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Marty Adams said. “We hope that we will make significant progress today and get everyone back in power as quickly as we can.”

    Adams said many of the issues related to power restoration involve the need for a power line repair or a transformer that needs to be replaced.

    The DWP was requesting mutual aid from nearby utilities in order to help with the high number of small outages.

    “Restoring neighborhood outages affecting groups of five to 20 homes takes our crews much longer than larger circuit level or partial circuit outages where a single crew may be able to restore power to 500 to 1000-plus customers in the same amount of time,” according to a statement from the utility on Monday.

    “In contrast, neighborhood outages typically take a single crew four to six hours to restore power to a much smaller group of customers.”

    The statement added that DWP crews `”have been working around the clock on 16-hour shifts since Saturday and will continue until every last customer is restored. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we respond to one of the worst heat storms ever to hit our city.”

    SCE, meanwhile, was making progress on restoring power to thousands of customers. By about 8 a.m. Tuesday, SCE had reduced the number of customers affected in Los Angeles County to 9,800 and in Orange County to 2,500.

    With red flag fire conditions in the area, however, SCE warned that more than 66,000 of its customers could be subjected to outages. Of those, more than 8,500 are in Los Angeles County and nearly 6,500 are in Orange County.

    The DWP urged people to set air conditioners to 78-82 degrees and “skip laundry and heavy appliance use.”

    We climate scientists won't know exactly how the crisis will unfold until it’s too late

    When we hold on to things for too long, change can come about abruptly and even catastrophically. While this will ring true for many from personal experience, similar things can happen at large scales as well. Indeed, the history of Earth’s climate and ecosystems is punctuated by frequent large-scale disruptive events.

    When the air warmed and the last ice age was coming to an end, the continent-size glaciers – or ice sheets – stayed around for much longer than the climate would allow. Then parts of them collapsed in spectacular fashion. One such collapse – we still don’t know of which ice sheet – caused at least four metres of sea level rise per century and possibly also the following abrupt transition to a much warmer climate, only to be followed by an equally abrupt flip-flop between warm and cold conditions, before the onset of the stable climate we have enjoyed until recently.

    This long period of stability seems to have ended already. Australia’s climate had been warming rapidly for many decades, and eventually the moment came when record-breaking extreme heat coupled with an exceptionally dry period created the conditions for a series of mega fires.

    In all, the fires burned more than 20% of temperate broadleaf forests in New South Wales and Victoria, compared to less than 2% in a typical season. Many of the forests may never recover to their previous state. Other ecosystems may contain similar tipping points.

    Predictive models are the lifeblood of climate science, and the foundation upon which political responses to the climate and ecological crisis are often based. But their ability to predict such large-scale disruptive events is severely limited.

    For example, the massive scale of the recent Australian bushfires goes beyond what any model used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ever simulated – for the present or the future. In fact, one of us (Wolfgang) has published extensively on future wildfires, and his work found that fire activity in parts of south-eastern Australia would likely increase significantly by the late 21st century. In reality, much more widespread fires occurred some 70 years earlier than predicted.

    This isn’t the only case where models used by climate scientists are inadequate. The IPCC’s estimates of how much CO₂ we can still emit to be on the safe side explicitly leave out many known large-scale disruptions or tipping points because of insufficient understanding or because models cannot capture them.

    One such tipping event, the unravelling and eventual disappearance of the Amazon rainforest, may already be underway. A new study uses model-aided statistical analysis from past ecosystem collapses and comes to the conclusion that, once triggered, Amazon dieback could take as little as 50 years. Because we lack a full understanding of how exactly such a collapse might unfold, such models are not being included in future projections.

    The IPCC’s recent report on the oceans and cryosphere (sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets) still doesn’t report the full possible range of sea level rise exacerbated by a possible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The IPCC’s range of 0.3 to 1.1 metres by 2100, dependent on emissions scenario, stays markedly below the worst-case scenario of 2.4 metres which resulted from an analysis of experts’ opinions. Zita Sebesvari, one of the report’s lead authors, has admitted that such a worst case scenario cannot be ruled out.

    We know quite well that the climate we are about to create resembles that of millions of years ago, but we are mostly ignorant about how fast this will happen and what it means for humans and ecosystems. Yet scientists rarely point out the uncertainties in their predictions – in particular worst-case scenarios that are beyond the capability of models – and prefer to stick to the conservative but firm conclusions that can be drawn from well-established models.

    To discuss highly uncertain but potentially catastrophic outcomes is often seen as political fearmongering. But basing the political response to the climate crisis on a series of safe-looking and – in their totality – apparently certain predictions is therefore painting a wholly inadequate picture of the potential risks that the climate and ecological crises pose to humanity and the biosphere.

    We scientists need to proactively emphasise the uncertainties of our model scenarios, and that we don’t know for certain how severe the climate crisis will be, how rapidly it could unfold, nor how it will affect humans and ecosystems. In so doing, we must reassess how best science can contribute to climate policy in service of humanity.

    We must have the humility to accept how much we do not know – including at what point it is too late to prevent catastrophic tipping points and the consequent large-scale disruption. Only then can we free the political response from operating according to conservative assumptions and mid-range scenarios, and base it firmly on preventing a worst-case scenario.

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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