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This Fleeting World WHAP Questions
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  Jayson Wieczorek Period 7 This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity Introduction 1.) According to Christian, the purpose of This Fleeting World is to give the reader a “big -picture narrative” of world history. It also offers a new way to think about the structure that a world history course should have. Beginnings: The Era of Foragers 2.) The Paleolithic Era was a period of time from 2.5 million years B.C.E. until 10,000 B.C.E. It was also known as the “Old Stone Age” and was characterized by the use of chipped stone tools and the earliest colonization of the world. Within this era, from around 300,000 B.C.E- 10,000 B.C.E., was the “Era of Foragers ”. Foragers are the first homo - sapiens that would “forage” or gather their food from the wild. They would often collect berries and other vegetation and hunt for their meat and hides. This era has not been studied by historians because most historians do not have the necessary skills to study a time period with no written evidence of the people of that time. 3.) Three types of evidence used to study this time period are cave paintings, the study of modern foraging communities, and genetics. Cave paintings can help to learn more about the spiritual and non-material life of the foragers. Modern foraging communities help to understand basic patterns and the way of life of the ancient people. Genetics allow historians and archaeologists determine how closely related modern day humans are to the ancient foragers. 4.) Carbon dating is a way of determining the age of a wide variety of organic matter. This has helped by allowing for a clearer picture of the chronological order of events in the history of the world. It freed archaeologists from using only artifacts as a means of chronology. 5.) Human history began between around 250,000 and a few million years ago, depending on the theory. There are two main theories that claim to explain human history. They are evolution and migration. The theory of evolution states that humans have changed from lesser organisms over the last few million years. It claims that the evolution most likely started around the Afro-Eurasian area and through time, different characteristics have developed in different areas. These different characteristics have created the variety among races in humans today. The other theory, the theory of migration, states that because all humans are very similar to each other, they could not have been evolving for more than 250,000 years. Migration says that all humans stemmed from a few srcinal ancestors. Also, because the most diversity can be found in Africa, migration most likely started in Africa. I personally believe that the migration is the most pla usible. I don’t know how the theory of evolution works because it is impossible to explain when the first human-like organism emerged. Also, this organism would not be able to mate and produce fertile offspring because it would have been a different species. 6.) The main factors that distinguish humans from other species are our ability to make and use tools, our ability to hunt systematically, our ability to walk on two legs, our exceptionally large brains, and our ability to communicate through symbolic language.  7.) Population densities were so low in foraging communities because the foragers were believed to have not eaten more than was absolutely necessary for survival. This means that they did not do much work. Because the low amount of work, there were smaller populations scattered around larger areas. It is also believed that populations could have been deliberately kept low to avoid over-exploitation of the land and resources. The foraging communities were tied together through the exchange of members that would occur when neighboring communities would meet with each other and celebrate rituals and exchange goods. Males usually hunted for animals while women most likely took care of the children and would forage local areas for dependable food such as berries and greens. Males and females both had the same power within the family or community. 8.) Australia and the Americas had such a large extinction rate because of the extreme hunting of animals that had low reproductive rates. The extinction of these large animals meant that people in Australia and the Americas could not use these animals as a force to do work such as plowing. 9.) “Fire - stick farming” was when foragers would burn large amounts of land to dispose of potential fuel so that the new growth could be more fruitful. This new growth would attract grazing animals that could be hunted for food. The development of humans should be linked fairly closely to the development of the environment because we have learned how to manipulate the environment to do what we need. 10.) Some people might say that foragers were affluent because they did not have to rely on a few select things for survival. They could get almost anything that they needed at any time from the environment around them. Personally, I do agree with these people. If you look at affluence today, you can see that all wealth allows you to do is to be able to get anything you want when you want it. Acceleration: The Agrarian Era 11.) Agriculture differs from foraging in that with foraging, a food source was not always available. A farmer can control how much food he/she wants to produce by planting a certain amount of seeds that year. Also, agriculture had a much greater impact on the environment because farmers began to discover how to manipulate certain plants in order to get a desired product. Agriculture also decreases the fertility of the land because the crops are draining the nutrients from the soil. Agriculture began around 8000 B.C.E. and srcinated in the Nile Valley and Mesopotamia. These area have many rivers and allow the soil to be constantly watered. 12.) The climate played a major role in the development of agriculture. As the last Ice Age ended, the climate began to get very wet. Also, many foragers began to settle down in more permanent location. Because of the wet climate, the soil was in a perfect condition for farming. Because of the more farming, people could now settle in the same locations, thus increasing the population density. People became more sedentary because they did not have to do any special work to get their own food. Farmers were now the main producers of food supply. 13.) Agriculture spread in every direction. It spread so rapidly because as the population density grew, people needed more space. They moved away from the large groups and brought the agriculture with them. 14.) The six characteristics shared by agrarian communities are village-based societies, demographic dynamism, accelerated technological innovation, epidemic diseases, emergence of hierarchy, and early glass ceiling. Village-based societies means that all of the groups of people lived in villages that were  composed of stable farming households. Demographic dynamism is the spread of agriculture to all viable places with the rapid increase of population. Accelerated technological innovation is the creation of new and more efficient ideas and goods. Some of the innovations included the better management of water, the use of livestock products that did not involve killing the animal and the implementation of animals to plow fields.
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