Skip to comments.Ears of plenty (the story of wheat / The story of man's staple food)
Posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:55 PM PST by SunkenCiv
[W]heat is losing its crown. The tonnage (though not the acreage) of maize harvested in the world began consistently to exceed that of wheat for the first time in 1998; rice followed suit in 1999. Genetic modification, which has transformed maize, rice and soyabeans, has largely passed wheat byto such an extent that it is in danger of becoming an "orphan crop"... And with population growth rates falling sharply while yields continue to rise, even the acreage devoted to wheat may now begin to decline for the first time since the stone age... [W]heat is a genetic monster. A typical wheat variety is hexaploidit has six copies of each gene, where most creatures have two. Its 21 chromosomes contain a massive 16 billion base pairs of DNA, 40 times as much as rice, six times as much as maize and five times as much as people.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
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I'm amaized! I still believe grapes were the first domesticated crop though!
Barley -- 14,000 years before present.
Appropriate FR handle for this topic, BTW.
Wheat is good, but barley is king.
The History of Man
History began some 12,000 years ago. Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter.
The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundations of modern civilization and, together, were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives.
Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can was invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.
Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to barbeque at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as "the Conservative movement."
Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the Conservatives by showing up for the nightly barbeques and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlymen.
Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that Conservatives provided.
Over the years, Conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.
Modern Liberals like imported beer (with lime added)(& foo foo coffee), but most prefer white wine or imported, bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard Liberal fare.
Another interesting evolutionary side note: Most Liberal women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are Liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't "fair" to make the pitcher also bat.
Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, fighter pilots, athletes and generally anyone who works productively outside government. Conservatives who own companies hire other Conservatives who want to work for a living.
Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to "govern" the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the Liberals remained in Europe when Conservatives were coming to America.. They crept in after the Wild West was tame and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.
Here ends today's lesson in world history.
With good planning and a plague or two mankind could have the population back down to a comfy one Billion by 2200.
Best news in years.
The original human diet had to be some combination of fruit and shellfish. Elaine Morgan is almost certainly correct in thinking humans originally lived in water and whether a person believes in evolution is pretty much irrelevant to that question. Humans would have eaten shellfish which we could deal with with our hands and which fish can't do anything with, and fruit which they went up on shore for. Things like wheat and greens would be tastes acquired much later and it's far from obvious that anything like that is good for us.
The original human diet would have been plants, insects and lots of meat. Before humans hunted they would have scavanged. Especially they would have broken open the bones of large animals for marrow.
GM crops should have been welcomed by environmentalists. That they aren't betrays their knee-jerk response to corporations and anti-globalization links.
You done good!
Less than 1 million years ago, bipedal - long distance running hominids covered the entire EuroAsian and African continuant's.
All currently living humans are descended from a relatively small tribe of such prehumans who lived on the beach between South Africa and Ethiopia 200.000 years ago. Their lifestyle (up until glacier melting led to inland rivers about 50.000 years ago) probably consisted of running the 5-20 mile lengths of beach and swimming across the dividing channels which range up to a mile or more. Such a beach/outer reef lifestyle would include exploiting the combination of offshore diving, bayside gathering, and a daily jog to beach comb for survival. In other words, humans are evolved to run and swim. Elaine is correct that we evolved to swim but she leaves out the more important long distance running part.
The ape/human digestive system is evolved for a vegetarian diet. Meat was added later and the addition of protein to the diet probably added to the eventual increase in brain size.
Chimpanzees eat plants, insects and meat. They also hunt in groups using clubs.
Also in most places fruit is only available for a few weeks or months at most each year. Survival on a diet of fruit is not practical. Even in the tropics there just isn't enough fruit for it to be a primary source of nutrition.
However, my learned friend, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that refrigeration, the beer can, and the dark beer bottle are themselves examples of intelligent design, in that their sudden appearance on the planet cannot be satisfactorily explained by evolution. However, I don't think this should be discussed much in Science Class; Home Economics and Philosophy would be the proper place, not to mention those bars that proliferate around college campi.
Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlymen.
This part of evolution can be demonstrated scientifically, and thus should be required in every High School curriculum, gymnasium, or auditorium. In fact, I suggest beating it into the students. BTW, Since Tookie seems to still be dead, do you mind if I nominate you for a Nobel Prize?