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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers to Many Questions, 28 April 2006
This review is from: Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years (Paperback)
In 2002 I was talking to an American in Costa Rica about archaeology and stating that what puzzled me was why many areas of the globe had nothing much to excavate. He told me to read Guns, Germs and Steel. I have now done this and now the answer to my question seems to obvious when given the facts. I now want to explain to everyone the simple facts of the availability of animals capable of being domesticated, the plant life which could be cultivated for crops and the fact of numbers of people which could then be sustained which subsequently impacted upon inventions, language to result in the power of the people.

Definitely a book to read if you are interested in history and civilisations.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 May 2009 08:54:31 BDT
Viewer says:
1. Diamond omits that genetic change accompanied geographical changes, the increase in population & shift to agriculture (about 7% of the genome underwent change over the past 10,000 years & in fact the rate of change sped up). See 'The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution' by Cochran & Harpending.

2. A fair fraction of the recent evolutionary change affected brain & axon growth. For example, you see new versions of SLC6A4, a serotonin transporter, in Europeans and Asians. There's a new version of a gene (DBA1) that shapes the development of the layers of the cerebral cortex in east Asia.

3. There is considerable psychometric evidence of group differences consistent with the recent neurological changes (Ashkenazi Jews consitently average 2/3 of a std deviation above Europeans. East Asians have a group average of about 103, Europeans 100) Rushton, J.P. and Jensen, A.R. (2005). Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 11, No. 2, 235-294. [easily located on the web]

4. Also, see 'A Farewell to Alms':

The study of wills reported in A Farewell to Alms implied that economic
competition could change the genetic composition of the English population over
time. This study of rare surnames shows that indeed economic success in 1600
by a man could permanently increase the relative frequency of his surname, and
by implication of his genes. This does not demonstrate that these genetic changes
had significant impacts in changing the behavior of the average person in England
by 1800. But Clark (2008) shows that economic success in modern societies has
at its roots a significant genetic component."

http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf
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