Olmec Civilization, Specialization, & The Origins Of Agriculture — Common Threads

February 17, 2015 in Humans

The Olmec Civilization was one of the largest and most influential cultural centers to emerge in the Americas over the last 10,000 or so years — and was responsible for, amongst other things, domesticating a fair number of the plants that are commonly eaten as food throughout the world today.

The culture’s earliest known center of activity was the city of “San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan” — where clearly recognizable “Olmec” features were first visible sometime around 1600 BC (3600 years ago).

This is when the giant “colossal heads” first started appearing, as well as some of the earliest evidence of the mesoamerican ball game (including rubber balls, and “stadiums”), ceremonial axes, “baby face” figurines/depictions, the feathered serpent, the long count calendar, and cocoa (what we make chocolate out of), amongst other things.

Olmec jaguar man mask
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Desertification Effects, Causes, And Examples : Top 10 List

January 5, 2015 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate, Humans, Plants

Desertification is a process of land-degradation by which a region becomes progressively drier and drier — eventually becoming desert. Or, to put it another way — desertification is the process by which previously biologically productive land is transformed into wasteland.

There’s actually currently something of a debate over the use of the term though. As it stands, the most widely accepted definition is probably the one that’s now printed in the Princeton University Dictionary — which defines it this way: “The process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought, or improper/inappropriate agriculture”


There are a number of different causes/mechanisms behind the process, such as deflation (the loss of stabilizing vegetation, and of top soil); erosion; and soil-salinity-rise (via irrigation mostly). Read the rest of this entry →

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