Category: geography

The Ability to Adapt Gave Homo Sapiens an Edge:

Humans are pretty adaptable compared to other hominin species, and other apes, which may have been key to the survival of our species. Most animals stick to particular habitats, or are wide-ranging, and based on that scientists classify species on a continuum between generalist and specialist.

But homo sapiens are unique in that they can specialize, and they can generalize. We are specialist-generalists. Some humans have adapted intensively to one ecological niche, most famously high-altitude zones, while other wander across ecological zones. Yet we are still all one species, able to intermarry, or switch regions and adapt. That makes homo sapiens unique across species.

Photo

Looking at this map, you would never know that potatoes were domesticated in the Andean highlands. History takes some strange turns.

This map was made in 1943, by the American Geographical Society. See it full size here. Pretty neat, right?

From the first cities around 3700 BCE up until 2000 CE.

When women got the vote, around the world.

New Zealand was first, and Saudi Arabia was most recent – although women still do not have full voting rights there, as they may only vote or run for office in municipal elections not national elections.

When women got the vote, around the world.

New Zealand was first, and Saudi Arabia was most recent – although women still do not have full voting rights there, as they may only vote or run for office in municipal elections not national elections.

Here is a map of average region yam production today. Can you guess the three places where yams were first domesticated?

Answer: South America, West Africa, and Papua New Guinea!