Recent discoveries about apes suggest, however, that a gorilla or common chimp stands at least as good a chance of being murdered as the average human.

1,000 out of the world’s 6,000 languages, crammed into an area only slightly larger than that of Texas,

Despite being depicted in innumerable cartoons as apelike brutes living in caves, Neanderthals had brains slightly larger than our own.

Oral traditions of the islanders are obsessed with cannibalism; the most inflammatory taunt that could be snarled at an enemy was “The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth.

The near-simultaneous disappearance of so many large species raises an obvious question: what caused it? An obvious possible answer is that they were killed off or else eliminated indirectly by the first arriving humans. Recall

Similarly, in an autocatalytic expanison of a human population, some initial advantages that a people gains (such as technological advantages) bring them profits or discoveries, which in turn stimulate more people to seek profits or discoveries, which result in even more profits and discoveries stimulating even more people to set out, until that people has filled up all the areas available to them with those advantages, at which point the autocatalytic expansion ceases to catalyze itself and runs out of steam.

A typical American fast-food restaurant meal would include chicken (first domesticated in China) and potatoes (from the Andes) or corn (from Mexico), seasoned with black pepper (from India) and washed down with a cup of coffee (of Ethiopian origin).

After people reached Australia, that continent lost its giant kangaroos, its ‘marsupial lion’, and other giant marsupials.

THE IMPORTANCE OF lethal microbes in human history is well illustrated by Europeans’ conquest and depopulation of the New World. Far more Native Americans died in bed from Eurasian germs than on the battlefield from European guns and swords. Those germs undermined Indian resistance by killing most Indians and their leaders and by sapping the survivors’ morale.

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