Amazon rain forest home to complex societies?
January 12, 2005 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Earthmovers of the Amazon
posted by euphorb at 4:23 PM on January 12, 2005

Interesting - what's a potsherd?
posted by penguin pie at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2005

Potsherd -- alternate spelling for "potshard," of a shard of pot.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:43 PM on January 12, 2005

This is part of a growing body of evidence that the preColumbian American landscape was largely man made. Charles Mann's Atlantic article, "1491" begins with the new theories of the rain forest and continues: "When disease swept Indians from the land, Kay says . . . the ecological ancien régime collapsed, and strange new phenomena emerged. In a way this is unsurprising; for better or worse, humankind is a keystone species everywhere. Among these phenomena was a population explosion in the species that the Indians had kept down by hunting. After disease killed off the Indians, Kay believes, buffalo vastly extended their range. Their numbers more than sextupled. The same occurred with elk and mule deer."
posted by LarryC at 5:28 PM on January 12, 2005

All I can say to this post is: Hooray. Especially the articles brought up in the comments. Along with the new Jarod Diamond book, I'm a very happy camper.
posted by goodglovin77 at 7:10 PM on January 12, 2005

This is great stuff. It's not every day that fundamental conceptions I had about the world are challenged in a realistic fashion.

posted by teece at 9:54 PM on January 12, 2005

Your welcome!
posted by stbalbach at 10:03 PM on January 12, 2005

They will discover that the key Amazonian ingredient to the "terra preta do indio" just became extinct about seven minutes ago, when the last surviving specimen perished in some farmer's routine landclearing fire.
posted by dharmamaya at 12:37 AM on January 14, 2005

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