Week in Review
Why did the Europeans become the dominant people in the world? Why did their colonies become some of the richest and most affluent nations? Because when the Europeans entered those ships to cross the oceans they were farmers. Having given up their hunter and gatherer past long ago (see DNA analysis solves the mystery of how Europeans came to be farmers by Steve Connor posted 4/24/2014 on The Independent).
It was the biggest cultural shift in European prehistory but the Stone Age transition from a lifestyle based on hunting animals and gathering wild berries to one built on farming and livestock was largely a mystery – until now.
A detailed analysis of the DNA extracted from the bones of 11 prehistoric Scandinavians who lived thousands of years ago around the Baltic Sea has shown that the transition from hunting to farming was more of a one-way takeover than previously supposed.
The genetic makeup of the people who lived through this cultural revolution has revealed that the incoming migrant farmers from southern Europe subsumed the indigenous hunter gatherers of the north, rather than the other way round, scientists said.
Farming people are more advanced than hunters and gatherers. Because it takes knowledge and organization to master their environment and not live at its mercy. Which is what hunters and gatherers must do. As they travel across great expanses looking for food. Food they can only eat if nature provides it. And they can find it. Whereas farmers can grow food and raise livestock. On small farms. And they can grow a surplus. To carry them through winters. And bad growing seasons. While hunters and gatherers can only go hungry. And die.
So farming societies are more advanced than hunter and gatherer societies. Their knowledge and organization created food surpluses. And economic activity. Which created wealth. This is why the Europeans went on to dominant the hunter and gatherers they met in the Americas, Australia, etc. And why the transition from hunting to farming was a one-way takeover. For advanced people have the knowledge, organization and wealth to dominant less advanced people who must live at the mercy of their environment.