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Clever Cavemen Genetic manipulators

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posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 09:33 AM
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A subject which has fascinated me for a long long time is the cultivation and domestication of wild cereals into the crops we recognise today such as wheat barley rye etc and those "lost" crops & cereals which were so prevalent thousands of years ago. Also the domestication of animals into food sources or food giving sources from wild animals.

The word cereal comes from the word Ceres the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. These cereal grains provide more food worldwide than any other food source and are therefore classed as "staple" crops. However, the ancient grains from which our modern crops derive, were in fact inedible by humans who were unable to digest many of the grains large hard husks or glumes as botanists refer to them and in order for them to be digestable by humans these glumes had to be removed. Another problem with the wild grains was their brittleness at maturity, which meant that come harvest time the stems or rachises would break easily scattering the seeds into the wind making human harvesting almost impossible. So in order for successful edible grains, there were 2 problems facing ancient farmers, 1) how to make the husks/glumes softer whilst still protecting the precious grain inside and 2) how to make the plants less brittle so they could be harvested.

It is posited that domestication of cereals and animals first began in an area known as The Fertile Crescent (also known as the Cradle of Civilization) with the first cities of Sumer.


where evidence was found of the first domesticated dog, the Saluki

To date however, no-one has adequately explained the cross breeding and manipulation necessary to produce edible grains from wild ones and the sheer amount of genetic manipulation required to change even the simplest of things such as softer husks. It has been theorised by botanists that this "just happened" as farmers grew wild grains and cultivated them over and over until the wild strains somehow "became" domesticated and lost their wild genes.

Bear in mind that it wasn't until 2010 that the Wheat genome was mapped here in the UK, which gives pause for thought on the incredible feat accomplished by ancient man particularly in the case of rye. For each genetic alteration, it would take hundreds of years and in the meantime the ancients had no cereal food sources, so how did domestication and the necessary genetic manipulation occur in such primitive peoples?

cont/...
edit on 14-2-2017 by PhyllidaDavenport because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 09:58 AM
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maybe they grew it as animal feed first?



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:09 AM
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I have had these same curiosities and questions for some time. I'm glad to see someone else taking the time to shared their thoughts and ideas.



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport

great topic for thought and discussion!

I have wondered the same with the agricultural evolution of maize/corn in the Americas. It seems incredible when comparing modern corn with the original predecessors.

With ancient cave art, the manufacturing of glues, and prehistoric megaliths and structures,... I do not think that ancient man's mind was as primitive as has been traditionally held.

Are you sure agricultural evolution would take hundreds of years? People are creating brand new and/or hybridized plants, flowers, and breeds of dogs without gene manipulation after only a few generations.

 


• EDIT TO ADD:

Even ants have learned how to successfully grow, domesticate, and breed fungus and aphids. If the ants can do it, it should be no problem for us.



edit on 2/14/17 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:22 AM
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As most of us will know, in order to cultivate and domesticate a wild plant means cross-breeding which of course means human intervention. Now we are able to synthesise and genetically modify plants easily but 10,000 or more years ago this wasn't possible. In order that grains could be eaten by humans, most had to undergo at least 14 genetic modifications including those mentioned above. So how is it possible that 10,000 yr old man could possibly know how to modify plants sufficiently to be consumed by humans or even know they could be modified? The leap from neolithic caveman to genetic scientist is mind boggling, unless of course they had help in some way from someone?

Botanists cling fervently to their theory that all this happened naturally and that a mere 15000yrs ago continued cultivation of crops (crops we couldn't eat) lead to such genetic modifications but one has to ask, why would humans cultivate inedible crops in the first place, bearing in mind that any natural modifications would take thousands of years to come to fruition?

The ancient neolithic humans were classed as hunter-gatherers. They lived on leafy greens and meat. With over 200,000 species of plant available, how did they know which few to cultivate into edible crops? We should also take into account that despite the sheer number of plants available, they chose just 4 0.01% of the available plants to domesticate without any knowledge of genetic engineering plant husbandry botany and the necessary tools to accomplish this feat.

The four main staple crops in the Fertile Crescent were Emmer Wheat, Barley Maize & Rice. These ancient crops bear little resemblance to the modern crops we now enjoy, most noticeably in their chromosome make up which for example, in modern wheat is now 42 pairs as opposed to the original 28 pairs which has lead to the alteration of the gluten within wheat and the cause of modern coeliac disease and gluten intolerance. We humans are still unable to digest raw seeds & grains which has lead to some scientists stating that we were never meant to eat such things in the first place but it hasn't stopped botanists and other scientists from stating as fact that we went from gathering seeds to eat to planting them for absolutely no discernible reason, particularly odd if you consider that we couldn't digest most ancient seeds in the first place.

It is not a leap to say that agriculture with these 4 staples changed civilisation and the way people lived. New techniques for threshing milling and cooking had to be invented, diets changed and jobs changed with the gatherers becoming farmers. This lead to the settling of nomadic tribes and the formation of towns and cities. Although much evidence exists for this agricultural phenomenom in the Fertile Crescent 15,000 yrs ago, it is theorised that the origins of wheat can be traced back 75,000 yrs which again leads to the question of how or who decided this would be a human staple even though we cannot eat it in its present state? 75,000 yrs is possibly an adequate time for the modifications necessary to enable digestion of these grains, which again leads us to wonder who in such ancient times could possibly have had the appropriate knowledge to a) forsee the possibilities of these 4 plants in the distant future and b) how they were modified. Scientist state that "modern wheat was created by crossing various wild grasses in particular goat grass" but fail to say just how this cross-breeding was achieved by what was then basically cavemen

Whilst this may seem irrelevant or frivolous to some readers, the basic flaws missing links and misinformation has been the basis of our belief that agriculture was the only basis of modern day civilisations, and gives us a timeline for the emergence of such civilisations and human advancements. However, because of the missing information, it is clear that humans were at some point in the last 75000 yrs more advanced that we have been lead to believe, or was it a case of divine intervention? Intelligent design? Or even assistance from "others"?

The supposition that all these genetic manipulations were just natural phenomenon stretches belief in the timescales quoted, but if that is dismissed then it also brings up the possibility that our ancient ancestors were far more advanced than we have been told and far from being the simple stupid cavemen, were in fact capable of great feats of minute genetic manipulations and intricate cross-breeding of both animals and plants. The long held image of neanderthal stone age & neolithic man should be revisited without the influences of religious beliefs



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: dashen

This would mean that animal domestication is indeed much much older than posited



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:28 AM
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a reply to: Sahabi

It depends on the genetic make up of the particular plant. In order to modify a cereal crop to eat, so many changes would have to be introduced that it would take hundreds of years of trial and error before a suitable crop could be cultivated. This kind of cross-breeding is not the same as say a modern houseplant which can be cross-bred with another to make a pink one. The kind of cross-breeding involved in radically altering the species to be digestible requires modification at a genetic level as well. The cross-breeding only began (it seems) approximately 15,000 yrs ago to create other forms of wheat such as Emmer wheat and Eikhorn wheat and other grains.



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport


The leap from neolithic caveman to genetic scientist is mind boggling, unless of course they had help in some way from someone?


The agricultural capabilities and tool use in other animals, in my opinion, is a direct rebuttal for outside help. If the animals can do it, so can we!

Three cheers to the scientists and researchers who are closing the gap between man and animal by discovering the use of language, teaching of culture, individuals having names, tool usage, and decorative ascetics practiced by the wild animal kingdom!!!



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:30 AM
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a reply to: HighWizard

Its something I've been wanting to explore and post for a long time (makes a change from politics!)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport

Could it be that, perhaps, wild grains are not easily digested by modern man because of laxed civilization and morphological evolution, whereas, early man had no such problem due to their biological morphology?

Paleontologists and archeologists have discovered varying diets throughout mankind's existence due to jaw structure, teeth, and possibly, differences in the digestive tracts. Gut flora (microbiota) would most definitely play a key role also.







edit on 2/14/17 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:38 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport

Maize was not grown in the old world until like 1500.

Anyways
Potatoes have always intrigued me the most, as most of the plant is toxic and wild variants are toxic. How did they domesticate a toxic plant, why would they domesticate a toxic plant.

the domestication of plants was likely done by someone like a shaman or priest. It would have likely been someone eccentric and had extra time to spare relative to the average hunter gatherer.

maybe they had a little help



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:45 AM
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originally posted by: jellyrev
How did they domesticate a toxic plant, why would they domesticate a toxic plant.


Yellow acorns are toxic. Cassava is toxic. Kidney beans are toxic. Rhubarb and poke salat are toxic if you don't fix 'em right. Cashews.

There are a number of staple foods that are poisonous unless you process them correctly. Your ancestors were not stupid, just not technological.



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: jellyrev

Maize in the form we are now used to i.e. genetically modified, yes, but ancient domesticated maize/corn has been found in various places dating back around 10,000 yrs. One theory is that it is a strain of Mexican teosinte or as a cross bred form of unknown wild maize and tripasacum but it seems no-one knows for sure. Ancient maize ears have been found at various South american sites dating back around 7000 yrs



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport


The ancient neolithic humans were classed as hunter-gatherers. They lived on leafy greens and meat.


Studies focused on cranial size and tooth & jaw structure indicates that meat was relatively rare and new to early man's diet. We were mostly equipped to chew, chew, and chew nuts and grains with our larger teeth and more muscular jaws. As cooking food with fire and the consumption of meat became increasingly common, teeth got smaller, jaws lost muscle, and our digestive tracts began to work with less effort.

I would stake a game-show bet that, bigger teeth, bigger jaws, and a routine of chewing more could account for the apparent inedible nature of wild plants.

Perhaps, the morphology of humans and plants occurred concurrently. Perhaps, we have always been able to eat those agricultural crops, and as they changed, so did we, and vice-versa.




edit on 2/14/17 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:50 AM
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Cavemen?
I think they were smarter than us, we just havnt worked it all out yet
Lies in the textbook...



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:53 AM
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a reply to: Bedlam

Great points. I understand they are not stupid. But how does one start trying preparations on toxic food, feed it to the prisoners and see if they die or not?
That is some ingenuity.



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:54 AM
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a reply to: Sahabi

From what I've read, its possible. I will have to look further into that. I do know that most seeds were in fact ground or milled as far back as 160,000 yrs ago which again gives credence to the theory that ancient man was not as stupid as we've been lead to believe

Apparently our guts did evolve to some degree to deal with eating grains but these grains still had to be modified grains
edit on 14-2-2017 by PhyllidaDavenport because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 10:55 AM
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a reply to: jellyrev

Quite! I will have to research further into any evidence that ancient man de-toxified certain foods and how. Clearly they knew well enough about poisons as many archaeological artifact weapons have been found to be coated in hemlock, digitalis and other plant derived poisons
edit on 14-2-2017 by PhyllidaDavenport because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 11:05 AM
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a reply to: PhyllidaDavenport


the basic flaws missing links and misinformation has been the basis of our belief that agriculture was the only basis of modern day civilisations, and gives us a timeline for the emergence of such civilisations and human advancements. However, because of the missing information, it is clear that humans were at some point in the last 75000 yrs more advanced that we have been lead to believe, or was it a case of divine intervention? Intelligent design? Or even assistance from "others"?


Perhaps the missing link you are looking for is ancient human morphology?

I'll admit, I am a bit bias against the "extraterrestrial intervention" and "ancient astronaut" theories. Initially, I found them extremely compelling, but as I looked further into paleontology, archeology, mythology, religion, and the intellect of the animal kingdom,.... nearly everything on planet Earth, appears to me, as a clear line of progression.

Although I disagree with the premise of this thread, I must give you my respect for your articulate presentation, your critical thinking, and for bringing up a great concept to discuss and think about.




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