Guns Germs and Steel

Chris Buckner
Human Ecology

What Has Lead Other Cultures To Be
More Advanced Than New Guinea?

Jared Diamonds video Guns, Germs, And Steel brings about many questions

concerning the advancement of different cultures. The main question the video tries to answer however is why a place such as New Guinea, which developed at around the same time as surrounding European Cultures, has not developed as much in terms of technology and growth. Diamond sought out this answer throughout the video and provided a relatively simple answer which he describes as geographical luck.
Hunters and gatherers like the people in New Guinea were just as clever and knowledgable as people in other parts of the world around 40,000 years ago, so why is it that their lifestyle has changed so little and the surrounding area changed so drastically? The first clue in Diamonds research was found through watching the people of New Guinea forage and hunt for food. He notes that this method of acquiring food is very time consuming and takes up a lot of energy. Diamond also points out that not every hunt is successful, so sometimes much energy is wasted for seemingly nothing.
Another line of reasoning for New Guineas lack of growth is that even when hunting and gathering is productive, these people can never gather enough food to sustain a large society, limiting their growth. Jared Diamond then begins to observe evidence from surrounding areas in the middle east which leads to a partial conclusion on why these other cultures were more productive and stable.
In the Middle East, hunters and gatherers were very similar to the people of New Guinea, but the plants they were collecting were more abundant and more nutritious. This meant that the gatherers had a higher calorie intake and needed to work less to provide the same amount of food than the natives of New Guinea. Eventually they also realized that they could harvest these different plants, mostly wheat and barley, and...