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Dynamics and Distribution of Civilizations of the Old-World

Posted on: Jan 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 27 – 12 to 1 p.m. – HA208

Examination of the distribution of pre-industrial old-world civilizations exhibits intriguing geographic regularities.  First, a trend of descending human ethnic and cultural diversity from the equator to the arctic is shown to be in coincidence with the decreasing gradient of biological diversity and productivity. Second, also along from the equator to the arctic, the complexity of civilizations shows a humpback pattern with the peak at the intermediate latitude. Third, the two extremes of the Eurasian continent, i.e., Europe and East Asia, symmetrically developed the most sophisticated and robust pre-industrial civilizations.  Geographic and environmental factors, including climate, terrains, watersheds, flora and fauna, and human parasites and diseases, are discussed in reference to such patterns. A hypothesis of intermediate bioproductivity and a hypothesis of intermediate insulation are proposed to account for those patterns.