By Ian D. Whyte
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2000BC. 100,000. The climate of central America made hunting and gathering high-risk subsistence strategies; agriculture provided more predictable food supplies. Rising population densities may have caused environmental degradation, encouraging the adoption of agriculture. Storage of crops could have offset seasonal shortages of food from other sources. The date of arrival of maize in the SW USA may have been as early as the 2nd millennium BC, possibly during a wetter period c1500–1000BC. The key development was the introduction of maize ocho, higher yielding and adapted to dry conditions, from at least 1250BC (Fagan 1991).
Until the C20 it killed large numbers of domestic animals and people in Europe, Africa, Asia, N America and Australia before Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine in 1881. As a result of vaccination programmes it is now rare. In the C20 experiments in its use as a biological weapon were undertaken. Gruinard Island, off the W coast of Scotland, was contaminated by anthrax testing during WW2 and was only decontaminated in 1986–90. Anthrax spores can survive dormant in soils for many decades. 35 anthropocene | Appalachians anthropocene Suggested by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer (2000) as a new geological epoch characterized by the dominant impact of humans on the global environment.
1784 in SE Scotland and was quickly adapted to horse, water, wind and steam power. The brick chimneys of steam threshing machines still dominate large arable farms in SE Scotland and NE England. The C19 brought steam traction engines that could be used for ploughing, threshing and a range of other activities. Horse-drawn threshers and reapers began to spread from the 1830s and petrol-driven tractors were ﬁrst developed in 1892. Combine harvesters had a major impact on the environment, requiring larger ﬁelds with fewer boundaries for maximum efﬁciency (see agribusiness).