Guns Germs and Steel – Movie Review Example
The paper "Guns Germs and Steel" is an excellent example of a movie review on visual arts and film studies.
The purpose of this paper is to address the issue of which plants and animals have been domesticated around the world based on the film “Guns, Germs and Steel” (GGS) and to address the question “Why does Diamond believe that the people of New Guinea were not propelled down the road to civilization, while those of the Middle East were.”
It is the case that according to the film GGS there have been a number a number of different animals domesticated around the world for a variety of different purposes. In the case of The Americas, animals such as the guinea pig, dog, llama, and turkey were all domesticated. In Eurasia animals such as the sheep-goat, pig, dog, cow, oxen, horses, chickens (And other foul) were all domesticated, ultimately providing thirteen large species over 100lbs/44kgs. While this may not seem important, the film argued that having a diversity of different animals provides a significant advantage in that these species can provide meat, milk, hides, fur, but ultimately served other purposes such as providing protection (Dogs), or transportation (Horses). Eurasian domesticated animals also had one additional advantage in that they could serve as draft animals used for pulling plows for agricultural production.
The film further argued that it was the case that a few plant species were domesticated in New Guinea such as taro roots. However these plant varieties provide some disadvantages in that they must be planted one by one, they require a lot of work for cultivation, they are low in protein, and they can’t be stored for very long. In the case of New Guinea, it was demonstrated in GGS that a few animals were domesticated such as the pig (Brought in from China) and the dog. Although these animal species provide meat, they do not provide any of the other animal byproducts such as milk. It was ultimately argued that New Guinean agriculture was able to only provide subsistence and not generate enough surpluses to support a larger society which could incorporate artisans, soldiers, bureaucrats, police, etc. In effect almost all energy was spent feeding themselves and not allocated to other projects.
Whilst it is the case that both Eurasia as well as New Guinea had domesticated animals and plant species, in the case of Eurasia the plant species such as barley and wheat could provide a great deal more calories and protein. Domesticated animal species in Eurasia were able to provide work for plant cultivation which ultimately increased crop yields. These technologies gave Eurasia a significant advantage over New Guinea in that the continent was able to generate food surpluses that allowed for much larger settled societies. It was upon this foundation that Eurasia was able to devote more time and energy to technology development which ultimately propelled them down the road towards civilization but left New Guinea stagnating and focused on subsistence.