News / Science & Technology

Ancient Baby Boom Could Foreshadow Future

Sites like Pueblo Bonito in northern New Mexico reached their maximum size in the early 1100s A.D. (Nate Crabtree Photograpy)
Sites like Pueblo Bonito in northern New Mexico reached their maximum size in the early 1100s A.D. (Nate Crabtree Photograpy)

Related Articles

Native American Group asks OAS to Help With Land Claim

Leaders of Onondaga Indian Nation meet in Washington to petition Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, saying US courts have violated their group's rights by refusing to hear its claim to 2.5 million acres in New York state

Last Original Navajo Code Talker Dies at 93

Chester Nez was member of World War II Navajo Code Talkers, using cipher that could not be deciphered by Japanese
VOA News

A massive baby boom that began 1,500 years ago in the American Southwest and ended around 1,300 A.D. could offer valuable insight into modern-day overpopulation, new research suggests.
 
Examining thousands of remains of Native Americans and their tools gathered from the Four Corners region (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet), scientists painted a picture of how several societies evolved from hunter-gatherers into farmers.
 
That transition, researchers say, led to birth rates that "exceeded the highest in the world today."
 
"It's the first step toward all the trappings of civilization that we currently see," said Tim Kohler, an anthropologist at Washington State University and co-author of a paper on the boom, in a statement.
 
Some of the groups in the region were very culturally advanced, with irrigation, ball courts and housing for elite families, researchers said.
 
But the success was a “trap.”
 
In the northern part of the Four Corners, the population climbed as high as 40,000 by the mid-1,200s. But in a short span of 30 years, “it was empty, leaving a mystery.”
 
The reason for the baby boom was maize, or corn.
 
Researcher shows that it was grown in the region as early as 2,000 B.C., but that it initially had a limited impact on population growth.
 
By 400 B.C., however, maize provided 80 percent of the region’s calories, researchers said.
 
This led to a rise in the birth rate that lasted until about 500 A.D., but the rate varied around the region.
 
Four hundred years later, populations were still high, but the birth rate began to “fluctuate.”
 
A massive drought struck in the mid 1,000s to 1,280 causing farmers to leave and conflict to ensue. Still, the birth rates remained high in the northern part of the region.
 
"They didn't slow down," said Kohler. "Birth rates were expanding right up to the depopulation. Why not limit growth? Maybe groups needed to be big to protect their villages and fields.”
 
Why the population collapsed is unclear. Researchers suggest that that there were perhaps too many to feed as the climate deteriorated. This, they say could have led to people leaving, making it “harder to maintain the social unity needed for defense and new infrastructure.”
 
"We can learn lessons from these people," said Kohler.
 
The report was published in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jose from: Los Angeles
July 02, 2014 9:28 AM
One more reason to stop illegal immigration into the USA and cut back on legal immigration. Too many people in the USA, who should not be here competing for resources with us and our children.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid