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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora