Guns, Germs, and Steel:
The Fates of Human Societies
By: Jared Diamond
World History AP
August 12, 2015
Summary: Chapter 1 - “Up to the Starting Line”
The first chapter begins with the origins of the human species. Jared Diamond believes in the concept of evolution and therefore, analyzes, what he calls, our three closest relatives: the gorilla, the common chimpanzee, and the pygmy chimpanzee. Fossils show us that 4 million years ago we achieved an upright position through evolution. It is also reported that our body and relative brain size began to grow at the same time that stone tools became common, which was about 2.5 million years ago. About half a million years ago human fossils diverged from the Homo erectus in their enlarged, rounder, and less angular skulls. It is interesting that at this time the human populations of Africa and Western Eurasia began to diverge from each other and from East Asian populations in skeletal details.
Human history kicked off around 50,000 years ago, a period which Diamond calls the Great Leap Forward. The earliest signs of the Great Leap Forward were found in East African areas with standardized stone tools and first preserved jewelry. Similar discoveries started appearing in the Near East and in southeastern Europe where abundant artifacts are associated with a group of people called the Cro-Magnons. Cro-Magnons also made the tools made of bone such as needles, engraving tools, and fishhooks. These changes in tools led to their change in diet, they could now hunt for larger animals and were beginning to create new methods of catching fish. They also began the arts like cave painting, statues, and musical instruments. Cro-Magnons spread into Europe about 40,000 years ago, where with their new technology, language skills, or brains to infect, and kill they whipped the Neanderthals off Europe, who have lived there for hundreds of thousands of years. The next large...