Honeybees not native to America
Yesterday Philo posted about how the bees are all dying. today I read the most recent National Geograhic magazine. It has a very good article on the effects of the English immigrants to America, beginning in 1607. The article says that the two agents that caused the most change were earthworms and honeybees. It goes on to say that after a while Indians who saw honeybees begin to colonize an area knew the end of their way of life was nearing an end.
Since honeybees are not native to America, then maybe we would all be better off without them here. We could revert back to a more simple lifestyle that the Native Americans enjoyed. Plus we could then have tribal wars to kill our neighbors, and enjoy a continent that could only support around 2 million people total.
April 27th, 2007 11:45pm
North American population in 1491 was 250 million.
April 28th, 2007 12:18am
"Estimates of the population of North America in 1491 disagree by an order of magnitude—from 18 million, Dobyns's revised figure, to 1.8 million, calculated by Douglas H. Ubelaker, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian." http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Chumash/Population.html
But even if you take away the only 2 million, can we still keep the tribal warfare?
April 28th, 2007 12:24am
The diseases killing off honeybees have also clobbered the native bees.
April 28th, 2007 12:25am
My understanding is there is no such thing as a bee native to north america.
April 28th, 2007 12:26am
Apparently my understanding is wrong. It looks like there are several native bees, and it is just the various honeybees that are non-native.
April 28th, 2007 12:30am
Hi XYZZY, it seems you just googled that and then didn't actually read the page. The context is that he is stating that earlier estimates have been discredited as completely inaccurate. Read down a couple more paragraphs:
"Before Columbus, Dobyns calculated, the Western Hemisphere held ninety to 112 million people. Another way of saying this is that in 1491 more people lived in the Americas than in Europe."
April 28th, 2007 2:31am
"In America above the Rio Grande, for instance, the Indian population hit bottom early in this century when census figures reported 490,000; by Dobyns's calculation that means between 9.8 million and 12.2 million Indians once inhabited what's now the United States and Canada. For the hemisphere, he estimated a 1492 population of 90 million to 112.5 million."
April 28th, 2007 2:36am
And don't miss that he further analysis of the evidence showed that his 1966 estimate of 90-112 million was too low:
"In the 31 years since his Current Anthropology article, Dobyns has measured other regional populations with tools that other scholars use--warrior counts, food availability, and the like--and "fairly consistently" found that his 1966 assumptions were too low. He now believes that Florida in 1492 had perhaps 700,000 Indians--several times what he concluded in 1966. His article estimated the Caribbean's 1492 population at a half million; he now agrees with other scholars that it was 5 million or more."
April 28th, 2007 2:38am
Note that this is note wild eyed speculation either. Columbus's brother Bartholomew did a 1496 tax census of Hispaniola (Haiti + the Dominican Republic) and counted 1.1 million indians on the spanish controlled half of the island, excluding children. This meant that around 3 million indians lived on that island ALONE in 1496.
That number of indians on a single island, based on an actual physical count, is 50% higher than your estimate for the entire HEMISPHERE.
20 years later, a new census showed Hispaniola's Indian population at less than 11,000. That tells you what the kill rate was from smallpox, the common cold, and other european diseases.
April 28th, 2007 2:44am
You are not yet up to 250 million. Can we still keep the tribal warfare?
April 28th, 2007 8:02am
Actually 250 million is a low estimate if you followed any of the articles.
April 28th, 2007 10:52am
So, the end product is: I can stiil have my BLT?
let's see ...
the bun: wheat. doesn't require bee pollination.
bacon: corn-fed ping. doesn't require bee pollination.
tomato: predates honeybees. doesn't require bee pollination.
lettuce: who cares.
April 28th, 2007 6:47pm
Practical Economist takes the view that getting his figures ot add up is quite impractical and rather an embarrassment.
April 28th, 2007 6:55pm