World Trade and Biological Exchanges Before 1492


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World Trade and Biological Exchanges Before 1492 by John L. Sorenson, Carl L. Johannessen (review)

2013 JLAG, 12:2

The Amerindians did domesticate the llama, the humpless camel of the Andes, but it cannot carry more than about two hundred pounds at most, cannot be ridden, and is anything but an amiable beast of burden. It began in Tepeilhuitl. Large bumps spread on people; some were entirely covered. And when they made a motion, they called out loudly.

Using Paleontology to Explore the Geography of Plants and Animals

The pustules that covered people caused great desolation; very many people died of them, and many just starved to death; starvation reigned, and no one took care of others any longer. The New World had only a few, possibly because humans had been present there and had lived in dense populations, cities, for a short time compared to the Old.


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Possibly of greater importance is the relative lack of domesticated herd animals in America, one of our richest sources of disease micro-organisms. For instance, we share influenza with pigs and other barnyard animals.


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There were infections in the New World before that were not present in the Old Chargas' disease, for instance. There were those it shared with the Old World, certainly one or more of the treponematoses a category including syphilis and possibly tuberculosis; but the list is short, very short. When we list the infections brought to the New World from the Old, however, we find most of humanity's worst afflictions, among them smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, measles, cholera, typhoid, and bubonic plague.


  1. Eye of the Needle: A London-based thriller. (Armageddon: London, Paris, New York Book 1);
  2. Austausch einer Festplatte in einem Computer (Unterweisung Informatikkaufmann / -kauffrau) (German Edition).
  3. The Treasure Principle, Revised and Updated: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving.
  4. Die Laizität und der Platz der Religion in der Schule und der Gesellschaft in Frankreich (German Edition).
  5. Winter Close;
  6. Giesslev, Library of Congress. Library of Congress. The historical, archeological, and linguistic data referenced in this book in support of the pre-Columbian exchange hypothesis represent, cumulatively, a compelling body of work that, in my view, questions the wisdom of dogmatically accepting the existing paradigm of no pre-Columbian exchange the null hypothesis.

    The biological data in support of this hypothesis, however, are notably weak or absent.

    In my experience, however, this is likely the result of biologists not realizing the extent of the historical, archeological, and linguistic evidence in its favor; because of this oversight, many biologists may have not seriously considered designing experiments to question the null hypothesis of no pre-Columbian crop and animal dispersal. As for amaranths, BYU researchers have demonstrated in the lab that Asian-cultivated amaranth samples originated from the New World germplasm pool—though whether this dispersal occurred before or after Columbus remains a mystery.

    Sub-section 2

    Overall, this book is a valuable addition to the body of secondary literature on pre-Columbian biological exchange. Skip to main content.

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