the man from tautavel homo erectus n.
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The man from Tautavel ( Homo erectus )

The man from Tautavel ( Homo erectus )

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The man from Tautavel ( Homo erectus )

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  1. The man from Tautavel (Homo erectus) Archeological discovery found in a grotto of the French eastern-Pyrénées montain range, the man from Tautavel is characterized by a skull having similaritaries with the one of big apes (receding forehead, protruding arch of the eyebrows,...).

  2. L'homo erectus (from 2 millions years up to 100 000 years BP) was the first man who domesticated and used fire : this was a major conquest with regard to human nutrition.

  3. Acquisition tools • terminology applies to tools from the pre-agricultural period which were used in the collection of «wild foods». These tools included digging sticks, poles for beating fruits from trees, rakes used to collect plants, harpoons, fishing hooks, javelins, traps, and tools to kill animals during hunting (cf : Leroi-Gourhan, 1973, ed. A.Michel).

  4. Food complexes • To feed himself man has to eat food products that contain nutriments (feeding elements). These nutriments are sugars (carbon hydrates), proteins (nitrogen components), and lipids (fats ), as well as micro-nutriments(minerals, vitamins), and fibers. The nutritional needs of man are quantified by nutritionists. Thus in Europe, the average recommended diet consists of 2500 calories and contains 55% sugars, 15% proteins and 30% lipids. The combination of species that are collected, hunted, fished, or cultivated and raised by animal breeders, to provide man with a nutritionally satisfying and balanced diet, is called a «food complex». Very early, man combined nourishing species to achieve this result.

  5. Cuisine • According to Lévi-Strauss, raw food is a « natural » food while cooked food is a « cultural » food. To cook, particularly in moist heat, is also to mix, to add seasonings, to add flavors and odors ; it allows the creation of colors, smells and flavors, that do not exist in nature. Fine cooking is a fundamental cultural act.

  6.  Neolithic times • In the Euro-mediterranean area, the pre-domestication of species started in the Middle-East. Later, changes happening in this geographic zone gave birth to a new civilization called «the Neolithic civilization». It is characterized by the use of polished stones, the domestication of food species, the development of a domestic economy, the substitution of production tools for acquisition tools, an increased use of earthenware, the adoption of a sedentary life style, the building of houses and of agrarian villages, and later the achievement of city-states and of kingdoms. The «Neolithization» of Europe corresponds to the introduction and the development of the Neolithic civilization in this area.

  7. Domestication • It is the main change from pre-agricultural times to agricultural times. During the long pre-agricultural period man learned how to recognize the food species. According to their adaptation to domestication as well as to his own «comparative advantages», man selected some species for his objectives and started« a domestic economy». The domesticated species were integrated to the house which became the reference frame for life and production in the basic social unit.

  8. Middle-East center • Middle-East center is the starting point for Euro-mediterranean agriculture. Wild species which already existed in this part of the world were pre-domesticated over a large area centered on « the Fertile Crescent », between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers, and were later established in Mediterranean countries and Europe.  The diffusion of plants into Europe can be traced and dated from East to West : agriculture developed in Greece approximately at the same time as in the Middle-East, it reached Mediterranean and Central Europe respectively through the Mediterranean Sea or the Danube River, between -5.200 and -4.000 years , and reached Western Europe between -4.000 and -2.800.

  9. Manual agriculture • This type of farming is based mostly on human energy and tools. Nevertheless, man used fire to clear the ground, to allow the sowing of seeds or to help animals enter the pastures.

  10. Animal-powered agriculture • The substantial progress made during the agricultural period is linked to animal domestication and to the use of animal energy to pull the carts and wagons, the swing ploughs and the ploughs. Egypt and Mesopotamia apparently did not use animals to work in the fields before 4000 BP, and North-western Europe not before 2500 BP. The first domesticated animals such as oxen, cows and donkeys, were first used more frequently to carry, then later to pull the first cultivating tools : swing ploughs then ploughs, as well as harrows.

  11. Agrarian villages • Generally, a village consists of a small number of farmer’s houses gathered together. The agrarian village provides evidence of a collective life (common houses « the commons », a common well), a protective defense (fortifications= surrounding wall), solidarity or interdependence and social interaction (festivities). Neither village archeology nor grave archeology allow us to assert the existence of social classes.

  12. City-states • City-states were formed in Mesopotamia around 3000 years BP. They represent a place of power, of built-up wealth, of social inequity. Architecture (royal palaces, churches, mansions, storage warehouses especially for cereals), and urbanism (central, residencial and popular town areas) testify to separate functions and of the inegalitarian structure of the city-states. The City-states ruled over a more or less substancial area of countryside which produced the necessary food for their inhabitants

  13. Motivation to produce • The development of sciences and their practical application, education and formation, and the obvious superiority of new techniques contributed to an increase in agricultural production. But this increase resulted also from a strong motivation to produce, linked with the family operation of farms.

  14. New agriculture substituted family-operated farms practicing polyculture and cattle breeding for the old agro-pastoral system based on separation between agriculture and breeding. Production was increased (abolition of fallowing lands, introduction of fodder in the rotation of crops) and was more demanding in work. The farming family counted neither time nor effort, and, according to Marx, was self-exploited.  Fortunately, mecanization helped reduce manual work and its burden.

  15. Mechanized agriculture • Agriculture was animal-powered until the end of the XIXth century, while animals were the main source of energy. It was then gradually mechanized, as  mechanization was applied in pratically all farming processes whenever possible, thanks to technical developments. Thus the sower, the reaper, the tedder, etc. began to be used. At the end of the XIXth century, farmers used the steam engine, internal combustion engine, and the first applications of electricity.  These auxiliary energies helped threshing and everyday farming activities (skimming, churning). But it was only in the second half of the  XXth century that agricultural motorization became imperative.

  16. Number of inhabitants per active worker • This number indicates the change in labor productivity when the agro-food commercial scale is balanced. In England, between 1850 and 1950, this number increased from 4 to 25, and from 3 to 6 in France. But England had to import a lot of food products when France balanced its agricultural- commercial scale. In 1980, the number of inhabitants per active worker in France was approximately 45, and since then this country has become the second largest agricultural food exporter of the world.

  17.  Plants of the DiscoveryNew plants were brought to Europe after the « Discovery » of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492. This tranfer is only one particular case of a permanent phenomena linked to general History. In Neolithic times, the transfer of pre-domesticated species from the Middle East started the first big food revolution on a worldwide scale. Roman conquerors and later the Arabs and barbarous invaders, carried their own food species and brought their own habits of consumption. The Crusades brought to Western Europe plants originated from the Middle-East ( rice, mulberry and silk worms, sugar cane (from Cyprus) and cotton (from southern Spain). But the second big food revolution in Europe came with the plants of the Discovery.

  18. FeudalismThis name is used here as a way of producing food, being characterized by definite relations between nobles and serfs. These conditions which were in favour in the Middle-Ages declined at the end of this period, with the development of absolute Monarchies and centralized States, and serfdom disappeared at the same time.

  19. New AgricultureThe main goal of the agricultural revolution was to increase cereal production which was the food basis of society, and to bring diversification in food consumption. The latter goal was attained by introducing the rotation of native plants with plants of the Discovery : rotating crops of potato and American corn (maize). For these new cultures more manure was needed, and therefore more animals and fodder ; this could be accomplished by introducing them in the rotation and by suppressing the practice of fallowing land. The New Agriculture combines breeding and cultivation into a new system of production called "polycultivation and breeding". This new system will replace the old agro-pastoral system started at Neolithic times and based on the separation of breeding and cultivation.

  20. King cottonThe importation of cotton, a low cost textile easy to fashion, increased the development of the textile industry which greatly benefited from mechanization. In the middle of the XIXth century, American plantations based on slavery produced 5/6 of the world ‘s total cotton production. Cotton material at that time made up half of the English export. Within one century, the value of cotton cloth, expressed in gold, was divided by one hundred.

  21. Mass consumptionA society of mass consumption is contrary to a society of mass poverty. In a society of mass poverty, the average level of consumption is low, and most of the people consume a small amount of goods. (see graphs in the exhibition). In a society of mass consumption, the average level of consumption is very high and most of the people  consume a large amount of goods. The society of mass consumption is the result of a higher purchasing power, as well as of social struggles for a better share of the production benefits. Mass consumption makes possible bigger markets (super and hyper), but it is not an egalitarian society.

  22.  NutritionNutrition includes the whole process of assimilation that produces the necessary vital energy within a live organism. Chlorophyllous plants have special pigments called chorophylls, which are able to synthetize the organic components they are made of, by absorption of Carbon dioxide. These plants can grow and increase if they have light energy, Carbon dioxide, water and mineral elements, in their environment.

  23.  HygieneHygiene is the part of human and animal medical sciences that studies the proper means of staying in good health. More generally speaking, it concerns the protection of live species. It includes the fight against enemies of production i.e. diseases and pests. The works of Pasteur (1822-1895) had numerous applications in the field of microbial diseases (plague in oxen, anthrax in sheep, cholera in hens, silk worm disease,etc.).

  24. New AgricultureThe main goal of the agricultural revolution was to increase cereal production which was the food basis of society, and to bring diversification in food consumption. The latter goal was attained by introducing the rotation of native plants with plants of the Discovery : rotating crops of potato and American corn (maize). For these new cultures more manure was needed, and therefore more animals and fodder ; this could be accomplished by introducing them in the rotation and by suppressing the practice of fallowing land. The New Agriculture combines breeding and cultivation into a new system of production called "polycultivation and breeding". This new system will replace the old agro-pastoral system started at Neolithic times and based on the separation of breeding and cultivation.

  25. Agricultural productivismThe increase in production during the 19th century was the result of artificial selection, crossings, and improvement of animal and plant nutrition, as well as protection of species against deseases and pests, and more generally speaking the result of scientific development. The enlargement of education and agricultural information contributed to changing people’s minds and to the adoption of a more rational behaviour among farmers. Thus, a new step forward was made in the cultural development of man whereby for the first time in History, science played a major role. The New agriculture bloomed and beyond it the narrowing gap between science and applications will lead to a cumulative process in the second half of the 20th century, resulting in a highly productive agriculture.

  26. Refrigerated transportThe revolution in shipping with steamers was completed by a revolution in cooling systems. In 1876, Frenchman Charles Tellier carried in his boat Le Frigorifique (the refrigerator), a meat shipment  from Buenos Aires to Rouen.  Shipment of meat to Europe became very substantial, and fishing boats added refrigerators to their equipment. The volume of transportation by sea increased from one million tons in 1788 to five million in 1861, and reached twelve million by 1913.

  27. Free tradeFree trade was first a theory, according to which countries benefited from opening their borders and making international trade easier. Free trade also had a political basis, and was successful in Europe under the impulse of England in the second half of the 19th century. Free trade allowed international trade to develop. However, the big agricultural depression that lasted from 1880 to 1900 brought some countries back to protectionism.

  28.  Plantation agricultureIn the frame of colonial empires a new speculative agriculture was developed, called «plantation agriculture ».  It was regulated at an international scale by worldwide markets and the law of profits. Thus appeared a mass agriculture based in particular on  the plants of the Discovery. The main products of plantations were fiber plants (cotton, jute), sugar plants (cane), oil plants (peanut, oil palm), tropical fruits (banana),  plants containing stimulants (tea, coffee, cocoa), rubber trees, etc...

  29. Agro-food industriesThe industrialization of the transformation of basic agricultural foods was realized by means of new techniques (preservation, concentration (condensing) and extraction, substitution,etc...) and of a double shift from agricultural and domestic activities into agro-food industries. In 1804, Nicolas Appert (1749-1841) invented a new way of preserving food by sterilization ;  the first preserve factory was built in France in 1860. Pasteur gave a scientific basis to sterilization, and a new process called « pasteurization » was applied to various fields. At the end of the 19th century, Nestlé invented condensed milk, and Liebig developed beef extracts and dry concentrated soups ; in 1869, Mege-Mouriès mastered the process of producing margarine. Little by little, agro-industrial products replaced agricultural products (e.g., industrial butter replaced dairy butter), and, more recently, ready-made food-products helped reduce domestic activities (fast-foods, pre-cooked and ready-made meals). Agro-food industries were soon fully expanded.

  30.  Ready-made food productsThese are food products sold with storage, preservation, and consumption facilities. These ready-made foods require less time for domestic work. This is the result of objective conditions  for consumption in our modern society.

  31. Food costs for the consumerThe easiest way to characterize food systems is to calculate the way a consumer shares its expenses. At the level of a food production line, the shares between agriculture and food-industries can be calculated. In the West, the share of the food-industries is equal to or exceeds that of the agriculture. Expenses along the food production line can also be calculated. In France, when a consumer spends 100 F, agriculture receives 25 F, the food-industries 25 F, the distribution line 30 F, the « linked industries » (producing production equipment for the food sector) 20 F. Agriculture remains the irreplaceable part of the production line, but on top of this basis was built an industrial and commercial superstructure, with a heavily dominating economic

  32. Mass Consumption • Scientific development • Industrial processes • International exchange