Amazon was not at all covered by virgin forest, which is almost untouched by human hands – on the contrary, before the arrival of Europeans in the New World, a large part of the territory occupied by the fields and villages, they lived up to 8 million people. This conclusion was American scientists, authors of the article in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Ecology and Genetics Charles Clement from the National Institute for Research on the Amazon (Brazil) and his colleagues collected data on plants, soils and landscapes of the region, comparing them with the data archaeologists and linguists, create a map of the local languages. It turned out that before the arrival of Europeans, the Indians learned to cultivate at least 83 species of plants, including sweet potatoes, cocoa, tobacco and pineapple.
Three to five thousand species of plants have not become cultural status, but are actively used by people. Flora of many Amazon forest, at first glance, seemingly natural, in fact, bears the traces of the domestication. In addition, scientists have found in the Amazon black soil – the soil, rich in carbon and nutrients, got there as a result of fertilizer feces of humans and animals, mulching and composting. Lots of black earth occupy more than 0.1 percent of the region, and the first time they appeared in the Amazon 6000 years ago, and after 4000 years have become more numerous.
When we talk about the greatness of Indian civilization, usually recall the Mayan and Aztec pyramids. Natives of the Amazon did not build the pyramids – probably due to the scarcity of stone. But who saw them for the first time the Spaniards hit the large number of healthy people and the abundance of food in every village of the Amazon. The status of the wild jungles of Amazonia returned only because the Europeans.
Brought from the Old World diseases decimated to half the population of the region before the arrival of the conquistadors. Now scientists are eager to find out how technology because Aboriginal Amazon managed to maintain a high standard of living without destroying the natural habitat.