Among the world’s thousands of wild grass species, Blumler tabulated the 56 with the largest seeds, the cream of nature’s crop: the grass species with seeds at least 10 times heavier than the median grass species (see Table 8.1). Virtually all of them are native to Mediterranean zones or other seasonally dry environments. Furthermore, they are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Fertile Crescent or other parts of western Eurasia’s Mediterranean zone, which offered a huge selection to incipient farmers: about 32 of the world’s 56 prize wild grasses! […] In contrast, the Mediterranean zone of Chile offered only two of those species. California and southern Africa just one each, and southwestern Australia none at all. That fact alone goes a long way toward explaining the course of human history.

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Chapter 8, 1997

Added to diary 24 December 2018