Asian and Native American Disparity

Inspired somewhat by this thread I’ve grown curious as to how much research there’s been into explaining the cultural disparity between Asian and native American peoples, who split between 15 and 20 thousand years ago.

Has Jared Diamond, of Guns Germs and Steel fame chimed in on this?

15 to 20 thousand years is a hell of a long time to be out of communication. I would be far more surprised if there were any recognizable shared culture between the two groups of peoples.

What are you talking about. Asians don’t share the same culture and Native Americans didn’t either. How could you compare a native of the Amazons with a Mayan mathematician or Inca architect?

The ancestors of the Native Americans would have moved through eastern Siberia and Alaska as hunter-gatherers, while the ancestors of most East Asians would have settled down growing rice as their main food source. It’s not surprising that the cultures are different.

I repeat, how come people still imagine Native Americans of all over the Americas had the same level of development? There were some that had the level of the more developed Asians, long time before the Europeans came to the New World.

Which is pretty much why I phrased my response as the “two groups of peoples.” Asian cultures are very different from each other, and I have a hard time thinking of any group less culturally homogeneous than “Native Americans.”

How do you explain the cultural disparity between Europeans, who split a lot more recently than that?

The Americas had some very advanced cultures at the time of the Conquest. The difference is that, unlike Asian cultures, they did not survive as native cultures (although some influences persisted in the local cultures that succeeded them), largely due to the great disruption caused by the introduction of European and African diseases.

maybe there used to be lots of “Asian” groups floating around, and then one that had the highest potential (let’s say the ancestor of the Chinese) outcompeted, wiped out and/or assimilated the others, except for those that were safely away in America. Kind of similar to how there used to be lots of African groups before the Bantu expansion turned them mostly into genetic traces.

As good a just-so story as any, I say :slight_smile:

European cultures aren’t that different from each other. European cultures are very different from the rest of the world in one major way – Dairy, especially bovine (correct me if I’m wrong?).

But that’s one thing that’s share pretty commonly throughout much (or all?) of Europe, and until it was introduced by Europeans, relatively uncommon outside of Europe. Not a lot of Cheese based Asian dished.

I have a hard time when people say that French, Spanish and English are “different,” they’re all close culturally and linguistically (and have been for centuries), with the major cultural differences being (imo) a result of minor cultural differences that were magnified as Roman influence waned and native populations became more dominant. However, clearly “Western” (descended from a clearly Greco-Roman culture) is by far the majority in both Europe and the Americas.

Asian cultures are a lot less homogeneous. After all they spanned the gamut from stone age animistic hunter-gathers to monotheistic super-powers and world technological leaders.

In contrast all Native Americans are fairly uniform.

It may be my imagination, but I think there are some parallels between traditional Siberian cultures and native American cultures. Think about Shamanism and the like. This Samojede doll doesn’t look too unfamiliar. Nor does this shelter. This family wouldn’t look out of place on either continent.

Of course these are superficial connections and a lot may be due to similarities in the environment, but I think you find some small connections in Shamanism.

Not entirely true. India, for one, uses tons and tons of dairy. Paneer is a type of cheese, and yogurt and butter are staples. There is plenty of dairy (and cheese) in the Middle East as well. Herding cultures from the Mongolians to the Fulbe of West Africa have a dairy based diet, and while they may not have cheese, they have butter and a variety of yogurt variations.

You’re wrong. As Sven notes dairy based dishes are the norm over much of the Middle East, India and Africa.

Three Asian countries are included in the list of the world’s 20 highest cheese consumers per capita.

Ever heard of the Land of Milk and Honey? That is in Asia.

You know a large part of the reason why Hindus consider cows scared? Because the produce milk that can be used to produce cheese and yoghurt.

So yeah, there are a lot of cheese based Asian dishes, and huge amounts of dairy based. It’s damn near impossible to have a meal in India without having at least one dairy based dish.

Nope, wrong again.

While this is true of Spanish and French it is not true of English. English is a Germanic language. It diverged from the romance languages at least 3000 years ago. And of course some of the European languages diverged from the others 10, 00 years ago.

The answer to why do people think the way they do is, sadly, always the same. Ignorance. Pure ignorance.

More bizarrely: why would you think Jared Diamond would be the go-to guy for this?

To clarify: to what extent has geography, climate, native flora and fauna (or other factors besides genetics) played in the cultural advancement of the population that remained in Asia as they diverged from the population(s) that traversed the Berring land bridge 15-20,000 years ago?

The two populations became geographically isolated once the land bridge vanished. It seems to be a ripe area for study, and I’m asking to what extend this has been examined.

You have an extraordinarily narrow definition of European culture. I’m talking about Europeans, not “Western” culture. Europe includes groups with non-European languages such as the Basques, Finns, Estonians, Hungarians, and Sami. Even today, some semi-nomadic hunting/fishing/cultures such as Sami survive.

In any case, you miss the point. Cultural disparities within and between continental-size areas are to be expected.

Even if true (which as has been pointed out, it is not) that’s only a single item.

Read “Guns, Germs and Steel”. This is a subject that’s way to big to be covered on a messsage broad.

Nope. There was always movement across the Bering Strait.

Those connections aren’t superficial at all. Native Americans are a Siberian group, after all. You can find many similarities, particularly in shamanism.

Indeed. In the U.S. people knows very little about the Amerindian peoples, cultures and history. I bet Americans don’t even know that the Iroquois influenced the Founding Fathers.

I South America, where I live, people has lot more interest in the Amerindians civilizations and cultures of the past.