What advantages did the Ancient Near East and the Middle East have over other areas in the development of agricultural societies?
Jared Diamond argues that the Middle East had the following advantages over other areas.
1. Climate. The Middle East has what he calls a Mediterranean climate. This type of climate has mild, wet winters and long summers that are both hot and dry.
2. The plants that grew wild in this area were more conducive to domestication. Specifically, they had big seeds and tended to grow in large clumps even without human intervention. There were more of this kind of plant in the Middle East than in any other area.
3. Many of the "important" plant species were capable of both self-pollination and cross-pollination. This, he says, makes them more useful to people.
4. Size of area. The Middle East had a larger zone of Mediterranean climate than other regions.
5. Varied topography. This meant that there could be lots of different kinds of plants in a very small area. And it meant that people could harvest many kinds of plants as they matured at different times of year.
6. The area also had more large animals that could be domesticated.
These are the major advantages that Diamond sees for the Middle East.