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#15103773
Has anyone noticed noticed that all of the wealthy successful countries in the world fall into one of the following four categories:

White and English-speaking

Western European (especially Northwest European)

Northeast Asian - Japan, Korea, China to some extent (this also includes Taiwan and Singapore, because they are majority ethnic Chinese)

not to mention a few small muslim countries that are filthy rich due to oil money, relative to small population sizes


This entire list only accounts for 25% of the population of the Earth (not counting China).


Is all this just a coincidence, the result of historical factors and legacies? Could there be a reason for the correlation?

Could this potentially help explain why the US has long stood as somewhat of a paradox among the developed list of countries?
#15104060
not to mention a few small muslim countries that are filthy rich due to oil money, relative to small population sizes


Europe had wood, coal and fertile land for thousands of years.

Arab countries have just for 100 years oil...

Dubai has for example has just 2% oil revenues

Saudi Arabia is trying also to make this transition with Noem
Last edited by SaddamHuseinovic on 30 Jun 2020 18:18, edited 1 time in total.
#15104817

The backward go forward

All these accounts miss an obvious point. Europe’s very backwardness encouraged people to adopt new ways of wresting a livelihood from elsewhere. Slowly, over many centuries, they began to apply techniques already known in China, India, Egypt, Mesopotamia and southern Spain. There was a corresponding slow but cumulative change in the social relations of society as a whole, just as there had been in Sung China or the Abbasid caliphate. But this time it happened without the enormous dead weight of an old imperial superstructure to smother continued advance. The very backwardness of Europe allowed it to leapfrog over the great empires.

Economic and technical advance was not automatic or unhampered. Again and again old structures hindered, obstructed and sometimes crushed new ways. As elsewhere, there were great revolts which were crushed, and movements which promised a new society and ended up reproducing the old. Fertile areas were turned into barren wastes and prosperous cities ended up as desolate ruins. There were horrific and pointless wars, barbaric torture and mass enslavement. Yet in the end a new organisation of production and society emerged very different to anything before in history.

The first changes were in cultivation. Those who lived off the land during the Dark Ages may have been illiterate, superstitious and ignorant of the wider world. But they knew where their livelihood came from and were prepared, slowly, to embrace new methods of cultivation that enabled them more easily to fill their bellies if they got the chance. In the 6th century a new design of plough, ‘the heavy wheeled plough’ capable of coping with heavy but fertile soil, appeared among the Slav people of eastern Europe and spread westwards over the next 300 years.91 With it came new methods of grazing, which used cattle dung to fertilise the land. Together they allowed a peasant family to increase its crop yield by 50 percent in ‘an agrarian pattern which produced more meat, dairy produce, hides and wool than ever before, but at the same time improved the harvest of grain’.92 One economic historian claims, ‘It proved to be the most productive agrarian method, in relation to manpower, that the world had ever seen’.93

There were still more new techniques in the centuries which followed, such as the adoption of the central Asian method of harnessing horses—which allowed them to replace the much slower oxen in ploughing—and the use of beans and other legumes to replenish the soil. According to the noted French historian of the medieval peasantry, Georges Duby, the cumulative effect of these innovations was to double grain yields by the 12th century.94

Such changes took place slowly. Sylvia Thrupp has suggested that ‘the best medieval rates of general economic growth…would come to perhaps half of one percent’.95 Nevertheless, over 300 or 400 years this amounted to a transformation of economic life.

Such advance depended to a very large extent on the ingenuity of the peasant producers. But it also required something else—that the feudal lords allowed a portion of the surplus to go into agricultural improvement rather than looting it all. The barons were crude and rapacious men. They had acquired and held their land by force. Their wealth depended on direct compulsion rather than buying and selling, and they wasted much of it on luxuries and warfare. But they still lived on their estates; they were not a class of absentee owners like those of late republican Rome or the final years of Abbasid power. Even the most stupid could grasp that they would have no more to live on and fight with if they stole so much from the peasants that next year’s crops were not sown. As the German economic historian Kriedte has pointed out, ‘The lord had to preserve the peasant holding at all costs,’ and ‘therefore…to assist peasants in emergencies which arose from harvest failures and other causes’.96 Providing the peasants with improved ploughs meant a bigger surplus for luxury consumption and warfare, and some lords ‘put farming tools made of iron, especially the ploughs, under their protection’.97 Individual feudal lords organised and financed the clearing of new lands throughout the feudal period. They were the driving force in the spread of the first and, for a long time, the most important form of mechanisation, the water mill.

Like other ruling classes, the feudal lords were concerned above all with exploitation. They would use unpaid peasant labour to build a mill, force the peasants to grind their corn in it—and charge them for doing so. But for a certain period of history, their concern with increasing the level of exploiation also led some of them to encourage advances in the means of production.

The feudal ruling class did not consist solely of warrior barons. Many of the great landholdings were in the hands of religious institutions—abbeys and monasteries: ‘In wealth, power and aptitude for command…abbots, bishops and archbishops…were the equals of the great military barons… Immense fortunes were amassed by monastic communities or prelates’.98 On occasions the literacy of monks was used to gain access to writings on technology from Greece and Rome and from the Byzantine and Arabic empires: ‘If one is looking for the earliest mills, water mills or windmills, or for progress in farming techniques, one often sees the religious orders in the vanguard’.99

The full adoption of new techniques involved a change in relations between lords (whether warrior or religious) and cultivators. The great landholders finally had to abandon the wasteful Roman practice of slave labour—a practice that lingered on as late as the 10th century. Then they began to discover advantages in ‘serfdom’, in parcelling out land to peasant households in return for a share of the produce.

The serfs had an incentive for working as hard as they could and employing new techniques on their holdings. As total output rose, the lords’ incomes also rose, especially as they used their military might to force previously free peasants into serfdom. What Bois calls ‘the transformation of the year 1000’ spelt the final end of agricultural slavery—and the final establishment of feudal serfdom as a more dynamic mode of production than the old Roman system.100

The importance of what happened in the countryside between about 1000 and 1300 is all too easily underrated by those of us for whom food is something we buy from supermarkets. A doubling of the amount of food produced by each peasant household transformed the possibilities for human life across Europe. Whoever controlled the extra food could exchange it for the goods carried by the travelling traders or produced by the artisans.

Crudely, grain could be changed into silk for the lord’s family, iron for his weapons, furnishing for his castle, wine and spices to complement his meal. It could also be turned into means that would further increase the productivity of the peasant cultivators—wooden ploughs with iron tips, knives, sickles, and, in some cases, horses with bridles, bits and iron shoes.

By supplying such things at regular markets the humble bagman could transform himself into a respectable trader, and the respectable trader into a wealthy merchant. Towns began to revive as craftsmen and traders settled in them, erecting shops and workshops around the castles and churches. Trading networks grew up which tied formerly isolated villages together around expanding towns and influenced the way of life in a wide area.101 To obtain money to buy luxuries and arms, lords would encourage serfs to produce cash crops and substitute money rents for labour services or goods in kind. Some found an extra source of income from the dues they could charge traders for allowing markets on their land.

Life in the towns was very different from life in the countryside. The traders and artisans were free individuals not directly under the power of any lord. There was a German saying, ‘Town air makes you free.’ The urban classes were increasingly loath to accept the prerogatives of the lordly class. Traders and artisans who needed extra labour would welcome serfs who had fled bondage on nearby estates. And as the towns grew in size and wealth they acquired the means to defend their independence and freedom, building walls and arming urban militias.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, pp. 141-144
#15104820
Puffer Fish wrote:Has anyone noticed noticed that all of the wealthy successful countries in the world fall into one of the following four categories:

White and English-speaking

Western European (especially Northwest European)

Northeast Asian - Japan, Korea, China to some extent (this also includes Taiwan and Singapore, because they are majority ethnic Chinese)

not to mention a few small muslim countries that are filthy rich due to oil money, relative to small population sizes


This entire list only accounts for 25% of the population of the Earth (not counting China).


Is all this just a coincidence, the result of historical factors and legacies? Could there be a reason for the correlation?

Could this potentially help explain why the US has long stood as somewhat of a paradox among the developed list of countries?

Here:
Image
#15104821
Julian658 wrote:
Here:
[img]https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51Oi+FcrkKL._SL300_.jpg[img]



You're a *technological determinist*, Julian, due to ignoring *labor* (class social relations) and agricultural *productivity* ('mode of production') in pre-modern, and modern, times.


[1] History, Macro Micro -- Precision

Spoiler: show
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Components of Social Production

Spoiler: show
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#15104856
ckaihatsu wrote:You're a *technological determinist*, Julian, due to ignoring *labor* (class social relations) and agricultural *productivity* ('mode of production') in pre-modern, and modern, times.


[1] History, Macro Micro -- Precision

Spoiler: show
Image



Components of Social Production

Spoiler: show
Image


Geography, weather, and domestic animals and plants were important. That helped Europe and Asia. Evolving as a human in New Guinea was much more difficult as the land provided NOTHING and they had no domestic animals.
#15104861
Julian658 wrote:
Geography, weather, and domestic animals and plants were important. That helped Europe and Asia. Evolving as a human in New Guinea was much more difficult as the land provided NOTHING and they had no domestic animals.



Interestingly you're conflating two *very different* types of societies -- that of Europe and Asia (presumably China), with that of Papua New Guinea.

Europe and China already had developed societies, with state administrations and robust mercantile activity, and partially urbanized populations.

PNG, on the other hand, has been basically hunter-gatherer, with some farming:



Although the first arrivals were hunters and gatherers, early evidence shows that people managed the forest environment to provide food. There also are indications of neolithic gardening having been practiced at Kuk at the same time that agriculture was developing in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Today's staples – sweet potatoes and pigs – were later arrivals, but shellfish and fish have long been mainstays of coastal dwellers' diets. Recent archaeological research suggests that 50,000 years ago people may have occupied sites in the highlands at altitudes of up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft), rather than being restricted to warmer coastal areas.[3]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... New_Guinea



I don't know what point you're trying to make here, if any, since you're only putting forth *empirical* descriptions. My point stands that you're not addressing class or mode-of-production in your treatments of various histories.
#15104873
Pants-of-dog wrote:Currently developed countries benefited from colonialism, while countries we now call “developing” lost out in colonialism.

Basically, there was a large scale wealth transfer from poor countries to wealthy ones.

True, but that doesn't account for why Eurasia developed gun-powder and boating technology earlier than Africa or North/South America, which made colonialism possible in the first place.

Guns, germs, steel.
#15104874
Pants-of-dog wrote:Currently developed countries benefited from colonialism, while countries we now call “developing” lost out in colonialism.

Basically, there was a large scale wealth transfer from poor countries to wealthy ones.


How about recently developed countries like Ireland and Singapore?

The truth is that resource endowments and institutions (in a broad sense of the term) are probably the two things that matter most. Many arguments are centered on the former, but development becomes more durable thanks to the latter.
#15104876
Pants-of-dog wrote:Currently developed countries benefited from colonialism, while countries we now call “developing” lost out in colonialism.

Basically, there was a large scale wealth transfer from poor countries to wealthy ones.

Colonialism was a boom for America. The English colonization served as the basis to create the USA. :lol: :lol:
Last edited by Julian658 on 03 Jul 2020 19:12, edited 1 time in total.
#15104877
Unthinking Majority wrote:True, but that doesn't account for why Eurasia developed gun-powder and boating technology earlier than Africa or North/South America, which made colonialism possible in the first place.

Guns, germs, steel.


The last place to receive humans due to migration was the Americas. It remained free of people till just the other day, perhaps 15,000 years ago, I do not recall. As to why they did not develop the same technology as Asia is not clear. They original inhabitants of America came from Asia and yet did not progressed as fast as the Asians in Asia. However, they built cities . The Inca Empire terrorized and slaved nearby tribes. They also sacrificed children at the altar. Machu Pichu remained undiscovered till the late 19th century.
#15104878
Unthinking Majority wrote:
True, but that doesn't account for why Eurasia developed gun-powder and boating technology earlier than Africa or North/South America, which made colonialism possible in the first place.

Guns, germs, steel.



Why not 'spades, hoes, sickles, ploughs, axes, and chisels' -- ?



Cities and states arose after 2000 BC built by people using neolithic techniques. By the end of the 17th century BC metal workers had learnt to combine tin and lead with copper to produce bronze, and aristocratic warriors were using weapons made from it to carve out a kingdom for the Shang Dynasty on the Yellow River in northern China. It seems to have been dominated by an aristocracy that combined military, priestly and administrative roles. It was a class society, practising the sacrifice of servants at royal funerals, but private property does not seem to have developed at this stage.12 Under the Chou Dynasty, from the 11th century BC, kings delegated much of their power to 100 or so local rulers in a system often described as ‘feudalism’ (making parallels with Medieval Europe),13 although some historians claim what existed was a version of Marx’s ‘Asiatic society’, not feudalism, since texts relate that the organisation of agriculture was not based on individual peasant plots. Rather, administrative direction regulated ‘common peasants in their daily life’—not just their work, but also their ‘marriages, festivals and assemblies’.14 The peasant was told each year what crop to plant, when to sow and when to harvest. He could be ordered to leave his winter home for the fields, or to leave the fields and shut himself up in his home.15 In any case, the history of the Chou Dynasty was one of almost incessant warfare between the rival lords.

Over the centuries, the multitude of mini-states coalesced into a handful of large ones as technical change made it possible to wage war more effectively. The number of chariots increased, there were new techniques of siege warfare, and the sword and crossbow enabled conscripted peasant footsoldiers to stand firm against charioteers for the first time. Such warfare, in turn, provided rulers with an incentive to pursue further technical advance. During the 4th and 3rd centuries BC (known as ‘the age of the warring states’) these rulers initiated the clearing of the northern plain and river valleys, the draining of marshy regions and the spread of irrigation, often on a massive scale. An iron industry also grew up, organised on a scale unmatched anywhere else at the time, with the large scale production from moulds of cast iron tools and weapons—not just swords and knives, but ‘spades, hoes, sickles, ploughs, axes, and chisels’.16

New agricultural methods increased output: intensive farming based upon deep ploughing with oxen; the use of animal dung and human ‘night soil’ as fertiliser; the cultivation of wheat and soya beans as well as millet; the planting of leguminous crops to restore the fertility of the land; and an increased understanding of the best times for sowing.17 The surplus grew ever larger.

Jacques Gernet notes, ‘The age of the warring states is one of the richest known to history in technical innovations’, with the ‘development of a considerable trade in ordinary consumer goods (cloth, cereals, salt) and in metals, wood, leather and hides. The richest merchants combined such commerce with big industrial enterprises (iron mills and foundries, in particular), employed increasing numbers of workmen and commercial agents, and controlled whole fleets of river boats and large numbers of carts… The big merchant entrepreneurs were the social group whose activities made the biggest contribution to the enrichment of the state… The capitals of kingdoms…tended to become big commercial and manufacturing centres… The object of the wars of the 3rd century was often the conquest of these big commercial centres’.18

But rulers could only successfully embrace the new methods if they broke the power of the old aristocracy. ‘Parallel with technological change in agriculture…were socio-economic changes’ and ‘political reforms in several states’.19

The Ch’in state could eventually conquer the others because it implemented these changes most systematically. It relied on a new central administrative class of warriors and officials to crush the old aristocracy. These gave the key role in cultivation to the individual peasant nuclear family, allowing it to own the land, pay taxes and contribute labour directly to the state rather than to the local lord. ‘It was the new productive force of the small farmers that supported the new regime’.20

This was a social revolution, the replacement of one exploiting class by another, from above. It was a revolution carried through by armies, which exacted an enormous toll. One classic account claimed, probably exaggeratedly, that there were 1,489,000 deaths during 150 years of war from 364 to 234 BC.21 The last few years of pre-imperial China were ‘a monotonous recital of military campaigns and victories’, with one victory allegedly involving the beheading of 100,000 men.22 The establishment of the empire was accompanied by the deportation of no fewer than 120,000 of the old ‘rich and powerful’ families.23

The transformation was not just the result of the initiative of a few rulers deploying powerful armies. The changes in technology and agriculture had set in motion forces which the rulers could not control and often did not want.

As the surplus produced by the peasants grew, so did the demand of the rulers, old and new, for luxury goods, metal weapons, horses, chariots, bows and armour for their armies.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, pp. 54-56
#15104879
Unthinking Majority wrote:
True, but that doesn't account for why Eurasia developed gun-powder and boating technology earlier than Africa or North/South America, which made colonialism possible in the first place.

Guns, germs, steel.



Also, why the focus on *European colonialism*, in particular? It smacks of Western triumphalism.
#15104882
ckaihatsu wrote:Also, why the focus on *European colonialism*, in particular? It smacks of Western triumphalism.

The North of Africa used to be Christian. In fact the greatest Catholic theologian that ever lived Saint Augustine was from Roman North Africa. He lived in the 4th century. The Muslims conquered North Africa 2.5 centuries later and now the area is Muslim. You can still find Roman architecture in North Africa.
Image

No one had more African slaves than the Muslims. And they often castrated the male slaves. No one sees this a stain in Arab civilization.
#15104887
Julian658 wrote:The last place to receive humans due to migration was the Americas. It remained free of people till just the other day, perhaps 15,000 years ago, I do not recall. As to why they did not develop the same technology as Asia is not clear. They original inhabitants of America came from Asia and yet did not progressed as fast as the Asians in Asia. However, they built cities . The Inca Empire terrorized and slaved nearby tribes. They also sacrificed children at the altar. Machu Pichu remained undiscovered till the late 19th century.


North and South America did not have any native domesticated animals, so no livestock and no horses for travel. Travel was by small boat or foot only, so exploration of the inland was difficult and only possible by waterways.

Because the eurasian continent goes east-west and has similar climate all the way across, and had horses for travel, this made technology transfer and trade far easier across the continent. It's far easier to traverse Eurasia east to west than crossing the Sahara in Africa north-south.
#15104888
Unthinking Majority wrote:True, but that doesn't account for why Eurasia developed gun-powder and boating technology earlier than Africa or North/South America, which made colonialism possible in the first place.

Guns, germs, steel.


Yes, Diamond, though he ignores many important factors, is correct about the impact of those things.

Eurasia did not develop gunpowder. The Chinese did, and then other Eurasians were able to benefit. The Silk Road was and is a useful conduit of knowledge.

You have to understand that when England began colonising other countries, the average person lived in a windowless hut with a hole in the roof and used an outhouse. The button was the main technological improvement in England in the early 1500s.

————————-

wat0n wrote:How about recently developed countries like Ireland and Singapore?


They also benefited from, and benefit from, colonialism.

——————————-

@Julian658

Thank you for agreeing. The USA benefited from colonialism, and the indigenous people of the USA were the ones who lost their wealth when the US stole it.
#15104889
Julian658 wrote:
The North of Africa used to be Christian. In fact the greatest Catholic theologian that ever lived Saint Augustine was from Roman North Africa. He lived in the 4th century. The Muslims conquered North Africa 2.5 centuries later and now the area is Muslim. You can still find Roman architecture in North Africa.
[img]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f7/Leptis_Magna_Theatre.jpg/1920px-Leptis_Magna_Theatre.jpg[img]

No one had more African slaves than the Muslims. And they often castrated the male slaves. No one sees this a stain in Arab civilization.



So that's it -- ?

At a time in history when slavery was the *norm* for labor for agriculture, Muslims had slaves.

Your statement sounds like it emanates from a sense of *rivalry*, more than anything else, and you're obviously partial to *Western* Civilization, and *its* post-Roman slave practices of the time.

So it's one society's slavery, versus *another* society's slavery.



The centuries of chaos

The 5th century was a period of break up and confusion for the three empires which had dominated southern Eurasia. There was a similar sense of crisis in each, a similar bewilderment as thousand year old civilisations seemed to crumble, as barbarians swept across borders and warlords carved out new kingdoms, as famine and plagues spread, trade declined and cities became depopulated. There were also attempts in all three empires to fix on ideological certainties to counter the new insecurity. In Roman north Africa, Augustine wrote one of the most influential works of Christian doctrine, City of God, in an attempt to come to terms with the sacking of the earthly city of Rome.



The similarity between the crises of the civilisations has led some historians to suggest they flowed from a global change in climate. But to blame the weather alone is to ignore the great problem that had beset each of the civilisations for centuries. It lay in the most basic ways in which those who worked the land made a livelihood for themselves and everyone else. Advances in agricultural productivity were nowhere near comparable to those associated with the spread of ironworking a millennium before. Yet the consumption of the rich was more lavish and the superstructure of the state vaster than ever. A point was bound to be reached at which things simply could not go on as before, just as it had with the first Bronze Age civilisations.

The crisis was gravest for the Roman world. The flourishing of its civilisation had depended on an apparently endless supply of slaves. The result was that the imperial authorities and the great landowners concerned themselves much less with ways of improving agricultural yields than their equivalents in India or China. The collapse was correspondingly greater.



Had Roman agriculture been more advanced and based on something other than a mixture of large, slave-run latifundia and the smallholdings of impoverished peasants, the conquerors would have successfully taken over its methods and settled into essentially Roman patterns of life.



Roman society was already disintegrating as its conquerors swept in, and they simply added to the disintegration. Some of the conquerors did attempt to adopt Roman agriculture, cultivating huge estates with captives from war.



Such was the condition of much of western Europe for the best part of 600 years. Yet out of the chaos a new sort of order eventually emerged. Across Europe agriculture began to be organised in ways which owed something both to the self contained estates of the late Roman Empire and the village communities of the conquering peoples. Over time, people began to adopt ways of growing food which were more productive than those of the old empire. The success of invaders such as the Vikings was testimony to the advance of their agricultural (and maritime) techniques, despite their lack of civilisation and urban crafts. Associated with the changing agricultural methods were new forms of social organisation. Everywhere armed lords, resident in crude fortified castles, began simultaneously to exploit and protect villages of dependent peasants, taking tribute from them in the form of unpaid labour or payments in kind. But it was a long time before this laid the basis for a new civilisation.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, pp. 103-105
#15104890
Unthinking Majority wrote:
North and South America did not have any native domesticated animals



Then there's this:



Pre-Incan cultures

Scholar Alex Chepstow-Lusty has argued that the switch from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to widespread agriculture was only possible because of the use of llama dung as fertilizer.[40]

The Moche people frequently placed llamas and llama parts in the burials of important people, as offerings or provisions for the afterlife.[41] The Moche culture of pre-Columbian Peru depicted llamas quite realistically in their ceramics.

Inca Empire

In the Inca Empire, llamas were the only beasts of burden, and many of the people dominated by the Inca had long traditions of llama herding. For the Inca nobility, the llama was of symbolic significance, and llama figures were often buried with the dead.[42] In South America, llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat.[43]

The Inca deity Urcuchillay was depicted in the form of a multicolored llama.[44]

Carl Troll has argued that the large numbers of llamas found in the southern Peruvian highlands were an important factor in the rise of the Inca Empire.[45] It is worth considering the maximum extent of the Inca Empire roughly coincided with the greatest distribution of alpacas and llamas in Pre-Hispanic America.[46] The link between the Andean biomes of puna and páramo, llama pastoralism and the Inca state is a matter of research.[47]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llama#History




Origin and domestication

Alpacas were domesticated thousands of years ago. The Moche people of Northern Peru often used alpaca images in their art.[6] There are no known wild alpacas, and its closest living relative, the vicuña (also native to South America), is the wild ancestor of the alpaca.

The family Camelidae first appeared in Americas 40–45 million years ago, during the Eocene period, from the common ancestor, Protylopus. The descendants divided into Camelini and Lamini tribes, taking different migratory patterns to Asia and South America, respectively. Although the camelids became extinct in North America around 3 million years ago, it flourished in the South with the species we see today.[7] It was not until 2–5 million years ago, during the Pliocene, that the genus Hemiauchenia of the tribe Lamini split into Palaeolama and Lama; the latter would then split again into Lama and Vicugna upon migrating down to South America.

Remains of vicuña and guanaco have been found throughout Peru for around 12,000 years. Their domesticated counterparts, the llama and alpacas, have been found mummified in the Moquegua valley, in the south of Peru, dating back 900 to 1000 years. Mummies found in this region show two breeds of alpacas. More precise analysis of bone and teeth of these mummies has demonstrated that alpacas were domesticated from the Vicugna vicugna. Other research, considering the behavioral and morphological characteristics of alpacas and their wild counterparts, seems to indicate that alpacas could find their origins in Lama guanicoe as well as Vicugna vicugna, or even a hybrid of both.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpaca#Or ... estication
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