Lands of Red and Gold

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jared, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

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    Here's a question, though: if there are trading links between the Maori and the Aborigines of this TL, any chance of some of the New Zealand bird or lizard species being imported before they all get driven into extinction? If you could somehow get live moa (or maybe some carefully harvested moa eggs) across to Australia, would they be domesticable, or at least a candidate for wild release to get some food variety?
     
  2. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    They already have goanna (monitor lizards) and emus and cassowaries. I don't imagine the NZ beasties would add much.
     
  3. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

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    When you put it that way, they wouldn't. I guess I just have a sort of soft spot for moa, and try to encourage their survival in any TL where it seems at least semi-plausible. :eek:
     
  4. Chargone Strange and Unusual Thing.

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    a perfectly understandable soft spot, which i happen to share. maybe they could be ridden? certainly more easily than emus, as they're a lot bigger.

    lots of NZ birds make good eating, but i doubt there's much native to NZ that would survive Australia's indigenous lifeforms.

    .... is it early enough to maybe save the giant eagles? i mean, i can't see why you Would, an they eat moa, but... if tamable, maybe they could be used when hunting large game or something.

    they may just be too big and wild though. pretty sure no one ever domesticated them. heh.

    I'm liking this timeline so far. very interesting.
     
  5. Shadow Knight Grand Master of the BAM Order

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    I could see a situation where the giant eagles could survive and be moved to Australia.

    For example this more urban native Australia might at some point have a desire for the feathers of these eagles for religious or just fashion reason. They come from far enough away to be a status symbol or such. At some point a local power or entrepreneur has a Maori trader bring over some breeding pairs so as to have a more local supply. From there maybe some escape or the market just collapses. The reason why they are no longer in vogue as it were it unimportant, but that enough escape into the wilds of Australia to form a colony which could help the species survive.

    Oh btw great info dump Jared.
     
  6. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    Hmm... addictions are fun. There will be more infodumps from time to time, although I think that from here I've provided the main background... probably some lengthy footnotes at times, though.

    Getting moa or anything else across to Australia will be something of a challenge. There's a very short time window in which to do it, and there's no evidence that the Maori in OTL were very interested in doing anything with moa except hunting and killing them. Moa eggs were used for food as much as the moa themselves.

    I suppose it's possible that contact with Australia might make the Maori more interested in domesticating moa, since they would have the example of domesticated birds from Australia. On the other hand, the Maori did have experience with domesticated animals and birds in Polynesia, and never succeeded with moa. We do know that moa took about ten years to reach adult size, which is going to make them very difficult to domesticate, if not impossible.

    If it were plausible for moa to survive, I'd be doing my utmost to arrange it, but I just don't see it. Moa were like a lot of the megafauna from around the world; adapted to living for a long time, but with a slow breeding rate. This made them extremely vulnerable to human hunting, and also made them poor candidates for domestication. This also means that they'd be useless for wild hunting purposes, too. Kangaroos and emus would be more suitable because they breed faster (which is why they survived human hunting pressure in the first place, presumably). Moa may also have trouble eating a lot of Australian plants. Moa were browsers, eating tree leaves and the like. Most Australian trees are poisonous; not even many native animals eat their leaves, and moa wouldn't have time to adapt to eating such toxic leaves.

    I suspect that the giant eagles would be out of luck, unfortunately. Domesticating large birds of prey is rarely a good idea, since they can also attack people. It's been suggested, although I'm not sure how seriously, that one factor which affected the giant eagles in NZ was that they were used to hunting two-legged things which walked upright, saw humans, and were likely to attack. The Maori probably didn't take kindly to that idea.

    Glad you like it. More is coming, as always.

    I'd like it if the giant eagles could survive, but unfortunately I doubt it's plausible. I suspect that the time window is not great enough... the giant eagles, along with the moa, were driven into extinction quite quickly after contact with the Maori. If their feathers did become prestigious trade items, then the Maori would probably hunt them even faster. I'm not sure if the giant eagles could survive in Australia anyway. They'd have competition from other predators (including humans), and even the largest game would be smaller than the moas they hunted..

    Gracias. Watch this channel in about a fortnight for the next update.
     
  7. Fulcrumvale Strategos ton Exkoubitores

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    Fantastic stuff so far. How long did it take for you to research all of this?
     
  8. Hendryk Banned

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    Fascinating crop package. Actually what's every bit as fascinating, is how you've managed to get us, your readers, interested in agricultural issues in the first place.

    It seems that wattles are to Australia what bamboo is to East Asia.

    Ah, we were looking forward to this--indication that Aboriginal agriculture generates enough surplus to sustain a complex society :)
     
  9. Swede Tech-priest

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    Yeah. Like I care about native crops from Oz. Oh wait, now I do.

    Amazing timeline, with the infodumps being very relevant. I'm interested in how you'll make the civilisation grow more complex and how tech and culture will advance and how this very different crop package will affect all that.

    I'm in awe.
     
  10. Chargone Strange and Unusual Thing.

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    ^^^^ this. especially the awe bit.
    I'm particularly interested, if you chose to cover such things, in how the languages develop. i anticipate that they'd be very different.
    not, admittedly, that I'm familiar with the RL languages or anything, linguistics is just one of the things that interests me.
    differences in languages can be, depending on the socities and individuals involved, either hugely significant or extreamly trivial. i suspect that, compaired to europeans, this would be an example of the former :)
     
  11. Fatal Wit Banned

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    I will let smilies express my opinion of this timeline::):D:cool:


    In regards to the Junditmarra, how long will it take for them to recieve the Gunnagal agricultural package?

    Also, what of the Warrigal Greens and quandong? I don't think you mentioned them on your latest update, unless it was under different names. But you mentioned them earlier on somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  12. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

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    Well, given the evidence, it looks like the moa would still be screwed. :(

    Would Haast's Eagle be considered worth domesticating as a substitute for how dogs are used, if dingos are considered unsuitable? In particular, for hunting and warfare purposes; training a Haast's Eagle to take down roos and emu, or alternatively to attack people on command? Maybe even make roos possible to corral to some degree?

    And would any of the smaller New Zealand birds, like the kiwi for instance, make adequate chicken substitutes for the Aborigines? Or even pets, for some of the parrots?

    Or would thylacines be domesticable?
     
  13. Nicksplace27 Member

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    Oh, I like the perennial crop package = greater specialization. Double the efficency of annual crops eh? You just want to stick it to Jared Diamond dont you? :D
     
  14. Fatal Wit Banned

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    Another question- will the Quoll be domesticated in this timeline? They are known to enter human settlements and scavenge, sometimes settling their permanently. As far as I am aware, similar circumstances surrounded the domestication of many other animals, such as wolves. Whats more, they can be domesticated.

    Quolls, apart from serving as a form of garbage disposal, could also be eaten. So I could see Quolls being more reminiscent of chickens/cats then dogs, maybe. Especially given the presence of Dingos Australia.
     
  15. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    I've been working on the background idea off and on for a year or so. That's hardly been continuous, of course, but I kept finding out a few bits and pieces which kept me digging for more.

    Heh. I have tried to show how it's relevant to the later development. It would have been easy enough to say "Australia now has native crops" and move on, but there are reasons behind it all.

    Yes, or date palms to Mesopotamia (where they used to say that date palms had a different use for every day of the year). They are very versatile trees. Incidentally, it's possible that you've seen wattle flowers under another name; they're used a lot in parts of southern Europe as decorative flowers, although they're usually called "mimosas" instead. (I saw some in Nice which were called that). Which gets a bit confusing because mimosa is the name for a related genus of plants, but such is life.

    Oh, yes. They will have plenty of food for that.

    That will all be shown. The effects of the crop package will permeate through society in a variety of ways, some obvious, some not so obvious. Greater and earlier urbanisation, for instance, which is probably the most obvious. But there's also going to be effects on their religion, migration, and even how they plan for the future.

    Merci.

    I have done quite a bit of mapping of where languages will spread, especially since it's not just languages will spread, but related cultural ideas and practices. Just as there was common Indo-European mythology, for instance, or how the Bantu expanded through southern Africa. There will be some bits and pieces on the development of languages, on areas where the old languages hold on, and so forth. I haven't sat down and specified many individual words or anything like that - I'm not a linguist - but there are a few basic rules which I follow about what sounds are used and the construction of word elements.

    Danke schon.

    Sometime in the first millennium BC. Once they receive it, though, they'll do a lot with it.

    Both of those will be domesticated, along with quite a few other native species - desert citrus, riberries, muntries, apple berry, native passionfruit, more wattles, and a whole host of spices. But for various reasons, these species won't be early domesticates. Quandong is a partly-parasitic plant which needs the roots of another species to act as a host, and figuring that out will take a while. Warrigal greens don't grow along the Murray except right around the mouth (where the main farming isn't), and so won't really be domesticated until farming starts to expand beyond the Murray.

    Sadly, yes. Saving the moa would require rather a different PoD; probably a New Zealand which is uninhabited until European discovery.

    Dingos are suitable for domestication, though. Dingos are really just domesticated dogs which have gone feral again. Dingos were often semi-domesticated in OTL, and an agricultural civilization is sure going to domesticate them fully.

    The Aborigines already have a pretty decent chicken substitute (the Australian wood duck). The kiwi, alas, isn't really suitable. Maybe some NZ birds would be taken up by the Maori once they have agriculture.

    Probably not; their social structure (solitary) doesn't seem well-suited to it. We don't know for sure, though, since they were hunted out before anyone got to test the possibility.

    Double the efficiency of some annual crops, i.e. wheat and related small grains. In classical farming, half of the wheat crop had to be held back as seed grain for the following year. Wattles and yams won't suffer from that. Of course, other crops also have a higher yield than wheat; potatoes, rice, and maize all yield higher than wheat.

    Heh. He is sometimes sloppy on the details, but the problem isn't really him. It's the fact that what he's written too often gets taken as gospel. If Diamond said that there were no domesticable crops in Australia, then there couldn't have been, could there? And let's not get into the whole north-south axis thing, which is just plain wrong.

    Quolls may be domesticated; I'm not quite sure on that one. Dingos will be, along with a couple of species of birds. *Aboriginal farmers will not have domesticated animals which can be used as beasts of burden, but they will have animals which can be used as a source of meat.
     
  16. mojojojo Member

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    If Quolls were(and you know I hope they are:D), what effect would they have on the native fauna of NZ if taken there?
     
  17. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

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    Fair enough; just figured it would be cool and hoped it was plausible enough to justify it happening. :eek: Also, again, wondering if Haast's Eagle might have made kangaroos more manageable by possibly hunting them more effectively than dingoes.


    Any chance of someone trying, even if only as a status symbol a la cheetahs and leopards in ancient Egypt?


    Not sure if you've mentioned this already, but will any portions of the Australian crop package have effects on Europe similar to potatoes in OTL? Also, is there any possibility of some of the Australian stuff somehow making it across to South America in the pre-Columbian period, or are the links required too long and tenuous for that?


    Quolls seem sensible, if they really are like cats in terms of prey choices and social habits; given that Australia IIRC has native rats, the Aborigines will probably need some way of keeping the rodent population away from the food stores.

    In re the beasts of burden thing, how early might camels show up in this Australia? I could see them having similar effects in Australia to what horses had in the Americas.

    EDIT: A little more farfetched for domestication, but what about koalas? They aren't particularly friendly, and they don't reproduce very fast, but they have the advantage of eating something that is more or less unusable by humans. I can't see them being anything remotely resembling a primary source of protein, but could they provide a bit more variety to the sources of meat that don't have to be actively hunted?

    Also, with the degree to which the *Aborigine civilization is farming the river systems, would they attempt to domesticate platypi? I don't know if they'd be worth it for meat, but the fur might be useful, and so would the venom of the males if it can be harvested. Maybe they'd become the beavers of *Australia?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  18. Fatal Wit Banned

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    Well, a quick Google Search seems to suggest that Quolls even in their current non-selectively bred form are perfect pets: http://www.convictcreations.com/animals/nativepets.html

     
  19. mojojojo Member

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  20. Admiral Matt Member

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    Well.... take it as a sign that both species are largely extinct in modern Egypt....
     
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