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Here he ignores the fact that vastly more research has been done in the Near East than in China, New Guinea, and various other ancient centers of domestication; and the fact that preservation conditions are much worse in the humid tropics than in the arid Near East.
Thus, overall, the argument that the Fertile Crescent was somehow "fated" to be the first center of farming and therefore of civilization, is unconvincing -- yet it is a central pillar of Diamond's theory.
More than half of Guns, Germs, and Steel is devoted to elucidating the "ultimate" causes, explaining why differing environments led to differing rates in the acquisition of agriculture, and explaining how the resulting differences largely determined the "fate" (his word) of different peoples.
The "ultimate" causes are three primordial environmental facts: the shapes of the continents, the distribution of domesticable wild plants and animals, and the geographical barriers inhibiting the diffusion of domesticates.
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Rice is simply declared to have been domesticated in midlatitude China, not tropical Asia. The agricultural revolution occurred in the Fertile Crescent earlier than in China because the former has a Mediterranean climate.
This proposition stands unsupported except for a very thin argument: Mediterranean climate, says diamond, favored the evolution of large-seeded grains.