29.01.2020 in Exploratory

The Influence of Agriculture and Food System on Human Development and the Possibilities of Future Archaeology

It is complicated to exaggerate the role that agriculture and food system perform in the human development. The current paper demonstrates how the development of the current agriculture and the food system affect people’s physical development. The paper also defines how future archaeologists can use our bodies to analyze the diet and health in 2015. 

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Agriculture is known to be a fundamental constituent of all societies and economies, as it provides basic sustenance. The agriculture development definitely influences human development and vice versa. All agricultural systems should be constantly adapted and even changed in order to meet an increasing quantity of challenges and limitations. The facts demonstrate that one-third of Earth’s land is dedicated to agriculture. This is more than for any other industry. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector is unable to keep up with an elevating global population and the requirements of a dilative middle class. The current agriculture is closely connected to numerous concerns, incorporating the biodiversity shortage, global warming and water accessibility. Despite essential elevations in agricultural productivity, malnutrition and poverty still plague numerous parts of the world. The current world is a place of uneven human physical development, unsustainable usage of natural resources, deterioration influences of climate change, and protracted poverty and malnutrition. As the requirements for food grow, agriculture uses more and more land, which means that forests and woods are destroyed in behalf of fields and livestock farms. Deforestation brings such problems, as low air quality (resulting in respiratory diseases), global warming (resulting in temperature increase and casing of high blood pressure), and lack of natural precipitations, which leads to exaggerated usage of toxins, pesticides and genetically modified plants (resulting in cancer and change of DNA structure). Low quality of food and diets are partially accountable for the rise of chronic diseases, including obesity and heart disease. Despite the fact that food production has elevated during the last decades, huge numbers of people sustain undernourished, while this is an issue accounting for 15 percent of global disease. Numerous population categories still face protein, micronutrient and vitamin deficiencies. On the other hand, obesity and chronic diseases are growing around the globe, as people eat too much of the wrong foods. The majority of people are interested in buying food in supermarkets, fast food services, restaurants, street vendors, street barbecues, and home-based caterers instead of vesting time for preparing food at home. Such large global fat food providers, as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and various pizza chains are highly popular and dangerous for human physical health. Eating in these providers leads to obesity, resulting in hypertension, strokes, cancers, diabetes, reproductive problems, etc. Therefore, the major health concerns incorporate the availability of pesticide sediments, hormones, heavy metals, antibiotics, and various added ingredients in the food system, as well as hazards connected to great-scale livestock farming. Pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified crops have a negative influence on the overall and physical health of people. Moreover, genetically modified crops already have pesticides and herbicides in their own genetic makeup, among other genetic mutations, therefore, the quantity of hazardous substances is actually doubled in a case of genetically modified products.


We do not know how the future would look like and how the agricultural and food system would change in the future. However, future archaeologists would definitely be interested in analyzing out bodies in order to understand how the diet and health pattern of 2015 looked like.  The facts show that archaeologists have different methods for analyzing the bodies to make conclusions about diet and health. Archaeology has a specific subdiscipline named as paleopathology. This subdiscipline studies diseases in ancient cultures. Therefore, this subdiscipline might be used as a basis for future archaeologists’ investigations of human health and diet in 2015. Paleopathologists helps to analyze the presence of particular diseases and how various commonalties responded to diseases. Paleopathologists are able to find clues about people’s overall health. For example, the analysis of the teeth of people can help in deducing what type of food they consumed, how frequently they meal, and what nourishes the surfeit included. In addition, the analysis of diseases also helps in defining the prevailing diet. Soft tissue remains analysis is another method of investigating food and health patterns in 2015. Soft tissues remains are typically studied on mummies, as the last can present evidence of disease through huge quantity of soft tissue preservation. Some of the scientists insist on the fact that consumption of fast food, which consists of many processed foods (which do not decompose) might lead to natural mummification of buried bodies. Therefore, a huge quantity of soft tissues would remain, allowing to make CT scans, which will reveal all diseases and possible dietary patterns. Future archaeologists can also use skeletal residuals to analyze the disease and diet patterns in 2015. In fact, there are numerous diseases that retain signaling and obvious indications on the skeleton, incorporating joint diseases, infectious diseases, traumas, oral contaminations, and tumors. It studies cell structures with a help of a microscope in order to investigate cell anomalies provoked by disease. Future archaeologists can utilize molecular analysis as well. It helps to analyze molecules, including DNA, in various body remains which may suggest disease. Histology studies cell structures. Paleopathology utilizes this science to observe skeletal remains with a help of microscope in order to find cell deficiencies caused by disease. Finally, future archaeologists can use strontium isotopes in their analysis. The method is highly beneficial in defining patterns in diet, disease and migration. Strontium (Sr) is a specific kind of isotope investigated in human bone, which can be utilized to deduce geographic location. The facts demonstrate that Sr isotopes are introduced into the body via such geologic materials as soil, which is taken into plants. This uptake make Sr embedded into the local food chain. Sr can be easily investigated as it replaces some of the calcium in the bone and tooth enamel. Thus, the analysis of Sr in bones and teeth can help future archaeologists in examining where we lived, what we ate and what diseases we suffered from.

All of these methods would allow future archaeologists to define that people living in 2015 suffered from two major problems – malnutrition (under nutrition) and surfeiting. Malnutrition is actually global and both directly and indirectly connected to main reasons of disabilities and death. On the other hand, under nutrition is responsible for child disabilities and deaths. Malnutrition (under nutrition) is visible trough stunting, vitamin and mineral shortage. On the other part, the number of people suffering from obesity is becoming extremely high. Obesity can be easily examined by archaeologists, as the problem changes human skeleton, bone joints, vivid osteoarthritis, etc. Thus, the analysis skeletal remains will help scientists to understand that obesity caused the raise of cardiovascular diseases (ischemic heart and cerebrovascular diseases), hypertension, cancers, etc.

Agricultural structure and current food system seriously but mostly negatively changed diet and health patterns of human beings. The population is constantly growing, while food requirements of people are increasing as well. The growth of population also causes the appearing of under nutrition and malnutrition. On the other hand, globalization makes people more interested in fast food providers, which results in obesity. Both of these health problems can be easily examined by future archaeologists through skeleton remains investigation, strontium isotopes analysis and DNA tests. Future scientists will definitely know that 2015 was not a year of healthy diet and absolutely healthy people.

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