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American Indians domesticated a variety of plants and animals, including corn (maize), beans, squash, potatoes and other tubers, turkeys, llamas, and alpacas, as well as a variety of semidomesticated species of nut- and seed-bearing plants.
These and other resources were used to support communities ranging from small hamlets to cities such as Cahokia (Cahokia Mounds), with an estimated population of 10,000 to 20,000 individuals, and Teotihuacán, with some 125,000 to 200,000 residents.
Comparative studies are an essential component of all scholarly analyses, whether the topic under study is human society, fine art, paleontology, or chemistry; the similarities and differences found in the entities under consideration help to organize and direct research programs and exegeses.
The comparative study of cultures falls largely in the domain of anthropology, which often uses a typology known as the culture area approach to organize comparisons across cultures.
The Arctic peoples of North America relied upon hunting and gathering (hunting and gathering culture).
Winters were harsh, but the long hours of summer sunlight supported an explosion of vegetation that in turn drew large herds of caribou and other animals to the inland North.
American Indians are often further grouped by area of residence: Northern America (present-day United States and Canada), Middle America (present-day Mexico and Central America; sometimes called Mesoamerica), and South America.
Moose, caribou, beavers, waterfowl, and fish were taken, and plant foods such as berries, roots, and sap were gathered.Pre-Columbian Americans used technology and material culture that included fire and the fire drill; the domesticated dog; stone implements of many kinds; the spear-thrower (atlatl), harpoon, and bow and arrow; and cordage, netting, basketry, and, in some places, pottery.