The analysis of Ecological Basis for Aztec Sacrifice by Harner looks at the article that Harner has projected. The Aztecs have conducted sacrifices so as to enhance their diet by use of cannibalism. This is emphasized through the ritualized human sacrifice plus the absolute numbers of victims that are involved. This has been documented as evidence for the cultural behaviors in the ethnographic record, in the world. The paper has proposed an evolutionary and ecological theory for the explanation of the strange behavior and maturity of the Aztec sacrificial multifaceted. This is seen as an accepted significance of the existing continuation problems that are distinguishing in Mesoamerica and in particular to the Mexico valley. The paper will analyze this ecological basis of the Aztec Sacrifice as put across by Harner. This will be based on Harner’s argument parts of the beans and corns that must be eaten together to satisfy protein and are useful in becoming part of the fortunate dignity and; therefore, sharing the extra food.
The work has focused on the cultural uniqueness of the Mesoamerica. This is done on the human sacrifice intricate of the Aztecs. Various anthropologists have pointed to the pre-Conquest Mexican soul sacrifice as a depiction of tremendous known cultural actions. The Aztecs are the ones who have sacrificed unmatched number of souls in the state society’s ethnological records. This was in the range of about 20, 000 victims yearly. However, other cultural evolutionists have not expressly explained this phenomenon and remarkable aspect of the Aztec civilization. In addition, the non-evolutionists have not explained this theory in explaining the human sacrificial complex on the foundation of the Aztec religion. They have not explained why the form of religion needed the large scale human sacrifice. In addition, the time and evolving period of the form of religion is also not stated. The progression of the strange Aztec sacrificial complex happened at a time and place when there were characteristic ecological tribulations.
The Aztec situation had particularities that were odd to the fundamental ecological assumptions that are connected to the population pressure theory of the societal advancement. Harner’s human population expansion is a historical and unmistakable prehistoric trend just as the evolution of the expertise. The increase in the human population in the long term has led to the increase in the degradation of the wild flora and fauna that are used for food. There are various evidences of the theory. Harner (123) notes, many of the popular game mammals have died by the end of Pa leo-Indians and European Paleolithic, in the New World. This is an exceptional confirmation of the human caused environmental dilapidation. In addition, the advancement into the Old World Mesolithic with the change in small game hunting and marine resources, plus the advancement of the New World cultural analogue is seen as a continuing and essential response to the environmental deprivation. Moreover, the increase in scarcity of food plants and wild games is what has led to the modernization of the animal and plant domestication. This is the desirable and competitive effective and efficient method of survival in most places, in the world. As time passes and there are further increases in human population, many more areas are becoming dilapidated and plants, and animal’s domestication becomes an essential method that is extensively adopted. This is what provides the increasing population a proportion of the diet.
This aspect indicates the fault in Harner’s thesis. The evidence provided gives a crucial aspect to oppose the thesis. Harner in his thesis argues that population pressure on resources is what led to hunger which gave rise to cannibalism. However, this argument is unsound as there is adequate diet for the existing population. This is because there is evidence that supports the argument. Human meat should make an essential dietary contribution to the protein deficiency, if cannibalism, is a better response. The arguments that Aztec’s lacked the domestically herbivores and; thus, lacked a high-quality source of protein. In addition, the evidence of the extensive cannibalism is evidently shown in Span. The droughts lead to famines and shortages and thereby increasing population pressure. This in return led to augmented human sacrifice that is accompanied by cannibalism so as to gratify the protein shortage. The unpublished figures that are cited by Harner in Woodrow Borah put the population at 25 million in Central Mexico. This includes about 250, 0000 who are sacrifices yearly and another 300, 000 at Tenochtitlan, who sacrifice about 15, 000 yearly. Tenochtitlan which is the capital of Aztec, the limbs of the victims are the ones that were consumed. The other upper class which makes about 25 percent of the population was the ones allowed to partake. The rest of the population that makes the remaining 75 percent supported the use of sacrifice and warfare. This is because bravery in battle gave the possibility of a person’s history of the invasion. However, these practices and records have been disregarded by the contemporary anthropologists and Mexicans.
The current theoretical work has indicated and suggested that the expansion of inhabitants strains on the natural resources. This can become a significant determinant of the regularities that are found in the human socio-cultural development. The population pressures build so early in places where the environmental circumscription explains the locations of the primary states (Bernard 615). Other research theorizes that agricultural strengthening is as a result of the enlargement of the population pressure. Harner has proposed that the preindustrial social, political, and economic advancement can be explained as coming from the augment of population pressure. This has made other investigators start to implement the inhabitant’s pressure replica to appreciate the regularities of the social-cultural progression. However, there is a challenge that rises on the progression of the population pressure theory. This is in the explanation of the unusual and peculiar cultural progression. The population pressure approach can be used as an influential tool, and it should be used in the explanation of the distinctive in the cultural development and the common or mundane. This is because this is an exceptional case that is most intriguing and significant to tackle when dealing with evolutionary theory. Therefore, the theory should be advanced or discarded.
The Aztecs experienced the ritual cannibalism according to most of the studies. However, there is no agreement on the existence of the said practice. Cannibalism, human sacrifices, and the actions of the Aztec warriors can be explained and accredited to the motivational factors. This can include the yearning to attain a position in the society and religion. These factors are seen as the most powerful motives in additional societies and their own society. Invoking an ecological has no basis when tackling cannibalism. This is when it is used as a dietary supplement as there is no need for the supplement. In addition, there is no significance of the dietary involvement in the human flesh as there is no clear establishment of the fact.
The proponents of the population pressure theory of the social theory have to tackle the significant differences between varied cultures. However, there are fundamental similarities on the socio-political stage. The existing theory can be strengthened if it is found to have a basis. In case, it does not have a basis, then there is no significance of recognition that was ascribed to it previously.
Bernard, Ortiz de Montellano. “Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?” Science, New
Series 200. 4342 (1978): 611-617. Print.
Harner, Michael. “The Ecological Basis for Aztec Sacrifice.” American Ethnologist 4.1 (1977):