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Equatorial rainforests never produced civilizations, whether it was South America, Africa, or Oceania. All three rainforests were penetrated by agricultural humans late, were sparsely populated, and settlements rarely if ever extended far past the riverbanks. However, New Guinea was an exception, and may be an independently developed agriculture, which was based on bananas, taro, sugarcane, and yams, primarily within the past six millennia. But their highlander altitude made it different from the typical tropical rainforest. The banana was . New Guinea's Highlanders until the 20th century. But nothing that could be called an urban environment ever developed in Oceania or the African and South American rainforests. They were always villages at most, although parts of Amazonia that were likely influenced by Andean civilizations had connected villages, and some could have been called towns, which reflected a kind of urban planning.

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Mesoamerica’s Domestication Revolution was one of the two certainly pristine ones known, and the one around today’s Peru may have been another. The other two of the human journey arose there, and they followed the same general patterns as Sumer and China in that they began peacefully with no classes and, as they grew into states, men came to dominate, elites appeared with monumental architecture devoted to them, potentates had harems and divine sanction, and there were other features that seemingly evidenced universal human traits and/or reactions to similar conditions. The development of religion in what became Mesoamerica’s pristine civilization, the , has been documented by archeologists who traced a seven-thousand-year progression from hunter-gatherers to egalitarian early agriculturists to an elite-dominated society to a pristine state. It was similar to how Mesopotamian civilization developed, including the (today’s rock stars have been likened to the new shamans, as their concerts revive pre-civilized gatherings and rituals). Controversial aspects of Mesoamerican societies have included human sacrifice and cannibalism. They definitely happened, and human sacrifice was practiced on a pretty grand scale at times. The question of Western Hemispheric cannibalism has touched on the lack of domestic animals, so it may have had nutritional aspects, or what is called culinary cannibalism. But most seeming cannibalism is of the cultural cannibalism variety, in which eating flesh has symbolic meaning, whether it is eating somebody to keep their spirit in the family/tribe or to gain spiritual dominance over a fallen foe. Cannibalism was a common charge made against peoples that Europe conquered, but was usually a sensational allegation to remove their humanity and justify their bloody treatment by Europe. Columbus made his from whole cloth.

Early elites claimed divine status, and the priesthood abetted the fiction, and a universal practice among early civilizations was erecting monumental architecture. The was the first such structure. Anthropologists think that monumental architecture may be a form of societal/elite , so that a society can flaunt the resources used to make such overawing showings, both to encourage submission to the society's obvious wealth and power, and to also discourage attempts to compete with it. In Sumer, ziggurats were not only the center of the , but also held precious metals such as gold. The priesthood directed mass economic activity, such as organizing irrigation projects. In some ways, the priesthood was only adapting to urbanization. Their professional ancestors developed calendars and other methods of synchronizing vital activities such as plantings and harvests, with their attendant festivals; mistimings by mere days could lead to famine. Sumerian temples had statues in their central place of worship, in human form, bedecked with jewels and other precious adornments. Offerings of food were presented to the statues, which temple personnel ate that night. In the third millennium BCE, temples owned land and had their own workforce, which was again a “voluntary” one that discharged religious obligations. Although those temples performed valuable societal functions such as taking in orphans, the earliest urban religions were obviously businesses and could become rackets, in a pattern that continues to this day.