Agriculture Origin of

The archeological record reveals that around 8000 B.C.E., a gradual shift took place in the nature of recovered plant and animal remains, one that directly reflects the novel emergence of large groups of sedentary humans. Such groups, by desire or necessity, consciously decided to rely on domesticating wild grasses and animals for their survival. For this reason the Fertile Crescent region has long been regarded as the cradle of civilization—that is, the place where agriculture originated. (The modern-day boundaries of the Fertile Crescent include its western edge at the Mediterranean coast, its southern edge the Negev Desert, north by the high-elevation forests of Turkey, and east at the high-elevation forests of the Zagros Mountains). But recent research now shows that agriculturally based economies emerged in seven geographically distinct regions around the world at different times in the last 10,000 years. These regions—the Levantine corridor, North and South China, Central and South America, the eastern United States, and sub-Sahara Africa—each contributed their own combination of indigenous domesticates of plants and animals.

Research into why hunter-gatherer economies changed over to a more permanent, sedentary economy based on farming lacks reliable evidence for the numerous theories currently proposed. Many believe that dramatic increases in human populations created tough ecological demands that were alleviated through agricultural techniques simply for its predictability in providing enough food for the ever-growing communities. Others argue that sea-surface temperatures indicate changes in climate between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago, changes that may have impelled farming communities to combat long-term oscillations in global weather patterns that altered the local ecological niches of plants and animals. Since each of the seven regions started domesticating and cultivating different plants and animals at different times, the explanation for why agronomy began and prospered will not likely be found in any single prime mover. Instead, the reasons behind this gradual transformation are more likely to be found in a complex host of artifacts recovered from the ecological and archaeological records for each region.

Worm Farming

Worm Farming

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