Wiki Origins of Agriculture

Origins of Agriculture

The origins of agriculture cannot be documented with certainty, because it began before recorded history. Scholars try to reconstruct a logical sequence of events based on fragments of information about ancient agricultural practices and historical environmental conditions. Determining the origin of agriculture first requires a definition. Agriculture is deliberate modification of Earthís surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain.
Agriculture thus originated when humans domesticated plants and animals for their use. The word cultivate means ďto care for, and a crop is any plant cultivated by people.

Hunter Gatherers

Before the invention of agriculture, all humans probably obtained food they needed for survival by being either a hunter or a gather in the society. Hunters and gatherers lived in a small group, usually fewer than 50 people, because a larger number would quickly exhaust the available resources within walking distance. As with having to migrate often for food resulted in migrant mothers having to carry around their children and generally having longer birth intervals and lower birth rates than settled people.

  • Men hunted animals and fish.
  • Women collected berries, nuts and roots.
  • They survived by collecting food, perhaps daily. The food search might have taken the whole day depending on the local conditions. The division of labor sounds like typical gender roles from the past when the men do a certain job as well as the females and not being mixed. However, this is based on evidence from archaeology and anthropology.
  • The direction and frequency of migration, depended on the movement of game and the seasonal growth of plants at various locations. We can assume the groups communicated to each other concerning hunting rights, intermarriage, and other subjects. For the most part, they kept the peace by steering clear from each otherís territory.

Invention of Agriculture

Over thousands of years, plant cultivation probably evolved a combination of accident s and deliberate experiments. Hunters probably observed that damaged or discarded food produced new plants. Then they may have deliberately cut plants and dropped them on the ground to see if they new plants. Subsequently generations learned to pour water over the site and introduced manure along with other ways to improve the soil. Meanwhile, animals were originally domesticated for noneconomic reasons, such as sacrifices and other religious ceremonies. Other animals were domesticated as household pets, surviving on the groupís food scraps.

  • Vegetative probably originated in southeast Asia
  • Livestock also likely originated in southeast Asia
  • Northwest South America and west Africa were also likely starting points of vegetative farming
  • Seed agriculture has 3 starting points (western India, northern China, Ethiopia)
  • Southwest Asia was likely the first area to integrate seed agriculture and domestication of herd animals like goats, cattle and sheep
  • Two other independent hearths for seed agriculture were in Mexico and Peru