INTRO 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.
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.
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.