How Did We First Begin to Farm?

So, according to Wikipedia, humanity apparently experienced a transition from the hunter-gatherer people we were to the farmers we are today. Okay, according to a site called History of the World as well. Alright, according to research done at the University of Sheffield’s, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

It’s called Neolithic Revolution and appears to have taken place anywhere from 10,000 to 19,000 years ago.

Human history records that, from the beginning, we have basically been hunting (includes fishing) and gathering for our food, clothing, tools and material used to shelter ourselves. Being able to communicate with each other has been advantageous, then we specialized and combined the two activities, men going out to hunt and the woman doing the gathering. But basically, as hunter-gatherers, we have lived by doing what comes naturally, is what we are told.

Animals in the wild are obviously hunter-gatherers too. Lions and wolves communicate well enough to hunt as a group. Bees can tell each other where the best pollen is.

According to a piece published in ScienceDaily online (oh yeah, I forgot to mention ScienceDaily), the beginnings of agriculture changed human history and has fascinated scientists for centuries.

However, there seems to be a lot that researchers are still in the dark about. For instance, a tell-tale sign that a crop has been domesticated by farming is that it doesn’t disburse its seed naturally. Wheat, for example, doesn’t shed its seed. It depends on farmers to do it and therefore the crop is dependent on humans to survive.

Scientists then reason that many domesticated crops look a lot different than they did when it grew in the wild. I am wondering if there is such a thing as wild wheat today. I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I asked our good friend Google, and it doesn’t know either.

So, much to my surprise, researchers really don’t know how we began to cultivate the earth rather than or in addition to hunting and gathering.

I think that is very interesting. What about you? Please leave a comment?

2 thoughts on “How Did We First Begin to Farm?

  1. Here’s a pretty recent article with information on ancestral types of wheat: How was Wheat Domesticated?
    Katherine Handler | katherine.handler@yale.edu January 17, 2018 http://www.yalescientific.org/2018/01/how-was-wheat-domesticated/ Around 10,000 yr. ago some humans in present-day Turkey noticed that one/some specimens of emmer wheat did not “shatter” its seeds. That trait made it much easier to harvest, so that new type was rather quickly propagated. There’s another article from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879753/.

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