The origin of agriculture

“Agriculture and civilisation go hand in hand. Together they represent a 180-degree departure from the human norm, which was the hunter-gatherer form of social organisation and subsistence. … …”

“ Hominids, protohumans, Homo sapiens neanderthalis – all the ancestors of modern humans – survived the millions of years by living in harmony with nature, gathering plants and hunting in nomadic or seminomadic tribes. … …”

“Agriculture has existed for only about 10,000 years and civilisation for half that span … …”

“Indeed, a large proportion of the world’s population did not convert to agriculture or embrace civilisation until the last millennium, and many primitive cultures did so only after contact with external civilisations. … …”

“Examining history and trying to determine the exact origins of agriculture and the various food crops is thus an integral part of ascertaining whether the theory of outside intervention is accurate. What is immediately apparent from any survey of the origin of principal crops is that they were associated with four of the primary ancient civilisations: Mexico; Peru; … the Fertile Crescent …, and China …”

“The first question to ask is why hunter-gatherers turned to agriculture. … The !Kung of the Kalahari still maintain a hunter-gatherer way of life and studies have found that they are not and never have been nutritionally deprived, they spend rather less rather than more time procuring food, and they have known about plants and have consciously chosen not to grow them.

Why then would some hunter-gatherers voluntarily commit to growing plants and to completely changing their tribe’s way of life without any assurance that doing so would so improve their chances for survival?”

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One thought on “The origin of agriculture

  1. Yuval Noah Harari has ideas about this perhaps in his book “Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind”. His Chapter Five is devoted to Agriculture as “man’s biggest fraud”.

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