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Old 06-02-2017, 10:39 PM
Hector_St_Clare Hector_St_Clare is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,605
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
In my understanding, agriculture started independently in many different places. My hypothesis for how at least some of these instances might have gotten started:

A group of nomadic humans figures out the relationship between seeds and plant growth (i.e. there are always new food plants growing where they threw out their food waste, including seeds, the last time they were around a particular spot), and starts to put a little more effort into where they drop leftover seeds for the next time they come around to that spot.
You can still see this process today in some agricultural cultures, where people are kind of in the process of 'domesticating' some wild species. In Madagascar, for example, people will collect wild yams from the forest during the 'hungry season' and then replace little bits of the tubers in the whole so that they can re-grow. And they have at least one species, the guinea-fowl, which they don't breed in captivity but instead capture from the wild and raise in captivity up to the point where they can be sold.

To be clear, these people aren't 'incipient agriculturalists', since their ancestors both on the Indonesian and the African sides have been practicing agriculture for thousands of years. The only hunter-gatherers in Madagascar reverted to it when they moved into environments too dry for agriculture, and they live by selling what they hunt to farming or urban cultures. But it illustrates there are stages intermediate between agriculture and hunting / gathering.