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Old 11-29-2019, 01:06 PM
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What exactly happened ~10,000 years ago that converted the nomadic existence to the farming?


Development of city-states etc. Accumulation and strorage of all sorts of things. Then comes the need for military to protect said things.
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Old 11-29-2019, 01:18 PM
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I've heard beer theorized as a precipitating factor.
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Old 11-29-2019, 01:22 PM
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I've heard beer theorized as a precipitating factor.
“Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

The History Of Beer And Why Civilization As We Know It May Have Started Because Of It
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Old 11-29-2019, 01:54 PM
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Probably just likely that someone had the idea. Sure, the idea of domesticating plants and animals seems obvious to us, but whoever was the first didn't have the benefit of 10,000 years of history telling him or her how much better farming would provide than hunting and gathering.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:08 PM
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I'm not sure that there is a single cause. Each lifestyle has its benefits and drawbacks. The hunting/gathering lifestyle is a very leisurely lifestyle. Hunter/gatherers spent many fewer hours "working" (that is, hunting and/or gathering) than we do. That left more time for recreation and creativity.

Settling in agricultural communities requires a lot more work, food production (agriculture or herding) can support larger populations than hunting/gathering. Larger populations have more military strength than hunting/gathering bands.

A combination of commercial, environmental, and political factors would have created the tipping point favoring agriculture/herding at different times for different bands of people. Even now, there are some hunter/gatherer bands that haven't yet met that tipping point.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:08 PM
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It's not like there was a single thing that happened to convert hunter-gatherers to farmers. It was probably a series of steps that gradually changed them from one to the other.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:24 PM
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The interesting thing is that it happened in several places without prompting about the same time. We normal modern humans (allegedly) left Africa from a very small starter population about 70,000 years ago. The people who left for Americas were from a separate sub-population from about 24,000 years ago, and from Siberia, during an ice age, so not exactly conversant in plant husbandry. yet, only a few thousand years after the concept evolved in Mesopotamia /Egypt and China - and supposedly, New Guinea - the same was being done without any cross-cultural hints in southern North America and central South America. It's possible the concept spread from Mesopotamia to China or vice versa - although it seems a stretch.

One alleged culprit is climate change - about 10,000 years ago the ice age was ending and climates in agriculture-friendly parts of the world settled to s steady sate where crops could be reliably grown, the right combination of heat, precipitation, and convenient exploitable plant life.

Last edited by md2000; 11-29-2019 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:34 PM
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Development of city-states etc. Accumulation and strorage of all sorts of things. Then comes the need for military to protect said things.
It should be recognized that agriculture didn't begin in a single place and then spread to the rest of the world. There were at least 9 separate independent origins of agriculture, and perhaps more, in very widely separated parts of the world that were not in contact with one another. Certainly the New World centers of agriculture and that in Papua New Guinea were independent of any contact with those in Asia and Africa.

It has been hypothesized that agriculture became possible only starting about 10,000 years ago, near the end of the Pleistocene, because Pleistocene climates were too variable. The earliest agriculture appears to have developed about this time both in the Fertile Crescent and South America.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:18 PM
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Yep, what md2000 and Colibri said - climate change. More specifically, the end of the Younger Dryas and a millennia-long period of climate stability that hadn't existed before that. Here's a paper on it.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:23 PM
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Here we have a couple of hundred thousand years of human existence, and then 10 minutes ago, humankind decides to make a very broad change. And at roughly the same time in wildly disparate areas of the globe.
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Old 11-29-2019, 04:13 PM
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Yes, it's amazing just how damn global climate change can be...

Unless you have some ... alternative mechanism in mind?

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Old 11-29-2019, 04:48 PM
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Most inventions take place over a long time, even things like steam power.

Domesticating wheat appeared to require two mutations - fragile stems and seed timing. For the first, wild wheat stems break easily, which would cause the steams (plus grains) to fall to the ground, which makes farming inconvenient. For the second, wild wheat seeds do not immediately germinate or germinate at a consistent time, instead "randomly" sprouting after they fall to the ground. This is handy if there's a drought, but inconvenient for farming. Both of these mutations needed to occur for anything like modern farming to develop.

We have evidence that humans roasted wheat grains (which are large and protein-rich, compared to "competitors") before they really developed farming. Of course, even with the mutation, you would need plows and manuring (requires domesticating animals) and eventually irrigation before you saw anything like medieval farms. You would need mills to grind grain and make beer, or ovens to make that into bread. And metal to slice that bread

There are numerous "champion" foods we could grow. Some fruit require grafting to get anything particularly useful out of them, which would have required years of observation, experimentation (or luck) and duplication/spreading. Different animals were domesticated at different times as well, and only some animals are useful for domestication.

I believe farming spread so quickly because anyone who started farming saw huge population increases, and any other humans who saw this wanted to copy this. Furthermore the farmers either conquered nearby people, or simply "encroached" on their lands and turned that into farmland.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:14 AM
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We have evidence that humans roasted wheat grains (which are large and protein-rich, compared to "competitors") before they really developed farming. Of course, even with the mutation, you would need plows and manuring (requires domesticating animals) and eventually irrigation before you saw anything like medieval farms.
Many cereals do not need irrigation, and that doesn't only apply to modern varietals. In fact, many of them would do badly if they got too much water.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:08 PM
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Doesn't agriculture require understanding that plants come from seeds? How did humans figure that out?
It's not rocket surgery. You carry around a few seeds or nuts in a moist environment, they start to sprout. Pick up fruit that's a bit too rotten and there's a root coming out of the seed/nut. Drop it at the edge of camp, a few days later, it sends up a stem and leaves.(We did the germinate bean thing in Grade 6) Remember, early humans had plenty of time to observe the world around them and get familiar with the plants and animals, and no smartphones or TV to distract them. They were pretty conversant with the planets, the phases of the moon and the relation between celestial events and seasons thousands of years ago.

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Most inventions take place over a long time, even things like steam power.

Domesticating wheat appeared to require two mutations - fragile stems and seed timing. For the first, wild wheat stems break easily, which would cause the steams (plus grains) to fall to the ground, which makes farming inconvenient. For the second, wild wheat seeds do not immediately germinate or germinate at a consistent time, instead "randomly" sprouting after they fall to the ground. This is handy if there's a drought, but inconvenient for farming. Both of these mutations needed to occur for anything like modern farming to develop.

We have evidence that humans roasted wheat grains (which are large and protein-rich, compared to "competitors") before they really developed farming. Of course, even with the mutation, you would need plows and manuring (requires domesticating animals) and eventually irrigation before you saw anything like medieval farms. You would need mills to grind grain and make beer, or ovens to make that into bread. And metal to slice that bread

There are numerous "champion" foods we could grow. Some fruit require grafting to get anything particularly useful out of them, which would have required years of observation, experimentation (or luck) and duplication/spreading. Different animals were domesticated at different times as well, and only some animals are useful for domestication.

I believe farming spread so quickly because anyone who started farming saw huge population increases, and any other humans who saw this wanted to copy this. Furthermore the farmers either conquered nearby people, or simply "encroached" on their lands and turned that into farmland.
This is an important point. Ancient humans did not find good crops and decide to settle down. Not just optimal wheat plants... Big juicy plums or apples, beans and strawberries, and cabbages growing to the size of your head did not exist - these were developed over hundreds and thousands of years by perhaps semi-nomadic hunter-farmers returning to the same place and picking the best of the plants to replant. (Heck, look up the evolution of corn - the plant has been selected so much it is not viable except with human intervention, and looks nothing like its supposed predecessor) So a climate where the crops cannot be relied upon to grow every year for several hundred years at a stretch is not suitable for agriculture, and crops that can fully substitute for hunting will not be developed.

You kind of wonder how many times the humans returned to their favorite wild wheat patch or apple orchard only to find nothing to eat, before they could be sure they should stop and settle the year round.

Last edited by md2000; 11-30-2019 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:44 AM
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Yes, climate change. The more unstable the climate, the less agriculture pays off versus competing strategies. Especially early in the process when you don't have the selective breeding and techniques down.

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I believe farming spread so quickly because anyone who started farming saw huge population increases, and any other humans who saw this wanted to copy this. Furthermore the farmers either conquered nearby people, or simply "encroached" on their lands and turned that into farmland.
Genetic studies of human remains in the middle east and Zagroz shows that agriculture at first spread as a concept, to unrelated peoples. After a bit, someone in Anatolia figured out how to do it right, and a massive population wave spread out. The descendants of this population is still a major component of the European genetic profile. Otzi the Iceman was a representative of this group.

Interactions with the previous hunter-gatherer population varied. There are still genes from the hunter-gatherers present. Agriculture came late to the British Isles, but when it did the agriculturalists totally erased the previous population. Conversely in the east Baltic the native population held out and adopted agriculture with little replacement (at that point). Speculation is the area was so fertile and varied in resources that it supported a greater population density, that held out until picking up agriculture.

A similar pattern of an agricultural population explosion erasing local populations can be found in Southeast Asia.

As for the Mammoth/Mastodons, there is always some new paper trying to exonerate humans by pointing the finger at some other culprit. Comet strike, mega-flu what have you. Climate change seem like a poor choice.

The species and related probscidea go back to the Miocene, and seems to have had a remarkable ability to weather climate changes, powering through both the hotter Miocene and repeated, fast-shifting (in evolutionary terms) glacial and inter-glacial periods. I am not aware of any evidence of stress during previous climate changes.

They even managed to survive into historic times in a location not reached by humans. If you can make it on Wrangel Island, you need a really good excuse not to flourish elsewhere.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:04 PM
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There are some theories that humans simply got too good at hunting and needed to find other sources of food.
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:19 PM
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There are some theories that humans simply got too good at hunting and needed to find other sources of food.

I would suggest that the tribes in North America seemed to have never run out of hunting the massive buffalo herds well into the 19th century of the Christian era.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:55 PM
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I would suggest that the tribes in North America seemed to have never run out of hunting the massive buffalo herds well into the 19th century of the Christian era.
They did hunt mammoths and mastodons to extinction.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:21 PM
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They did hunt mammoths and mastodons to extinction.
I don't think that hunting was the single cause for their extinction. Again, climate change played a big role.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:34 PM
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They did hunt mammoths and mastodons to extinction.

This is highly doubtful.

The overkill hypothesis has been totally debunked. It was based upon a coincidence that arrival of humans and the extinctions seemed to be at the same time. However, we now know humans arrived quite a bit earlier and the extinctions occurred over a wider period that was originally thought.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014...-north-america

Of course we dont know and humans with the spears could have been a part of it. Or Humans bring pests over, or humans starting huge fires, etc. But now Paleontologists are pretty certain that climate change was the biggest cause.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:55 PM
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Doesn't agriculture require understanding that plants come from seeds? How did humans figure that out?
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:40 PM
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The overkill hypothesis has been totally debunked. It was based upon a coincidence that arrival of humans and the extinctions seemed to be at the same time. However, we now know humans arrived quite a bit earlier and the extinctions occurred over a wider period that was originally thought.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014...-north-america
You've been repeatedly informed that the "overkill hypothesis" is just one scenario about how humans may have been involved in megafaunal extinctions. The fact that the overkill hypothesis is no longer considered to be likely doesn't mean that humans weren't the deciding factor in these extinctions.

Regarding the study you cite:

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The authors stress that their results can be directly applied only to northeastern North America, and not to other regions such as the Great Plains and Southwest.
Even less can they be applied to elsewhere in the Americas, or to megafaunal extinctions in the Old World, which occurred at very different times. And of course this is a single article and can be challenged as well.

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Of course we dont know and humans with the spears could have been a part of it. Or Humans bring pests over, or humans starting huge fires, etc.
Paleontologists do recognize that a variety of effects caused megafaunal extinctions in different parts of the world, some more important in one area than in others. But the common factor in most cases was the encounter of humans with advanced hunting capabilities with a naive fauna that hadn't experienced such hunting before.

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But now Paleontologists are pretty certain that climate change was the biggest cause.
On a global scale, this is absolutely false.

Last edited by Colibri; 11-30-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:30 PM
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There are some theories that humans simply got too good at hunting and needed to find other sources of food.
Seems very unlikely, since agriculture developed at different times after the local extinction of megafauna, and even in areas that didn't have megafauna, like New Guinea.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:17 PM
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The theory that I heard popularized in the 1980s -- and I am sorry to not be in any position to give you cites either as the correctness of my memories or the correctness of what the 1980s-vintage anthros wre saying -- was that roughly 10,000 years ago there were several areas marked by the following descips:

* Lots of fertile land in a handful of narrowly defined belts. Yangtze River, Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent, a few others.

* Lots of barren fucking desert surrounding fertile belt.

* Population increase to the point of exceeding the hunter-gatherer sufficient yield of the fertile areas.


They'd known about the potential for agriculture. It meant a shitload of hard work. Easier to just move on and pick what's already growing -- no brainer there, right? Until you no longer can.


Agriculture doesn't just mean setting down and behaving like farmers. You've gotta defend what your'e growing from the other folks who are still living as hunter-gatherers, who don't necessarily grok the whole "this is my land" concept.

It changes everything.

Last edited by AHunter3; 11-29-2019 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:50 PM
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Development of city-states etc. Accumulation and strorage of all sorts of things. Then comes the need for military to protect said things.
This only follows in the Old World; in the New World crop domestication started before they became sedentary.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:25 PM
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I proposed a interesting theory (tongue in cheek) in my story Putting Down Roots. (Analog October 2013)
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:44 PM
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As others pointed out, warm climate was the essential catalyst. Why then didn't humans develop agriculture in the warm period 130,000 years ago? I don't know; perhaps H. sapiens was then a scrawny population living on the margins, while the dominant hominid species lacked the prerequisite language capabilities?

Man invented selective breeding inadvertently. By picking the best-looking plants and processing them (for beer?) in a single place, stray seeds would grow to yield superior crops at that selected place. Sheep-herding developed even earlier; simple pottery even earlier still.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:48 PM
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As others pointed out, warm climate was the essential catalyst. Why then didn't humans develop agriculture in the warm period 130,000 years ago?
Mostly because they didn't have to. And agriculture is a lot harder work than hunter-gathering.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:56 AM
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Mostly because they didn't have to. And agriculture is a lot harder work than hunter-gathering.
But this doesn't really address the question. Humans 10,000 years ago didn't need or want to become farmers either. But those that failed to become farmers were overwhelmed by the farmers numerically: farming allowed higher population densities.

I still think that the answer is that the dominant (but non-sapiens) hominids 130,000 years ago lacked some essential Homo sapiens character — probably language capability.
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Old 11-30-2019, 05:55 AM
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Mostly because they didn't have to. And agriculture is a lot harder work than hunter-gathering.
But this doesn't really address the question. Humans 10,000 years ago didn't need or want to become farmers either. But those that failed to become farmers were overwhelmed by the farmers numerically: farming allowed higher population densities.

I still think that the answer is that the dominant (but non-sapiens) hominids 130,000 years ago lacked some essential Homo sapiens character — probably language capability.

Post #16.

A specific pattern appears to have occurred 10K years ago. Fertile areas surrounded by desert, and population outstripping what the fertility of the land could sustain without resorting to agriculture.

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Old 11-30-2019, 07:33 AM
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Do note that agriculture doesn't necessarily mean a sedentary lifestyle.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:55 AM
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Do note that agriculture doesn't necessarily mean a sedentary lifestyle.
Settled agriculture does tend to allow higher levels of food production.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:48 PM
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Settled agriculture does tend to allow higher levels of food production.
Generally speaking, only true for a) people living in very specific, fertile and naturally renewed zones (like the Mekong banks, the Nile banks, somewhere between Tigris & Euphrates...) b) people who figured out the whole crop rotation thing or c) people with fertilizers or equivalent (e.g. the Aztecs and their chinampas).

Plains Indians or Frankish/Germanic pastoral tribes didn't move their entire settlements every few years for the hell of it, on account of it's a bit of a pain in the dick to build an entire village from scratch. They did it when the soil became too poor to keep planting there (also, possibly, when their wood or packed earth dwellings got altogether too manky and maintenance/repairs too annoying)
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:20 AM
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There are locations where you get higher grounds (high rainfall) or rivers (easy irrigation) within spitting distance of dry areas. In those locations, you can get a relatively large diversity of crops grown within distances amounting to a day's walk or even less, without much infrastructure. Development of different agricultural techniques and transportation techniques allow settling down and getting a varied diet. Being a hunter-gatherer is not much work if you're in an area with a lot of easily-gatherable food and animals, but as soon as you've got someone with mobility problems (such as those pesky third-trimester women, little kids and old people), being able to stay put is a lot easier for the group as a whole.
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:44 AM
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There are locations where you get higher grounds (high rainfall) or rivers (easy irrigation) within spitting distance of dry areas. In those locations, you can get a relatively large diversity of crops grown within distances amounting to a day's walk or even less, without much infrastructure. Development of different agricultural techniques and transportation techniques allow settling down and getting a varied diet. Being a hunter-gatherer is not much work if you're in an area with a lot of easily-gatherable food and animals, but as soon as you've got someone with mobility problems (such as those pesky third-trimester women, little kids and old people), being able to stay put is a lot easier for the group as a whole.
That doesn't explain why, after tens of thousands of years of doing exactly that, 7-9 different groups all decided to try a more settled lifestyle, all independently, all at about the same time.

I think climate change is the best explanation we have to go the the facts as we currently know them. And it may well be right. But I also think there is a lot we don't know, and who knows what facts may turn up in the next fifty years?
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:04 PM
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That doesn't explain why, after tens of thousands of years of doing exactly that, 7-9 different groups all decided to try a more settled lifestyle, all independently, all at about the same time.

I think climate change is the best explanation we have to go the the facts as we currently know them.
Climate change was one of the factors which led to the kind of situation where you could grow things that needed water Right Here and things that didn't Over There.

I wasn't discussing the "climate change" thing, just pointing (evidently not very well) out that "medieval farms" in a loooooot of Europe didn't involve irrigation. A lot of Old World areas whose traditional cereals are not rice did not, and do not.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:55 PM
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Wait, every few years? That is settled agriculture. It’s not nomadic.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:00 PM
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It's semi-nomadic. Or semi-sedentary, depending on your opinions re:glasses

ETA : other semi-sedentary practices involve planting stuff in one place ; then following animal migrations during the warm months ; to come back to the crops in time for harvest, storage & wintering. I think some North Am. tribes lived that way.

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Old 12-01-2019, 12:43 PM
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It seems you want to believe that cultural choices reflect some kind of inherent difference between people rather than just people living in different circumstances making rational choices. That sounds like racialism.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:48 PM
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It seems you want to believe that cultural choices reflect some kind of inherent difference between people rather than just people living in different circumstances making rational choices. That sounds like racialism.
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I don't see anything in bardos' posts that suggest any such thing. Let's not put words in other poster's mouths.

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  #41  
Old 12-01-2019, 01:10 PM
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There were some noticeable changes that have occured in humans the last ~200k years or so. So we get the terms anatomically and behaviorally modern humans.

Like all things in this area, there's a lot of debate. But it seems that there was some noticeable changes that started about ~100k ago and really became significant ~40k years ago. Things like tools, grave goods, etc. plus skeletal changes.

By about 30-40k years ago there were people who were sufficiently like us that all the usual technological advances like large scale agriculture could have happened.

Why the lag is the question.

People have noted climate factors. In regards to the above dates, compare to the range of the most recent (Wisconsin in the US) ice age: 75k to 11k ago. Hmm.

So, that ice age put a lid on some aspects of human development while perhaps pushing other aspects forware (i.e., to modern humans). Then the ice age ends. Climates change. New areas open up. Some areas get less liveable. And those areas are ripe for agriculture to develop thanks to the new aspects of modern humans.

But some things make it complicated. Why didn't agriculture develop in Australia? There were modern humans there by at least 40k years ago. The climate changed there quite a bit. Etc.

And Göbekli Tepe has caused some rethinking. Not just that the earliest dating is 12k years ago and what were these people eating to support the population? But also how many more of these sites are there to be discovered? It's just too early.

One thing to keep in mind is agriculture is not a "not there" then "there" thing. Some Native Americans in the PNW maintained camas meadows by selective burning of competing plants, avoiding over harvesting, etc. Pretty darn close to agriculture. (Plus they made a variety of foods with it including loaves of "bread".)

So people all over no doubt did likewise with local crops for a very long time and maybe even transplanted/seeded suitable other areas without yet getting into serious stuff like selective breeding.

Also animals were all part of this. Horses, cattle, pigs, ovines, llamas, etc. Taking care of such animals might have been a big kick starter to real agriculture.
  #42  
Old 12-01-2019, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
..
But some things make it complicated. Why didn't agriculture develop in Australia? There were modern humans there by at least 40k years ago. The climate changed there quite a bit. Etc.

And Göbekli Tepe has caused some rethinking. Not just that the earliest dating is 12k years ago and what were these people eating to support the population? But also how many more of these sites are there to be discovered? It's just too early.

One thing to keep in mind is agriculture is not a "not there" then "there" thing. Some Native Americans in the PNW maintained camas meadows by selective burning of competing plants, avoiding over harvesting, etc. Pretty darn close to agriculture. (Plus they made a variety of foods with it including loaves of "bread".)....
Australia is a interesting question, here's a couple of articles about why:

https://austhrutime.com/agriculture.htm

One of the features of Aboriginal Australia that has been wondered about is that for the whole of their presence in Australia, probably more than 60,000 years, the inhabitants never adopted agriculture or domestication of animals, remaining one of the few places in the world sticking with their traditional hunter-gatherer way of life.

Many reasons have been put forward for the lack of agriculture in Australia, but it is only recently that it was realised that they did in fact practice a form of agriculture, firestick agriculture. They not only used fire to hunt, setting fire to grass to chase out animals to aid in hunting, but regularly burnt limited areas to increase the availability of new grass to feed the animals they hunted, maintaining the populations of their prey species sustainably for many thousands of years. Not only did they maintain their hunting lands in the condition their prey species preferred, they are also thought to be possibly, at least partially, responsible for the spread of dry eucalypt forests after their arrival, because this type of vegetation is fire-resistant.


https://search.informit.com.au/docum...ELAPA;type=pdf
https://journals.lib.washington.edu/...icle/view/9978
  #43  
Old 12-01-2019, 02:42 PM
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What different people mean by 'agriculture' varies enormously, even among archaeologists, which does not help. There is a complete continuum from total reliance on hunting and fishing [high random, high skill] to sedentary intensive surplus-producing mono-cropping [nil random, low task complexity]. Where we choose to put a line and say that beyond that is 'agriculture' is largely arbitrary and based on prejudice and expectation as much as science.

I'd call a constellation of practices that relied on vast understanding of how plants and animals worked in nature, and then consciously manipulating that to obtain reliability of yields that otherwise wouldn't happen agricultural behaviour.

If the arbitrary line is ignored, then there is a lot of agricultural behaviour emerging and evolving as the climate stabilises post-last ice-age and, with it, greater stability in ecology. Climate change is a likely precondition, but probably not causal beyond producing ecological stability. Moving into more intensive cropping requires complex interactions between ecology, population dynamics, sedentism and social structures that all have to work together, which is probably less about climate / ecosystems than social relations supporting different types of power relationships developing within and between groups.

The way we think about agriculture is still strongly influenced by a lot of deeply-embedded 19th century racial thought about the ladder of human evolution somehow mirroring how people get their food. (See the current contentious debate in Australia about Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu, where he cites a whole series of agricultural practices that were observed by early European settlers but which they couldn't call agriculture because that had implications about the sort of society they were busy attempting to dominate.)
  #44  
Old 12-02-2019, 12:24 AM
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It's not "all" humanity, and it's not "at the same time" - just very roughly so. Which is to be expected given the different circumstances, that responses to the same climatic event would take varying times in different environments.
  #45  
Old 12-02-2019, 06:48 AM
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A man might own his weapons and a woman a few baskets/sacks, people own small things, but no one amassed large amounts of stuff. So yes, technically, there was private property but not hoards like modern people typically have.
  #46  
Old 12-02-2019, 07:16 AM
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A man might own his weapons and a woman a few baskets/sacks, people own small things, but no one amassed large amounts of stuff.
That's the nature of being nomadic HGs. "Not a lot of stuff" doesn't mean "didn't own the stuff they had"

The issue here is whether all or most stuff was shared. There's no actual evidence for the claim that pre-agricultural people owned everything in common, and plenty of evidence from burials that they didn't.
  #47  
Old 12-02-2019, 12:15 PM
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That's the nature of being nomadic HGs. "Not a lot of stuff" doesn't mean "didn't own the stuff they had"

The issue here is whether all or most stuff was shared. There's no actual evidence for the claim that pre-agricultural people owned everything in common, and plenty of evidence from burials that they didn't.
My guess (subject to change with more evidence) is that people owned their personal tools and clothes/ornaments, but not much else because there wasn't much else. The territory was "owned" in common. They cooperated to build shelter(s). Food was definitely shared, often with elaborate rules for distribution. Likewise, rights to harvest various resources were elaborately codified, but there was a notion that all of this was supposed to contribute to everyone's survival. I think sometimes people think it was some sort of free-for-all finders-keepers but in fact all the HG societies so far discovered have a lot of rules to follow.
  #48  
Old 12-02-2019, 12:44 PM
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In 1978, James Burke did a 10-part series called, "Connections", which traced the development of existing items back as far as he could.

In episode one, he theorized that the primary motivating factor away from hunting-and-gathering was the invention of the plow. Humans could now grow food in place rather than spending time looking for food.
  #49  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:01 PM
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In episode one, he theorized that the primary motivating factor away from hunting-and-gathering was the invention of the plow. Humans could now grow food in place rather than spending time looking for food.
Certainly wrong, since plowing was a relatively late development. Early agriculture relied on hoes and digging sticks (and still does in the subtropics and tropics). The earliest evidence of plowing seems to be about 3800 BC, which is 4000 years too late. Also, AFAIK plowing never developed in the agricultural societies of the Americas. While early plows were drawn by humans, to be really effective they needed domesticated draft animals, which were lacking in the Americas.
  #50  
Old 12-02-2019, 03:13 PM
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My guess (subject to change with more evidence) is that people owned their personal tools and clothes/ornaments, but not much else because there wasn't much else. The territory was "owned" in common.
This definitely isn't the case with the current HGs I'm familiar with (the San). Individuals (often women) own such territorial features as water holes and foraging areas. So cites for why this is supposed to be different in the distant past would be useful.
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They cooperated to build shelter(s).
Sure, everyone helps erect temporary structures.The Amish have communal barn raising, do they not own property then?
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Food was definitely shared, often with elaborate rules for distribution.
That's not egalitarian "sharing", that's a stratified gift economy. Not the same thing at all. There's a clear sense of who has the rights to portion food out. The hunter, if it's meat (and this is usually to everyone, gift economy style), the forager's family only, if it's foraged food. That distribution right's a form of ownership.
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there was a notion that all of this was supposed to contribute to everyone's survival.
Cite, please. Cites for recent anthropology or archaeology papers that show this "notion" rather than your romantic supposition.
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I think sometimes people think it was some sort of free-for-all finders-keepers but in fact all the HG societies so far discovered have a lot of rules to follow.
That's the opposite of everyone sharing everything. You know what we call it when there are elaborate rules for who can use what? Property rights.
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