Advantages of Agriculture in Early River Valleys

Topics: Agriculture, Carrying capacity, Famine Pages: 1 (251 words) Published: October 18, 2012
Advantage: Increased Food Availability
For millions of years, humans and their evolutionary ancestors roamed Savannah's and forests hunting game and gathering edible plants. During this period, the global population changed very little, limited by ecological carrying capacity. With the advent of agriculture, food availability grew exponentially. Starvation decreased significantly, and family sizes increased when early people had enough food to support more offspring. While crop failures were possible, the overall trend of cultivating food instead of searching for it allowed for rapid growth and expansion of humanity.

Advantage: Allows Settlement
Growing crops requires constant attention. Tribes who once traveled with nomadic tendencies quickly changed, as people learned to build basic shelter and irrigation. Agriculture marked the beginning of permanently settled areas, where generations could establish government, store food and raise livestock. Trade between villages commenced, as did cultural milestones such as art, architecture and music. Much of what people associate with society began as an indirect result of the need to stay in one place to grow crops.

Advantage: Job Specialization
Since finding food no longer required the efforts of a whole tribe but instead became the task of a relatively small group of farmers, the concept of free time emerged. With it came cultural activities and also the specialization of trades, such as tool-making, cloth-making and building, among others. People could specialize in a task and use that knowledge to trade for items or services. Social classes and the exchange of ideas emerged from this new society.
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