Beginning of Agriculture

Topics: Fertile Crescent, Agriculture, Neolithic founder crops Pages: 2 (536 words) Published: December 6, 2005

The beginning of agriculture with the domestication and farming of wild plants of wide success and earliest prominence occurred in the Mediterranean habitat of the Fertile Crescent. Early crops of the Fertile Crescent included barley, emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, peas, lentil, chickpeas, flax, and muskmelon. This change from hunter-gatherer to farmer was subtle at first and experimental, as the outcome was unknown and unforeseen to early farmers. To-be farmers would pick wild plants and take them to newly formed and formed because-of farming chiefdoms and plant the crops nearby. To-be farmers did not see this as an alternative to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but a supplement to caught or un-caught animals. They used the crops as a resort to low volumes of animals killed during a day and as a somewhat additive to their diets. As years passed, the chiefdoms became permanent towns and kingdoms because of the permanence required of farmers to maintain their crops.

Also associating the Fertile Crescent in agricultural sense was China, only a mere 1,000 years later. Chinese crop domestication included foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, rice, soybean, adzuki bean, mung bean, hemp, and muskmelon, although it was first domesticated elsewhere. As with the Fertile Crescent, root and tuber crops and melons of China were of early importance in only some areas.

As generations became adept to farming and techniques thereof, technological advances in the tools used for plowing, harvesting, preparing, and storing of the crops occurred. With the discovery of bronze tools and later steel tools, efficiency of productivity increased. The addition of large mammal-pulled ploughs increased speed and decreased stress on the human farmers, but first the animals needed to also be domesticated.

Eight crops domesticated and farmed in the Fertile Crescent are termed "founder crops, because they founded agriculture in the region and possibly the world. These eight founder...
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