Domestication of Plants Begins around 10 000 BCE in the Fertile Crescent, around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers Rivers + fertile land + hospitable climate
Long dry season with short period of rain People selected plants with bigger seeds, better taste Pioneer crops / Neolithic founder crops Emmer (wheat) Einkorn (wheat) Barley Lentil, pea, chickpea, flax, bitter vetch Figs
In Iran, about 6000 BCE, first evidence of irrigation Dug small channels to bring water from rivers Crops become reliable Begin to harvest surpluses, so require storage First granaries – 9500 BCE in the Jordan Valley Populations become more sedentary as a result
Why? Different theories about what spurred this change Display of power through abundance Natural evolutionary stage Result of a cognitive leap – once people understand their own mortality, they fear death and start looking for increased security
Domestication of Animals Dogs may have already been domesticated – evidence this may have happened as early as 33 kya (evidence in Altai mountains) Why?
Mostly comes after sedentary food production No longer follow herds, so need to keep animals close Selected based on size, temperament, diet, mating pattern, lifespan Milk producers like cows and goats are very valuable, as they have a double yield (milk + meat) Working animals important Provide leather, wool, fertilizer
Just like seeds, selected for desirable traits With selection, traits changed Animals grew bigger, produced more milk, changed in colour, etc. Sheep – 11 000-9000 BCE Pig – 9000 BCE Goat – 8000 BCE Cow – 8000 BCE Cat – 7500 BCE Horses, camels – 4000 BCE As populations spread and moved in response to climate change, they brought these animals with them
Results Historians used to view these changes as completely positive, but new research shows a mixed picture Nutritional standards were lower at first, which led to shorter lifespan, lower average height Specialization of labour – more people supported on a smaller land base, so some freed from food production for other jobs – leads to other advances Increased social stratification and gender inequality Living closely with animals leads to increased disease resistance (ex. Smallpox, influenza) Surpluses lead to trade system