post 6 - ORIGINS OF DOMESTICATION SUMMARY 1 IN THE NEAR...

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ORIGINS OF DOMESTICATION SUMMARY 1) IN THE NEAR EAST, AND EVERYWHERE ELSE WE KNOW ABOUT WHERE WELL- DEVELOPED DOMESTICATION EMERGED INDIGENOUSLY, THE PROCESS REQUIRED THOUSANDS OF YEARS. IN PART THIS REFLECTS THE TIME REQUIRED TO ASSEMBLE VIABLE SETS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS. 2) LARGE COMMUNITIES, SEDENTARY LIFE IN ONE PLACE, POTTERY, AND OTHER TOOLS (E.G. GRINDING IMPLEMENTS) DID NOT RAPIDLY APPEAR AS A KIND OF "NEOLITHIC PACKAGE" OVER A SHORT TIME, AS SOME ARCHAEOLOGISTS ANTICIPATED, BUT INSTEAD MUCH MORE UNPREDICTABLY. SOME HUNTER-GATHERERS SUCH AS THE NATUFIANS HAD "PREADAPTATIONS" TO THE AGRICULTURAL WAY OF LIFE, SUCH AS LARGE COMMUNITIES. 3) MOST PEOPLE LIVING IN THE POPULATIONS THAT PIONEERED THIS NEW WAY OF LIFE PROBABLY NEVER RECOGNIZED THE SLOW, INCREMENTAL CHANGES TAKING PLACE AROUND THEM. EVOLUTION, WHETHER BIOLOGICAL OR CULTURAL, GENERALLY IS IN RESPONSE TO IMMEDIATE, SHORT-TERM CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS PROBABLY TRUE TO SAY THAT EARLY FARMERS WERE CONSERVATIVE, IN THE SENSE THAT THEY WERE TRYING TO BE BETTER HUNTER-GATHERERS. THE CHANGES THEIR BEHAVIORS EVENTUALLY UNLEASHED ARE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE "LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES". 4) WHILE NOT REVOLUTIONARY IN TERMS OF RAPID CHANGE, AGRICULTURE DID EVENTUALLY HAVE REVOLUTIONARY CONSEQUENCES FOR HUMANS. 5) AGRICULTURE AS A WAY OF LIFE BEGAN TO RAPIDLY SUPPLANT HUNTING- GATHERING IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD, A STRIKING EXAMPLE OF LONG-TERM CULTURAL EVOLUTION. MEGALITHIC "CULTURES" IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD, AND AT MANY DIFFERENT TIMES, PEOPLE BUILT A VARIETY OF STRUCTURES THAT INCORPORATE VERY LARGE STONES. THIS PRACTICE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A GENERAL KIND OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR INVENTED INDEPENDENTLY ON MANY OCCASIONS. THE TERM MEGALITHIC DOES NOT REFER TO A SINGLE CULTURE OR EVEN A SET OF RELATED ONES, BUT SIMPLY TO THE FACT THAT PEOPLE MADE AND USED LARGE STONE BUILDINGS. MEGALITHS ARE CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH EARLY FARMING EUROPEAN POPULATIONS IN EUROPE. FARMING APPEARS TO HAVE BECOME ESTABLISHED AS A RESULT OF BOTH IDEAS AND THINGS MOVING FROM THE NEAR EAST (DIFFUSION), AS WELL AS ACTUAL MIGRATIONS OF NEAR EASTERN PEOPLES. THE EARLIEST EUROPEAN AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES ARE IN GREECE (AT ABOUT 7000 B.C.), AND BY 4000 B.C. FARMING AS A WAY OF LIFE HAD SPREAD TO THE WESTERN AND NORTHERN MARGINS OF EUROPE. THIS PROCESS INVOLVED THE
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REPLACEMENT OF HUNTER-GATHERERS BY FARMERS, BUT MANY HUNTER-GATHERERS ALSO ADOPTED THE ADAPTATION OF AGRICULTURE. EARLIEST AND BEST-KNOWN MEGALITHIC CONSTRUCTIONS ARE FROM WESTERN EUROPE, WHERE THEY WERE CONSTRUCTED DURING THE PERIOD FROM ABOUT 4800 B.C. -- 1500 B.C. SOME OF THE FIRST ONES IN PLACES LIKE IRELAND WERE BUILT BY PEOPLE WHO WERE STILL HUNTER-GATHERERS, BUT MANY MORE WERE BUILT BY EARLY EUROPEAN FARMERS. EXAMPLES: STONEHENGE (ENGLAND), CARNAC FRANCE).
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