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ANTH 101 C - Anthropology Lecture Notes The First Farmers I...

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Anthropology Lecture Notes 25 – NOV – 2008 The First Farmers I. 95% of Human Existence on Earth has been as Hunter-Gatherers a. Until 10,000 years before present. b. What we know about Homo sapiens is now from archaeological studies rather than paleontological studies. II. Agriculture, Energy and Civilization a. Pre-Agricultural Times – 3 million years ago – 10,000 years ago b. Agricultural Times – 10,000 years ago – 19 th Century c. Agro-Industrial Times – 19 th Century to present d. Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Hunter-gatherers Estimated at 20-30 million people. i. Carrying Capacity = the amount that a population can sustain given a particular level of technology. e. Agriculture is the single most important factor that has allowed us to live the way we live today f. First agricultural and first cultural revolutions developed symbolically between 10-12 thousand years ago. For example – living in permanent sedentary communities (unlike was possible with a hunter-gatherer society), and the emergence of complex political systems/economic systems – all of these emerge in common with the emergence of agriculture. g. The emergence of agriculture coincides with climate changes in the early Holocene epoch. Areas of the world became warmer and drier. h. Directly correlated with the development of sedentary communities and social hierarchies. Direct correlation between larger urban societies and increased levels of social inequality. III. Processes in Domestication a. Hunter-gatherers recognized differences in taste, size and other properties of food that they were eating – selecting those that have a quality that they prefer. b. They selectively collected fruits and seeds c. They spread selected fruits and seeds i. Garbage dumps and latrines or on hunting trails d. Domestication is the process of artificial selection imposed upon desired species that humans consume or use. e. The promotion of favorable genes in plants, including mutants – for example non- bitter almonds – the quality which occurred theoretically some 10,000 years ago. f. Changes were first an accidental by-product of harvesting wild grains. g. Favorable Attributes i. Big seeds/fruits ii. How long to produce iii. Easy to process iv. Ability to store v. Non-toxic vi. Good taste vii. Easy to transport
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IV. Plants and Crops a. About 200,000 wild species globally b. About 2000+ eaten by humans c. Only 300+ varieties were ever domesticated by humans d. 12+ species account for more than 80% of the modern world’s annual crop by ton i. Wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, soybean, potato, beans, millet. Wheat, corn, rice, and millet are grasses. ii. Also sugar, banana and manioc V. Seven Areas of the World Where Domestication Took Place a. Middle East – Wheat, barley, sheep, goats, cattle, pigs i. The Fertile Crescent – Tigris and Euphrates Rivers – Mesopotamia through to Palestine. Area of the first domestication in the world and the first evidence of state-level societies arising.
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