Origins Under what conditions did pastoralism arise? What favors this specialization? Nineteenth-century social evolutionists (e.g., Morgan, Engels) believed nomadic pastoralism was an evolutionary stage between foraging and settled agriculture This seemed plausible, since foragers exercise relatively little control over subsistence resources and are often highly nomadic; agricultural populations greatly modify their resources (and associated environmental features) and are very sedentary; and nomadic pastoralists are generally intermediate in both regards On average, nomadic pastoralists also intermediate in population density, degree of socio-political complexity, etc.; hence seem to fit transitional stage of social evolution However, anthropologists no longer believe that pastoralism = widespread intermediate stage between foraging and agriculture, and doubt that pastoralism & animal domestication preceded agriculture and plant domestication
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