This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: n “why farm?” strikes most of us modern humans as silly. Of course it is better to grow wheat and cows than to forage for roots and snails. But in reality, that perspective is flawed by hindsight. Food production could not possibly have arisen through a conscious decision, because the world’s first farmers had around them no model of farming to observe, hence they could not have known that there was a goal of domestication to strive for, and could not have guessed the consequences that domestication would bring for them. If they had actually foreseen the consequences, they would surely have outlawed the first steps towards domestication, because the archaeological and ethnographic record throughout the world shows that the transition from hunting and gathering to farming eventually resulted in more work, lower adult stature, worse nutritional condition and heavier disease burdens10,11. The only peoples who could make a conscious choice about becoming farmers were hunter–gatherers living adjacent to the first farming communities, and they generally disliked what they saw and rejected farming, for the good reasons jus...
View Full Document
- Fall '08