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Human As Food Growers

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The following is a summary of chapter 2 "Human as Food Growers.

Once humans became food producers a new world opened before them. Leaving behind them the Paleolithic age and entering the Neolithic age. This conversion was not the effect of unexpected stimulation. People truly understood the procedure of plant growth before the agricultural revolution, just as they knew before Columbus voyage that the earth was round.

All through history humans have been capable to domesticate only a few hundred plants and a few dozen animals, once that happens to acquire certain crucial characteristics. Like plants, animals also must be domesticated. They must be capable of overcoming their instinctive fear of humans, of breeding in captivity, and of accepting the diet provided by humans.

The process of transition from hunting to agriculture was gradual and took place independently in many parts of the world. Agriculture developed in the Middle East-the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan, the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates in Syria and Iraq, and the eastern coast of the Mediterranean in the areas of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

The transition of the earliest domestication to agricultural revolution, or full reliance on agriculture, was very steady and extended. Agriculture in Africa developed independently about 5000 B.C.E. around the headwaters of the Niger and in the Nile valley about 4000 B.C.E.

In modern times, with the partition of Africa among Western empires, African agriculture suffered a setback. European Missionaries, officials, and scientist brought with them their familiar European cereals such as wheat and corn and assumed that the unknown African cereals were mediocre.

The worldwide diffusion of agriculture led to the domestication of a mixture of plant suitable to a variety of local conditions. In the Middle East wheat and barley had been the most common crops. But as the farmers moved northward they found that these crops did not do as well as rye, which originally had been a weed sown by



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