How and why did humans start practising agriculture?

Based on current archeological evidence, Paleoanthropologists (the study of the origins and predecessors of the present human species, using fossils and other remains) have estimated that the earliest fossil evidence of Homo sapiens—anatomically modern humans—is roughly 196,000 years old.

However, before roughly 15,000-20,000 years ago, we have no proof that our ancestors had agriculture.

Humans discovered farming toward the end of the Stone Age. From as early as 11,000 BCE, humans began a gradual transition away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle toward cultivating crops by molding nature to their needs and agriculture emerged in multiple places. 

And, we believe that it emerged independently in several parts of the world and spread from places as varied as Mesopotamia, Northern China, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa.

The first cultivated plant was probably rice or corn as Chinese farmers were cultivating rice as early as 7500 BCE.

Now, why did humans give up hunting & gathering for farming?

There are so many possible reasons, all of which may be likely played some role at different times and across different parts of the world:

1. Climate changes may have made it too cold or too dry to rely on wild food sources.

2. Overhunting may have pushed the extinction of some well-known species, and animals around them, due to which shortage of food occurred which may lead them to settle, and practice agriculture.

3. Population pressure may have caused increased competition for food, and farming provided more food per acre, even if it did require more time and energy.

4. Changing technology, such as preserved seeds, would have made agriculture, a more convenient lifestyle.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 10-Oct-2022


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