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Critically evaluate the possible causes and outcomes of the `Neolithic revolution`

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in anthropology, life sciences

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Critically evaluate the possible causes and outcomes of the `Neolithic revolution`

While archaeologists are agreed on the implication of the Neolithic Revolution , it has not been so simple to determine exactly when food production began . In the first place , the classification of food production is dependent on our perceptive of domestication , an indefinite concept itself . Domestication can be distinct as the exploitation of plants and animals by humans in such a way as to cause some genetic , or morphological , change more broadly [banner_entry_middle]

, it is seen as a range of relationships between people , plants , and animals (Anne Birgitte Gebauer and T . Douglas Price , eds , 1992

On one end of the range are morphologically domesticated plants like wheat , barley , peas , lentils , and bitter vetch . In these plants , changes brought concerning by artificially induced selective processes can be renowned by pale botanists studying the remains of seeds . Some morphologically domesticated plants , together with maize , dates , banana and breadfruit , have been so altered that they are forever tied to people , for they have lost their autonomous power of seed dispersal and germination

On the other end of the same range are plants that have been “domesticated ” solely in terms of the growing space people offer for them . These plants , referred to as cultivated plants , are difficult if not viable to differentiate from wild plants , for their domestication is a matter of ecological rather than morphological change

In the middle range of the continuum lie all extents of domestication and cultivation . consequently , determining whether or not a past culture has cultivated plants often involves a fair amount of detective work For example , the presence of seeds at Nahal Oren in Israel (ca . 18 ,000 B .C ) of exactly the same cereal plants later domesticated indicates that certain plants might have been selected and cultivated at a very early date (Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza 1996

Determining the degree of animal domestication also entails some inference and guesswork . As with plants , some animals (in the Near East dogs , sheep , goats , cattle , and pigs ) became hereditarily changed in time . But morphological changes did not take place for many generations and in several instances they never took place at all . In these cases paleozoologists should rely on other clues . The high percentage of gazelle bones in some early Neolithic sites , for illustration – three times more than any other species – probably indicates their “domestication ” or at the very least their selective exploitation . In recent times the red deer , eland , and musk-ox have , for all realistic purposes , been domesticated perhaps in the same mode that the gazelle was in the early Neolithic

As with plants , some animal species are more easily cultivated than others . Studies on the herding behavior of animals suggest that definite species may be predated for domestication (Charles Heiser , 1990 . The evolution from extensive dependence on gazelle to the domestication of sheep and goats may have resulted from the fact that sheep and goats utilize a wider range of foods… [banner_entry_footer]

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