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Thread: Why the Switch from Foraging to Farming?

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    Why the Switch from Foraging to Farming?

    Thousands of years ago, our ancestors gave up foraging for food and took up farming, one of the most important and debated decisions in history.

    Was farming more efficient than foraging? Did the easily hunted animals die out? Did the environment change?

    A new study by Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico argues that early farming was not more productive than foraging, but people took it up for social and demographic reasons.

    In Monday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bowles analyzed what it would take to farm under primitive conditions. He concluded farming produced only about three-fifths of the food gained from foraging.

    But, Bowles notes, farming became the most common way of living between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago because of its contribution to population growth and military power.

    Without the need for constant movement, child-rearing would have been easier and safer, leading to a population increase, Bowles said. And since stored grain might be looted, farmer communities could have banded together for defense and would have eventually pushed out neighboring foragers, he suggests.

    Brian Fagan, a professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, called Bowles' ideas "provocative and fascinating."

    It had been suspected that the earliest farming was not necessarily more productive, said Fagan, who was not part of the research.

    "What he does is to draw attention to the social and demographic factors that contributed so importantly to the spread of farming," Fagan said. "This is a useful contribution to a debate about agricultural origins that has been under way for generations."

    More information: http://www.pnas.org
    Source http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-...g-farming.html

    "Make strong old dreams lest our world lose heart." -Ezra Pound



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    when farmers bond together to protect their storage why wouldn't foragers be able to bond together to get to the storage?


    Farming is also the switch from meat to vegies. The forager would always have more power and aggression then the veggie eaters.

    The foragers followed the reindeer movements that is a sort of farming. Most likely they were attached to certain herds and guarded them too. They were also familiar with making the meat longlasting through drying and smoking.

    when more people went into farming that meant there was more meat around and thus no reason to go into farming.

    It also seems that farming required more work than hunting. Meat has also higher nutritiunal values than veggies. (which the hunters also ate).

    The only advantage most likely was that farmers don't have to move around and could build a dwelling which provides more comfort.

    I guess he got a point.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    Maybe fat was regarded as status (as in many societies), people get fatter from starch and corn than from wild game and nuts etc.

    "Make strong old dreams lest our world lose heart." -Ezra Pound



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    I also believe that hunting was a male profession while women and kids were gathering the plant-food.

    Might be that the euqation men=meat and women=plants was a the basic of a shift between the relationsship between women and men.

    Might well be that the early beginnings of farmings was a female pastime that grow out of proportion.

    As women got more and more food together the hunting was less required and the men became lazily more dependent on their womens productions.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    a slightly different prehistoric Shakespeare (Caesar) would likely be : Let there be fat women around me
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    It could be that farming became more productive with the domestication of animals. With a steady supply of meat around then the population began to grow and flourish around farming based life styles.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    You might not have had as much food with early farming, but you were more likely to have it at any one time. That's easy to see.

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    If you compare Europeans to the Africans, American Indians and Australian Aboriginals for example, the switch from foraging to Farming enabled recources and energy to be channeled into civilization building.

    Instead of foraging for just enough to feed one family, farming enabled us to feed whole villages and cities and allowed us a sustainable food source unlike the American Indians and Aboriginals who would simply eat everything in one area and then move on.

    So we started to farm, different farms growing large quantities of different crops and livestock. Saved us spending time finding food and more time and effort could be put into raising armies to explore and conquer as these armies could now be fed via the farms instead of having to find recources and still campaign like the American Indians for instance.
    I grew up on a belief of honour, courage and the old world values. The world isn't about that anymore, preferring to die a slow death of fast food and cheap thrills.

  10. #10
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    When we started to keep animals and farm, life expectancy dropped and people didnt grew as tall as before.

    "Make strong old dreams lest our world lose heart." -Ezra Pound



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