Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Early Farmers in Stone Age

Early Farmers
Aearly societies grew, many bands of early people :ound that they could no longer depend on hunting and gathering for their needs. This method did not always bring in enough food. For a more steady supply of food, some early societies began to change from food collecting to food producing growing crops and raising animals.

Producing Food
About 10,000 years ago some hunter-gatherer societies began to produce some of their food. This change meant that people no longer depended just on what they could find or hunt. Instead, people learned to domesticate plants and animals. To domesticate living things means to tame them for people's use.

Women probably did most of the food gathering in early societies and may have been the first to domesticate plants. They probably began this process as they cared for wild plants. They learned that seeds from fully grown plants produced new plants. As time passed, they most likely began planting seeds from carefully selected wild plants.

They chose seeds from plants that were plentiful, grew fast, and tasted good. Over time some societies came to depend less on wild plants and more on crops grown in small gardens by early farmers. Wheat and barley were among the first crops to be domesticated. Growing crops also meant staying in one place, however. Planting, caring for, and harvesting crops took many months.

Once the crops were harvested, they needed to be stored. Early farming societies built year-round shelters and grew crops on the land around their small villages.

Their economy the way people use resources to meet their needs became based mainly on their crops.

No one place can claim to be the birthplace of farming. Farming started independently at different times in different parts of the world.

Early people in southwestern Asia, southeastern Asia, northern Africa, and South America all made the shift to farming without learning about it from elsewhere in the world. In each part of the world, word of farming passed from one person to another.

The shift to farming did not happen suddenly either. The change from a hunting-and gathering society to a farming society took place over a long period of time. Animals remained an important resource. Some societies that farmed also continued to hunt. At the same time, people began to domesticate some animals. Dogs had long been tamed and used for hunting. Now people began to domesticate wild sheep and goats as well. These newly domesticated animals provided a ready supply of meat, milk, and wool. Some early people came to depend less on raising crops and more on raising livestock. The term livestock refers to domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Some of the early people who cared for livestock were nomads, people with no settled home. They moved from place to place with their herds to find pasture and water. Like hunting-and-gathering nomads, those who herded livestock did not build year-round settlements. Instead, they lived in temporary shelters and traveled in bands.

In settled societies herders and farmers grew to depend on one another. Each raised something that the other did not. Together they worked to supply their society with important resources.

Not all people took up a new way of life as farmers or herders. Some went on hunting and gathering their food. Even today, a few small groups of people still meet their needs by hunting and gathering. These groups live much the same way as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

What major change took place in the way early people got their food supply?

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