It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Why the Switch From Foraging to Farming?

page: 1
4

log in

join
share:

posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:11 PM
link   
Link to story


WASHINGTON -- 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.


So it seems (According to Samuel Bowles) that we humans while more successful at foraging just liked to hang together so took up farming as a means to keep everyone together?

Okay I can see how sharing tasks makes sense, many hands makes light work and all.. and you'd need many hands to protect your little farm from said foragers. But I'm not sure I agree with this fellow. seems to me if your already successful at one thing, where is the pressure to force change???




posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:15 PM
link   
farming seems more efficient for growing populations which is probably why humanity moved towards that opposed to continuing foraging. the social aspect also seems more efficient since humanity moved from small farming communities to larger communities to cities



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:21 PM
link   
reply to post by XelNaga
 


but another quote from the story reads


He concluded farming produced only about three-fifths of the food gained from foraging.


So they took a step backwards in their food production all for the sake of communal living....
Well maybe... but I bet you even cavemen had that "Bad Neighbour" who made them question if it was a good idea or not?



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:21 PM
link   
Maybe they just got tired of being Nomads? I know I would get sick of following my food from season to season.. and if I had the opportunity to stay in one place, live/eat comfortably then why not?



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:22 PM
link   
I think it was for convenience. It's easier to walk out of your door and pick an apple, than to trek miles hoping to find something.
We were already living in community groups, so a pure social aspect I cannot get behind 100%



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:24 PM
link   
I'm sure it also had to do with safety. Foraging poses more risk whereas farming keeps everyone home safe. Plus, I would imagine that farming created a currency for bartering and helped to develop social relations, all important for continued development and advancement. Plus, the medicinal value. Having all of your natural herbs growing close at hand is probably better when someone fell ill.

I understand your question though. Adaptation, to me, doesn't always make sense. For example, the fish that first came out of the ocean to walk on land -- why? Plenty of food in the ocean, plenty of oxygen....meanwhile land plants were sparse and the whole having to process oxygen from the air. Nobody has ever remarked about the sheer curiousity of fish -- so why make the first step? I am not trying to derail your thread, but to me a lot of the dots are not easily connected.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:29 PM
link   
1 + .6 - 1.6

Where they had one ear of corn when they relied on foraging they now had 1.6 ears of corn after farming. Only poor reasoning skills could interpret this as moving backwards.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:37 PM
link   
My money is on dogs


Dogs were domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago


Once we had domesticated the dog we had the means to protect our settlements and farms.
edit on 7/3/11 by Versa because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:52 PM
link   
reply to post by DaddyBare
 


When you are successful at foraging, you can also meet this Bad Neighbour and then you don't have the community to help you



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:57 PM
link   

Originally posted by DaddyBare
reply to post by XelNaga
 


but another quote from the story reads


He concluded farming produced only about three-fifths of the food gained from foraging.


So they took a step backwards in their food production all for the sake of communal living....
Well maybe... but I bet you even cavemen had that "Bad Neighbour" who made them question if it was a good idea or not?


I'm suspicious of the report. While farming may produce only 3/5ths of the food gained from foraging, that's not the whole story. I'd like to know, for instance, "3/5ths of food gained for... a day? Week? year?"

Foraging is a very unreliable way of getting food. You can go days without seeing a meat animal and during certain seasons, supplies of food (berries,nuts, grains, etc) are not available. Farming, while more labor intensive and no guarantee, is still a better way of producing for a large population, and with planned crops you can be certain that something is growing right next to your house at almost every time of the year.

Most early settlements did BOTH. Even Native Americans planted crops and tended orchards of nut trees and practiced burning off fields to encourage new plant growth (and more animals).

I'll have to go look at the research later, but this sounds like an awfully simplistic result.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 04:58 PM
link   
reply to post by DaddyBare
 


It is suggested in some places that the farming was taught by some other worldly being to make life easier for the earth dweller. There were other skills like the pottery making, masonry and many others that seemed to all suddenly appear at around the same time as farming. Humankind seems to undergo regular growth spurts. Genetic intervention is hypothesized.

There is also a suggestion that changes in climate enabled man to stay in one location longer since they did not have to outrun the harsh winters as transients.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 05:09 PM
link   

He concluded farming produced only about three-fifths of the food gained from foraging.


Logically, that just doesn't make any sense. As in, what would result in a larger harvest: grabbing random apples as you find them in the wild or planting an orchard? Planting an orchard, obviously. Hunting wild prey or cultivating a herd? Cultivating a herd, obviously.

It's more proactive in terms of production. Finding vs. producing. I'm curious as to how he came to that conclusion.

Hunting and gathering might work for small individual family units but farming makes more sense as communities and populations grow.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 06:11 PM
link   
About the 3/5ths comment...

Could it possibly mean...initially?

In other words, crops take time to grow, harvest, store, etc. It probably took 3 - 5 years (guesstimate) for them to develop a method that worked and a plan to keep it bountiful.

However, in the time spent growing, less time was spent foraging and their end results were 3/5ths less until said plans were in order. I think the point is that why did they keep honing their skills and working to develop it into a life plan if initially their results were 3/5ths less than they were getting foraging. I believe the article is assuming they had no way of knowing that their efforts would later prove to be more plentiful.

Just my opinion since, as written, it doesn't add up.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 08:32 PM
link   
Seriously, I would say it was due to an increase in life span. Foraging is for the young.



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 08:56 PM
link   
population or growth in certain areas would have contributed more to a farming side of things, though the hunter gatherer way of life did not just end, it is still alive and being practiced in many parts of the world even today, what cannot be farmed had to be sought by other means such as the foraging and hunting of the different food types, so would have still co-existed along with base communities where farming made it's mark.
edit on 7-3-2011 by redgy because: edited text



posted on Mar, 7 2011 @ 09:14 PM
link   
This is really sad but there is a show in the UK called Meerkat Manor. It is about meerkats but does show the problem with a hunter gatherer way of life.

Cultured crops and animals can be defended far more easily. You only have to plant once or twice per year you have more time to breed. Furthermore, because you only need plant and sow once or twice a year you have time to look at abstracts, like better weapons.



new topics

top topics



 
4

log in

join