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Waseem Khan Mr. Martinak AP World History 410-03 28 October 2012 Key Changes in Societies from Hunting and Gathering to Full-time Agriculture The first people on Earth were Paleolithic, meaning Old Stone Age in Greek. These people developed primitive stone tools, banded together in small tribes , gathered food (such as seafood, eggs, nuts and fruits) and hunted small wild animals while collecting the carcasses of other larger animals. This method of life persisted from the Homo erectus all the way to the Homo sapiens, when people finally developed specialized hunting tools for catching specific prey (for example fish nets, hooks, and harpoons).The end of the Ice Age provided a warmer, wetter and more stable climate that laid the foundation of the Agricultural Revolution. Gradually, some tribes started to practice a primitive form of farming known as forest gardening, where useful plants were recognized and preserved while other weeds and useless plants were extracted. They also corralled their prey and eventually learned to selectively breed the wild plants to produce a stable, domesticated crop. For example, the people bred crops to have more stable stems and larger edible parts while animals were domesticated to reproduce more and live outside of their normal habitat. Slowly, nomadic hunter-gatherers became permanent tillers of the land. The influence of agriculture diffused to other tribes who also adopted farming from the myriad of benefits. This dramatic shift in the lifestyle of subsistence, from hunting and gathering to farming, of the Paleolithic people inspired change in the health, social status, and skill capacity of the common people. First, farming created surplus in communities which helped increase the population but first degraded the environment and the relative health of early farmers. Hunter-gatherers always had an unreliable source of food, having to follow around their prey wherever it went. Farming provided a secured and a more reliable form of sustenance and so children were able to live up to adulthood and live longer lives. Additionally, their diet changed, allowing the people to vary in their daily food intake from the many fruits and vegetables they grew along with the meat of domesticated animals. Thousands of years of selective adaptation developed teosinte, a wild grass, into the whole cob of corn it is today. One geneticist has called this, arguably mans first, and perhaps his greatest, feat of genetic engineering.

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These small changes provided the nutrition people needed to survive longer and reproduce more. The carrying capacity of a community also increased because there was such a large surplus and more food can support more people. However, this came with a price as well. Farming degraded the environment, especially the soil to the point where nothing could grow. Grasslands and forests were also cleared of native vegetation to make room for agriculture. The first farmers also had a rough time, having to do more work than their hunter-gatherer counterparts resulting in decreased health. Diseases also spread more easily in both animals and humans as people lived closed together in sedentary communities. As time went on, people became better farmers and herders and developed the secondary products revolution. Suddenly, domesticated animals were used for their milk, wool and manure as well as guard dogs and ox plows. Trade also developed because of demand and supply. Suppose you had an overgrowth of a product that other people wanted, they would trade or barter with something you wanted and so this situation became one of the earliest forms of transactions. Trading also helped diffuse the idea of agriculture to other societies. Overall, farming destroyed the environment and caused the spread of diseases but ultimately improved the health, increased the population, and created the first forms of a market economy. In addition, farming surplus gave people more freedom to enjoy recreational activities as well as specialize in skilled jobs. Since everyone did not have to farm, people could enjoy their leisure time in artistic pursuits as well as sports. The close knit communities created a better form of communication and eventually people started recording events, such as Hieroglyphics in Egypt or Cuneiform in Mesopotamia. Eventually, people developed writing and wrote literature as well as historical texts. Sumerian priest texts date back up to 2600 B.C.E. Additionally, people developed architecture and art to contribute to their community. The atalhyk built mud brick houses in a honeycomb formation and walked around on the rooftops of buildings. Next, people could focus on religion and develop roles in the community specific to catering the needs of the gods. People weaved clothes and created pottery in honor of their gods. Certain cities had people become priests and priestesses to take care of the needs of the gods. Societies also improved technology such as metallurgy and societies cultivated medicinal herbs to help the sick. All though all these developments took a long time to develop, they were all possible because of the

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increase in leisure time and surplus of agriculture. The merits of society are products of agriculture itself and we can thank some of our greatest advances and comforts to agriculture. Finally, since everyone was not farming, a form of social stratification developed in the form of a government along with increase of cultural complexity. The discovery of agriculture led to a permanent settlement rather than a nomadic lifestyle, and meant that people did not have to move around their possessions and could build and create a home, community, and in some cases an empire. The agricultural revolution created a division of work and needed organization to decide who gets which job. This level of organization led to stratification where the farmers and slaves would be near the bottom, farmers and artisans would be in the middle, and priests, landowners, and chiefs would be near the top. This social inequality was created by the large amount of people who competed for similar jobs and resulted with some people better than others. Initially, chiefs didnt demand power but rather used charisma or divine rule to convince their subjects and got the respect and authority from their people. Additionally, the agricultural revolution led to a switch from a society where men and women were equal to a patriarchal society where men were more dominant. Women both hunted and gathered along with men and also created life, which was seen as superior at that time. However, with the advent of agriculture, only the males would need to work and the women would be pushed aside to take care of the children. Males took advantage of this situation and subjugated women to their benefit. In conclusion, people from the Paleolithic age who started off hunting and gathering made significant changes over time by switching to agriculture. The change was not immediate but gradually though the end of the last Ice Age and improvement of primitive agricultural techniques did people attain the surplus that kick started all the changes in society. Farming led to a more stable and relaxed way of life that led to the transformation of their daily lifestyle. These people not only improved their health, but also advanced technology and art while also resulting in inequality