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The Mark Of Agriculture Essay

1219 words - 5 pages

There have been several major revolutions throughout human history. V. Gordon Childe explains them as; The Neolithic Revolution, The Urban Revolution and The Industrial Revolution. (Harris 1994) These revolutions mark monumental periods in human history. Each thought to be a tremendous benefit to the survival of humankind. However, when all of the evidence is taken into account, especially regarding the Neolithic revolution, it would appear that there is significant detriment to the survival of the human race. The Neolithic, the first of the revolutions, which is marked by the advent of agriculture, may in fact be the pivotal point of the human health decline.
Before agriculture, human populations relied heavily on the foods that they found, scavenged or hunted in their area of occupation. (Higman 2011) This form of subsistence generally led to a nutritionally balanced diet. Their diets did, on occasion, become lacking of certain nutrients because some food sources are only available seasonally. (Duncan and Scott 2004, Ingold 2002, Jochim 2012) The shift to agriculture led to substantial changes not only in subsistence but also in all other aspects of life. Agriculturalists worked harder; spending most of their day in the fields cultivating the land. This made a nomadic lifestyle, like most hunter—gatherers were accustomed to, virtually impossible. By becoming sedentary populations, humans have exposed themselves to higher instances of viruses, bacteria and parasitic diseases typically carried by the homo genus. (Stein 2010) When agriculture took hold, approximately 10,000 years ago, there was a massive shift to high carbohydrate based subsistence. Higher carbohydrate intakes combined with the added stresses of malnutrition, disease and intensive labor left a substantial impact on human populations when a comparison is made of hunter-gatherer populations to agriculturalists.
The typical diet of a hunter—gatherer varied depending on their global location. Most commonly their diets consisted of tubers and other root vegetables, nuts, fruits, vegetables, berries, insects and a small amount of meat. Because the hunter-gatherer diet was so varied it was also dense in vitamins and minerals, therefore, making it less likely for them to have the nutritional deficiencies and other diseases, related to food consumption or the lack thereof. Hunter—gatherers also did not have to work as hard for their food. Because of the division of labor among hunter gatherers women did most of the gathering. They would spend only a few hours a day gathering the amount of food necessary to feed their family and many times they had enough to share among others in their band. Men generally did the hunting and because game can be harder to locate than the foods that are immobile. At times men would leave to hunt for several days at a time with no guarantee that they would come back with a kill. This is why they did not always have meat in their diets; though when they...

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