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The Neolithic Revolution. The appearance of agriculture and pastoralism (maybe the single most important change in history).

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The Neolithic Revolution

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the neolithic revolution

The Neolithic Revolution

The appearance of agriculture and pastoralism

(maybe the single most important change in history)


The origins of agriculture and domestic animals. The development of agriculture and the domestication of animals took place independently in different parts of the world, but the Near East, Mesoamerica, southeast Asia, and China were among the first and most significant regions.

key things to remember
Key things to remember:
  • The Neolithic revolution didn’t happen abruptly, but emerged gradually as a result of trial and error
  • It first appeared in a few places, not everywhere
  • Most people didn’t go through it at first, and some

still haven’t

  • On the whole, agriculture was the big winner over

pastoralism and hunting and gathering

the key was domestication
The key was domestication
  • Domestication is not taming
    • Taming is accustomizing an animal to the

presence of humans (many animals

have been tamed but not domesticated)

    • Domesticating is changing a plant or animal

on the biological level (most plants

and animals have never been domesticated)

the process of domestication
The process of domestication
  • Notice a desirable trait in a species
  • Separate members of the species from nature
  • Selective breeding (artificial selection)
  • Exaggerate and stabilize desirable trait(s)
  • Change on the biological level
domesticated plants
Domesticated Plants

There are about 200,000 wild species

12 domesticated plants account for 80% of

the tonnage of all crops:

Cereals: wheat, corn, barley, rice, sorghum

Pulses: soybeans

Tubers: potato, manioc, sweet potato

Sugar: sugar cane, beet sugar

Fruit: banana

large terrestrial domesticates
Large Terrestrial Domesticates

TheMajor Five:

1. Sheep

2. Cow

3. Goat

4. Pig

5. Horse

The Minor Nine:

6. Arabian Camel 11. Water Buffalo

7. Bactrian Camel 12. Yak

8. Llama and Alpaca 13. Bali Cattle

9. Donkey 14. Mithan

10. Reindeer

consequences of the neolithic revolution
Consequences of the Neolithic Revolution
  • Agriculture led to a sedentary lifestyle

Pastoralism led to a nomadic lifestyle

  • Agriculturalists often used domesticated animals
  • New social institutions emerged:
    • Neolithic villages
    • Pastoralist clan-tribes
  • Agriculture led to enormous productivity increases
  • Agriculture led to significant population increase and density
  • Specialization of technology and skills developed
dangers of the neolithic revolution
Dangers of the Neolithic Revolution
  • The vulnerability of monoculture
  • Soil destruction
  • Disease
  • The nomad-sedentary conflict
  • Social disruption