The Transition to Food Production

  • Bruce D. Smith

For more than a million years our distant ancestors were hunter–gatherers, relying exclusively on gathering wild plants and hunting wild animals for their food. Then, over a span of only five millennia, from 10,000 to 5000 years ago, dramatic changes took place in this longstanding way of life, as many human societies in different parts of the world domesticated a variety of plants and animals. This initial creation of domesticates, and the associated transition from food procurement to food production, marks a major turning point in the history of the earth and our species. For it is these early domesticates, and the agricultural economies subsequently based on them, that formed the lever with which human societies have relentlessly transformed the earth and its terrestrial ecosystems.


Food Production Archaeological Record Wild Barley Temporal Context Wild Progenitor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce D. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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