The Agricultural Revolution

Lesson 1, Topic 1
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The Agricultural Revolution

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Directions: Before you start, listen to part of a talk in a world history class.

*Vocabulary is sometimes provided in written form when it may be unfamiliar to the student, but essential for understanding the lecture


The Agricultural Revolution - Transcript

Most scholars agree that the Ice Age played a fundamental role in the rise of agriculture. It was impossible during the much colder and often ice-covered period of the Pleistocene, but inevitable during the Holocene thawing. Only 4,000 years before the origins of agriculture, the planting of anything would have been extremely difficult. Not only were today’s fertile farmlands of Spain or the North American Great Plains covered in ice but also other areas around the world could not depend on constant temperatures or rainfall from year to year. Pleistocene foragers had to be flexible.

The warming trend of the Holocene, by contrast, resulted in consistent rainfall amounts and more predictable temperatures. This alteration in habitat could have led to the extinction of megafauna, like mammoths. In the Pleistocene age, humans hunted these large beasts and relied on them for food. Therefore, as animal populations declined, humans were further encouraged to plant and cultivate seeds in newly-thawed soil.