Niche Construction and Theory of Agricultural Origins. Case studies in punctuated equilibrium
In contemporary archaeological and anthropological research, the domestication of plants and animals in the Near East during the Early Holocene is alternatively interpreted as an overall slow and gradual, or as a rapid process. The present reanalysis of published archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data shows that the wild-domesticate-transition (WDT) was indeed initially slow (millennial scale), but terminated at 10.2 ± 0.2 ka cal BP with an abrupt switch to herding and agriculture. The abruptness of WDT can be understood as due to amplification under positive feedback conditions (resonance) of some few biological and social factors, primarily the short and long- distance transport of domesticates, in conjunction with a synchronous, abrupt climatic switch to higher precipitation.
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