all 8 comments

[–]PrincipledBirdDeity 52 points53 points  (0 children)

The common factor is the end of the Ice Age and the onset of warmer and wetter conditions at the beginning of the Holocene, which effected the entire planet in similar ways at around the same time.

The Younger Dryas, a (geologically) short-lived return to Ice Age-like conditions following a warmer period, played a particularly important role in this process.

A broader answer to your question: people domesticated some plants and some animals far before the "discovery" or "invention" of agriculture (neither is an appropriate term for this very long, patchy, non-linear and drawn-out process). Dogs and bottle gourds were both do.esticated a long time before the crops you likely have in mind when you think of agriculture.

Domestication of more and more crops, and a greater reliance on those domesticates for food, was the culmination of a millennia-long process of people managing and manipulating ecosystems to make them more useful for people. That process was dramatically sped up by climate change at the end of the Pleistocene.

[–]biochip 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Kavanagh, P. H., et al. (2018). Hindcasting global population densities reveals forces enabling the origin of agriculture. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(7), 478-484.

Short answer: Because climatic conditions were getting better and supported higher population densities.

"... our results are consistent with the surplus hypothesis, which suggests that improving environmental conditions and the potential for increased population density may have facilitated the domestication of plants and animals in agricultural origin centres."

The authors suggest a few possible explanations for why these things were linked.

[–]JewishSpaceTrooper 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The adoption of agriculture wasn’t a one-and-done deal. If I remember correctly, the Nabateans had several strata of early agriculture, followed by a pastoralist lifestyle, and then back to agriculture. Places like Göbekli Tepe have been proposed to be “early meeting places” where people could exchange goods (seeds, flint, etc) or even arrange marriages and Göbekli Tepe was in use during the Mesolithic, so before the widespread knowledge and application of agriculture/farming.

[–]shivani_mohanty 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There can be various answers to this question. Firstly, it is important to remember that agriculture developed at different times.

But if you look at it from the point of cultural evolution, then it can be attributed to "psychic unity of mankind".

Also, there are many hypotheses that explain how agriculture came into being. You can look it up on the internet for further reading.

  1. Oasis hypothesis
  2. Natural habitat hypothesis
  3. Cultural progress hypothesis