Chapter Summary

Focus of the chapter:

  • Human agricultural revolution
  • Decrease in skull and jaw size
  • Increase in infectious illnesses
  • Changes in skeletal structure resulting from changes in activity patterns

The shift from hunting and gathering to the domestication of plants and animals took place in several independent centers around the world approximately 10,000 yBP. Humans exploited what was native to each area, domesticating different plants and animals in different regions.

The resulting shift to concentrated food resources allowed human population growth, resulting in increased demands on the environment. The costs associated with domestication are environmental degradation and overuse as increasing human numbers pressure the earth’s carrying capacity. However, another result of domestication and population growth was the development of complex technologies and societies.

Human physical structure has changed with farming; face and jaw size have decreased as a response to a softer diet. Tooth size has not decreased as rapidly as the face and jaw, leading to dental problems in modern populations. Body size has decreased, becoming overall more gracile and shorter in stature.