Anthropological Effects Of The Rise Of Agriculture

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In this unit’s text, we learned about modernization of society and how agriculture permitted nomadic hunt-and-gather groups to become stabilized and centralized in one location. The text and supporting video clips introduced both positive and negative anthropological effects of the rise of agriculture. Three positive outcomes include stabilization, improved nutrition, and food surplus. For each of these positive instances, there is an alternate and negative impact as well: habitat destruction, feast and famine cycles, and health concerns. This essay will briefly expound on each positive outcome and its counterpart, and will relate the sustainable agrarian achievements of the people of the Gamo Highlands to these effects.

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Without the rise of agriculture, numerous societies may not have been able to feed their people, and therefore may have died out before reaching modern times. The rise of agriculture not only increased the life expectancy of societies, it also increased the volume of food produced, necessitating the development of food storage.

When societies began farming, food surpluses were often developed. This caused an urgency to develop proper food storage so food could be kept until needed. These surpluses meant that societies would always hold enough food to feed everyone, so that no one would starve or be forced to skip meals. With proper food storage, food could be kept longer than it had been until this point. Again, though, for each of these positive results of agriculture there is a negative one to counterbalance it.

The first negative ramification of agriculture to be examined is habitat destruction. While societies were able to stay in one place in order to cultivate the land, as these groups grew, there was also an increase in the amount of land necessary to produce enough food to feed everyone. In order to acquire the amount of land needed for farming, other parts of the surrounding habitat were destroyed. In some cases, this meant demolishing wooded areas to use lumber to build shelter, or just clearing out the trees—and the animals and other plants that relied upon them for survival—in order to gain

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