By Melinda A. Zeder, Daniel G. Bradley, Eve Emshwiller, Bruce D. Smith
Agriculture is the lever with which people reworked the earth during the last 10,000 years and created new types of plant and animal species that experience eternally altered the face of the planet. within the final decade, major technological and methodological advances in either molecular biology and archaeology have revolutionized the learn of plant and animal domestication and are reshaping our figuring out of the transition from foraging to farming, one of many significant turning issues in human background. This groundbreaking quantity for the 1st time brings jointly prime archaeologists and biologists engaged on the domestication of either vegetation and animals to contemplate a wide selection of archaeological and genetic ways to tracing the beginning and dispersal of domesticates. It offers a finished evaluation of the state-of-the-art during this quick altering box in addition to experiences of modern findings on particular crop and farm animals species within the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa. providing a distinct worldwide viewpoint, it explores universal demanding situations and strength avenues for destiny growth in documenting domestication.
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Additional resources for Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms
2006. Phytolith analysis in archaeology and environmental history. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Piperno, D. R. and D. M. Pearsall. 1998. The origins of agriculture in the lowland Neotropics. New York: Academic Press. Piperno, D. R. and K. E. Stothert. 2003. Phytolith evidence for Early Holocene Cucurbita. Domestication in Southwest Ecuador. Science 299: 1054–1057. Piperno, D. , M. B. Bush, and P. A. Colinvaux. 1991. Paleoecological perspectives on human adaptation in Central Panama. II. The Holocene.
Fortunately for researchers interested in identifying early domesticated root crops in the archaeological record, the individual starch grains making up the underground organs produced by present-day domesticated crop plants have been found not only to differ in terms of morphology, and often in size, from starch grains produced by related wild taxa, but also to exhibit morphology that is diagnostic at the species level (Chapter 5). As a result, it is now possible to identify starch grains in archaeological contexts that provide direct archaeological evidence of morphological changes associated with domestication for a number of different important root crops.
Colledge, for example (1998), has shown that a distinctive suite of weedy species that is commonly present in modern agricultural fields in the Near East also appears in archaeobotanical assemblages from sites in the region that predate any compelling morphological markers of domesticated crop plants. She offers a strong argument that the appearance of this group of invasive weeds provides good evidence of very early human preparation of cultivated fields, and of their subsequent incidental harvesting along with cultivated crop plants.