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Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers - Tudge, Colin - Yale University Press
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Darwinism Today Series


Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers

How Agriculture Really Began

  • Colin Tudge
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Tradition has it that agriculture began in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago, that once people realized the advantages of farming, it spread rapidly to the furthest outposts of the world, and that this led to the Neolithic Revolution and the end of the hunting-gathering lifestyle. In this book Colin Tudge argues that agriculture in some form was in the repertoire of our ancestors for thousands of years before the Neolithic farming revolution: people did not suddenly invent agriculture and shout for joy but instead drifted or were forced into it over a long period. What we see in the Neolithic Revolution is not the beginning of agriculture, says Tudge, but the beginning of agriculture on a large scale, in one place, with refined tools.

Drawing on a wide range of evidence from fossil records to the Bible, Tudge offers a persuasive hypothesis about a puzzling epoch in our past. In so doing, he provides new insights into the Pleistocene overkill, the demise of the Neanderthals, the location of the biblical Eden, and much more.

Colin Tudge is research fellow of the Centre for Philosophy at the London School of Economics.

A selection of the Natural Science Book Club

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