Which came first…

14 01 2011

So I was laying in bed tonight, trying to fall asleep when my mind started wandering. I started pondering the advancements in agriculture (just to clarify, this is a true story cross my heart)… that we could evolve from hunters and gatherers to farmers and non-farmers. Once everyone participated in food collection or production, then a majority, and today only a handful feed the vast majority.

So then I started thinking about what it takes to feed all of humanity: plants and animals. But which came first? A similar quandary to “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” However, this one does indeed have an answer [please formulate a guess now].

No peaking!

The answer comes from the Encyclopedia Brittannica, 15th edition. According to this source, we apparently owe people of the Mesolithic Period our gratitude for attempting domestication as early as 9000 BC. So which came first the domestication of animals or plants? The answer: animals, some of the first animals to be domesticated included: dogs, goats, and possibly sheep. Primitive agriculture would not appear until the Neolithic period. It was during this time that many organisms were domesticated and developed.

What would come later? The Middle Ages provided us with the Easter’s mascot, the domesticated bunny. Other better-late-than-never examples of domestication include the sugar beet which became a sugar-yielding agricultural plant in the 19th century and even later mint in the 20th century.

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