The scientists that studied the DNA characteristics of the early farmers reached the conclusion that they had different types of genes that show their diverse origins.
The research included analysis of ancient skeletons of early human farmers, as scientists hoped to discover the exact origins of agriculture and how it had been spreading around the world starting with Neolithic.
During the Mesolithic, humans were only hunter-gatherers and had a nomadic lifestyle. The more stable communities appeared around 9,000 BC when some of the ancient people made the first attempts at agriculture. The moment marks the beginning of the Neolithic Era, just before the metal tools became widespread.
The Fertile Crescent designed the area where the first farmers started to cultivate wheat and other grains. In time, the communities explored different plants and began to tame animals.
The theories so far had been that the Neolithic farmers originated from a single location, and then spread their knowledge across Europe and Asia.
Two Groups of Early Farmers
The new study shows that in fact, there were two different groups of early farmers in the Fertile Crescent.
In the eastern part, the ancient farmers had a genome resembling modern people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. The group was particularly close to Iranian Zoroastrians, an ethnic group from Asia that guarded their traditions and religion throughout the ages.
In the western region of the Fertile Crescent, the farmers resembled more the people who are now living on the Sardinia Island in Italy.
This division between the east and west population must have taken place between 46,000 and 77,000 years ago.
The authors suggest that, even though they all lived in approximately the same area, their communities were isolated from each other as their DNA is significantly different.
The Importance of Agriculture
Farming started to spread in Turkey and then into Europe. Some hunter-gatherer populations from the north of the continent did not easily accept the new lifestyle.
Even if the farming must not have been very efficient at that time, the ancient people seemed to have found enough reasons to adopt it.
The apparition of agriculture signals a crucial moment in the life of humankind. Cities and permanent settlements could not have been possible without people acknowledging the benefits of farming.
The evolution of small and disparate communities into towns and cities led to new social concepts such as class hierarchy, property, and trade.
Later, ancient strategists connected agriculture with military power, as the lengths of the crop fields determined the dimension and the endurance of the army.
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