Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prehistoric human populations prospered before the agricultural boom, research suggests

Date:
October 18, 2012
Source:
Nature Publishing Group
Summary:
Researchers have found major prehistoric human population expansions may have begun before the Neolithic period, which probably led to the introduction of agriculture.

Traditional rice farming.
Credit: anankkml / Fotolia

Researchers from China's Fudan University have found major prehistoric human population expansions may have begun before the Neolithic period, which probably led to the introduction of agriculture.

Major prehistoric human population expansions in three continents may have begun before the Neolithic period -- around 15-11,000 years ago in Africa, from around 13,000 years ago in Europe and around 12-8,000 years ago in the Americas.

The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

The development of agriculture facilitated extensive human population growths and activities, but whether these major expansions began before or after the Neolithic era, a period during which humans started to grow crops and domesticate animals, remains controversial. Agriculture is thought to have first developed in the Fertile Crescent of West Asia around 12-11,000 years ago, and was then developed independently over the next few thousand years in other regions.

To compare global patterns of population growth, Li Jin and colleagues analyzed over 900 mitochrondrial genomes generated by the 1000 Genomes Project, representing 11 populations in Africa, Europe and the Americas. They identified the expansion lineages and were able to reconstruct the historical demographical variations. On all three continents, most of the major lineages coalesced before the first appearance of agriculture.

The data imply that major population expansions took place after the Last Glacial Maximum (the peak of the last ice age) but before the Neolithic period. The authors suggest that the milder climate after the Last Glacial Maximum may have offered a more amiable environment and may have been an important factor in prehistoric human expansions. The increase in population size was probably one of the driving forces that led to the introduction of agriculture, turning it from a supplementary food source to the primary one.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Nature Publishing Group. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hong-Xiang Zheng, Shi Yan, Zhen-Dong Qin, Li Jin. MtDNA analysis of global populations support that major population expansions began before Neolithic Time. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep00745

Cite This Page:

Nature Publishing Group. "Prehistoric human populations prospered before the agricultural boom, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018130834.htm>.
Nature Publishing Group. (2012, October 18). Prehistoric human populations prospered before the agricultural boom, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018130834.htm
Nature Publishing Group. "Prehistoric human populations prospered before the agricultural boom, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018130834.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise, held in custody by the Russian authorities since September last year, has departed the Russian city of Murmansk en route for its home port of Amsterdam. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins