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Article  Who were the first farmers?

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EXCERPTS: Some of the earliest evidence for farming comes from the Fertile Crescent, a region roughly covering where Iraq, Syria and Israel are today.

Although it's relatively dry now, the region was once well-watered by two major rivers, and some of the first traces of farming were found in Tell Abu Hureyra in northern Syria, which about 11,700 years ago was a village on the banks of the Euphrates River. Scientists have found signs rye was cultivated there at that time, and that it was deliberately ground into flour with large stones.

[...] Following the development of crop farming, domestic animals like sheep, goats and pigs soon became a feature of settled farming life.

[...] goats and sheep were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent about 10,500 years ago. ... first, people in settlements captured wild lambs and kids seasonally and raised them for slaughter; second, residents did limited breeding with these animals while continuing to capture wild young; and third, large-scale herding with reproducing captive animals took place, with adult animals being harvested for the settlement.

Like the domesticated varieties of wild plants, these animals were more suited to farming than wilder animals like gazelles, which were also abundant in the region at the time.

[...] Researchers once theorized that farming started in the Fertile Crescent and spread from there to neighboring regions. But that isn't now thought to be the case... Instead, experts now think that farming was developed independently in different places at different times — in western Asia about 11,700 years ago, in eastern Asia up to 9,000 years ago, and in the Americas up to 10,000 years ago... (MORE - missing details)

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