ChAPTER 2 -- Part 4: The Rise of Civilization in the Middle
New Stone Age humans had additional sources of meat and milk from domesticated animals.
The materials from which clothes, containers, shelters, and crude boats could be made were greatly expanded by the use of animal hides and wool.
The horns and bones of animals could be used.
When stone tools and weapons were replaced by metal ones, most Neolithic peoples made little use of animal power for farming, transportation, or travel.
People in the north and south use tamed reindeer and camels to pull sleds.
Neolithic peoples used domesticated herd animals as a steady source of manure to enrich the soil and improve the yield of the crops that were gradually becoming the basis of their livelihood.
In the same era as sed entary agriculture was being developed, groups of humans moved into the grassland of central Asia and the Middle East, where they bred and tended herds of cattle, sheep, and goats.
They were provided with a steady supply of meat and milk, their staple foods, as well as hides for clothing and housing and bones that could be fashioned into tools and weapons.
In some cases, pastoral peoples were able to control larger herds of domesticated animals and hunt wild animals, such as bison and deer, in order to expand their food supply.
In the early stages of pastoralism and the domestication of ani mals, contact with humans increased the incidence of disease for all of the species involved.
According to experts, up to 80% of human diseases came from ani mals.
Improvements in food supply and mobility made the tradeoff worthwhile, but agricultural societies and pastoral societies were also saddled with new kinds of problems.
Many bands stayed with long-tested subsistence societies because of the greater labor involved in cultivating and the fact that it did not greatly improve living standards.
Through most of the Neolithic Age, sedentary agricultural communities coexisted with more numerous bands of hunters and gatherers.
After sedentary agriculture became the basis for the majority of humans, hunters and gatherers held out in many areas of the globe.
The nomadic herding way of life has thrived in areas that have been domesticated, such as central Asia, the Middle East, the Sudanic belt south of the Sahara desert in Africa, and the animal herds that feed on the natural savanna zone of east and south Africa.
The regions environment is typically more popu than dense or large populations, but they have produced hardy and independent populations.
The military skills needed to challenge more heavily populated societies have been developed by nomadic people.
Horse-riding nomads who herded sheep or cattle have destroyed powerful kingdoms and laid the foundations for vast empires.
The rise of Islamic civilization was influenced by the camel nomads of Arabia.
Some of the most formidable preindustrial military organizations were produced by the cattle-herding peoples of central, east, and south Africa.
herding nomads and agricultural peoples have been a theme in world history since about 500 years ago.
Those who adopted agriculture gained a stable base for survival.
They gave their production techniques to other people.
Map 1.2 shows the spread of key crops.
oats and rye were added later in Europe, where these crops spread northward.
From Egypt, the culti vation of grain crops and fibers, such as cotton used for clothing, spread to peoples along the Nile in the interior of Africa, along the north African coast, and across the vast savanna zone south of the Sahara desert.
During the Neolithic Age, a millet-based agricultural system was used along the Yellow River basin.
In the last millennium, it spread from this core region.
The rice revolution began in main land southeast Asia before 5000 b.c.e.
In the Americas, systems based on maize, manioc, and sweet potatoes arose.
Agriculture has spread in ways similar to human populations, but from a Middle Eastern epicenter.
Columbus's voyage in the late-15th century brought together the civilizations of the Americas and Afro-Euroasia, and in some cases, a wide range of staple crops were only known in some parts of the world.
All the inhabited continents except Australia had different patterns of agricultural production, which was spread to nearly all the regions of the globe.
Humans began to change the environments in which they lived with the development of agriculture.
A growing portion of humans became sedentary farmers who cleared the lands around their settlements and took care of the animals that grazed on them.
The growing size and number of settlements showed the presence of humans.
These were found in areas where humans had been for a long time and in new areas where farming allowed them to settle.
The Neolithic Age saw a leap in human population due to the increase in the number of sedentary farmers.
Between 5 and 8 million humans had fluc tuated for tens of thousands of years before agriculture was developed.
After four or five millennia of farming, their numbers had risen to 60 or 70 million.
Hunting-and-gathering bands continued to fight and trade with sedentary peoples in the zones between cultivated areas.
The areas devoted to pastoralism became even more important.
Villages and cultivated fields became the main features of human habitation over the globe.
One of the great turning points in human history was the surge in invention and social complexity in the Neolithic Age.
Increased reliance on sedentary cultivation led to the development of a wide variety of agricultural tools, such as digging sticks used to break up the soil, axes to clear forested areas, and the plow.
Seed selection, planting, fertilization, and weeding techniques improved over time.
By the end of the Neolithic Age, human societies in several areas had come up with ways to store and re- channel river water.
Humans' ability to remake their environment was one of the major advances made by the water storage and control canals.