Neanderthals, Bandits and FarmersNeanderthals, Bandits and Farmers: How Agriculture Really Began is a book by Colin Tudge. This book is one of four long essays in a new series by respected contemporary Darwinian thinkers. ISBN 0297842587.
In Neanderthals Bandits and Farmers Colin Tudge offers an explanation for the beginning of the population explosion. Tudge explains that farming was not suddenly invented 10,000 years ago, but had existed as what he called proto-farming or hobby farming for at least 30,000 years earlier. What happened 10,000 years ago in the fertile crescent was the raising of sea level at the end of the ice age over a relatively short peiod of time. This forced a population who were primarily hunter gatherers to leave a rich prey region and to move inland. The new area was less able to support these immigrants as hunter gatherers, and they were forced to increase they labors to extend their use of farming in order to to maintain their population. The following quote gives Tudge's explanation for what happened next.
"Hunter gatherers take from their environment only what their envionment happens to produce; and if they take too much, the desirable prey species collapse. [...] But the whole point of agriculture is to manipulate the environment so as to increase the amouint of food that it will provide. [...] And if you increase the food supply, you can increase your own population. But then, of course, the farmers find themselves in a vicious spiral. The more they farm, the more their population rises and the more they are obliged to farm, because only by faming can they feed the extra mouths."