Although modern man had developed long before the migration from Africa began ∼ 55,000 years ago, no agricultural societies developed until about ∼ 10,000 years ago. But in the next 5000 years, agricultures developed in several unrelated regions of the world. It was not a chance occurrence that new agricultures independently appeared in the same 5000 years. The question is what inhibited agriculture worldwide for 44,000 years and what changed ∼ 10,000 years ago? We suggest that a major factor influencing the development of agricultural societies was climate stability. From the experience of several independent cultures, we estimate that the development of agriculture needed about 2000 years of climate free from significant climate variations on time scales of a few centuries.
Part of the book: Climate Change and Agriculture