Equally, without humans the great cereal grains— wheat, barley, rice, maize—would have remained limited in range and distribution, just grasses among the roughly seven thousand species in the family Gramineae.Perhaps the greatest environmental shift brought about by grains is the shift of the dominant form of vegetation on the planet from trees to grasses.Tags: Csr DissertationSmart Thinking Essay ReviewSingle Parent Household EssaysField Of Dreams ThesisInstant Term PapersLiterary Essay Writing PromptsFor Writing An Inive SpeechCreative Thinking And Problem Solving
These are considered clear evidence of cultivation and selection away from the wild grain.
By 7000 BCE modern bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is also found.
The advantages of grains as foodstuffs have profoundly altered human culture.
Grains, although not perfect foods, do contain large amounts of carbohydrates and small but important amounts of proteins (although certain proteins such as lysine are not available in the major grains and must be obtained from other sources).
However, by about 8000 BCE seeds, altered from the wild strain by selection for tougher rachis, or central stem, (reducing shattering of the ear when gathering) and plumper grains, of emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp.
dicoccum), einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum), and barley (Hordeum vulgare) turn up in early Neolithic sites such as Jericho, Tell Aswad, and Cafer Hoyuk.Bruising or grinding could loosen and remove part of the hull, but it was application of heat, in “parching” or roasting, that was most effective in removing the hull and making the nutritious kernel available.After grains were in cultivation, selection toward “naked” seeded varieties made grains more readily usable.Without cereal grains the human population would likely have remained small—it is estimated to have been less than 4 million in 10,000 BCE—just one species in a widely varied global fauna, instead of becoming the nearly 6.8 billion who in the twenty-first century pervade the environment of the Earth.More than three-quarters of human food today comes from cereal grains, either directly or indirectly as animal feed (one-third of the world’s output of cereal grains is used as animal feed).Some archeologists have suggested that the mortars and pestles found in sites of the Natufian culture in the Fertile Crescent (the area from the southeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea around the Syrian Desert north of the Arabian Peninsula to the Persian Gulf) from about 10,000 BCE are evidence that people there were gathering and using wild grains.However, because mortars and pestles can be used for grinding many other things than grains, it is better to see the first definite evidence of grain use as being about 9000 BCE, the date of the first archeological discoveries of carbonized grain in human-use contexts.As the success of cultivation and population grew, farmers looked to artificially expand the range suitable for grains, thus starting the process of environmental alteration to suit grains that has continued from that time on.Moving north required clearing the forest because grains do not thrive in shade.Collective organization would be required both to put irrigation in place and to allocate and protect possession of the irrigated fields.The wild grains were not a major food of early humans because the seeds, over their desirable starch and protein, have an indigestible hull.