Researchers say they have found evidence that supports the idea that the emergence of agriculture in prehistory took much longer than originally thought.
Until recently researchers say the story of the origin of agriculture was one of a relatively sudden appearance of plant cultivation in the Near East around 10,000 years ago, spreading quickly into Europe and dovetailing conveniently with ideas about how quickly language and population genes spread from the Near East to Europe. Initially, genetics appeared to support this idea but now there are questions about the evidence underpinning that model
A team led by Dr Robin Allaby from the University of Warwick's plant research arm, Warwick HRI, have developed a new mathematical model that shows how plant agriculture actually began much earlier than first thought, well before the Younger Dryas (the last "big freeze" with glacial conditions in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere). It also shows that useful gene types could have actually taken thousands of years to become stable.