Effects of Agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution

Agriculture was born in the Middle East in 12,000 BCE (and elsewhere independently around the world) during the Neolithic Revolution; it was a means of reliable sustenance that eliminated the necessity for hunting and gathering. Humans begin to form agricultural societies focused on the growth and breeding of plants and animals; the first cities emerge, and the human population dramatically increases. Cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs become popular farmed animals. A mutation for lactose tolerance becomes widespread as milk provides added nutrition (and a surer lifespan) for cow herders.

Were Neanderthals Religious?

Earliest recorded evidence of men deliberately disposing of their dead appears in 225,000 BCE. 5-15 Neanderthal bodies were dated to have been disposed during this time period in Pontnewydd Cave in Wales. Other instances of ritualistic “caching” of bodies during this time can be observed around Europe, like at la Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of the Bones”) at Atapuerca in Spain, where over 32 individuals were found at the bottom of a deep shaft. By about 100,000 BCE, this behavior advances to ceremonial burial, oftentimes with bodies being buried alongside goods. Disposal of the dead, according to researchers, could indicate an early religious practice.