Was Agriculture Impossible during the Pleistocene but Mandatory during the Holocene? A Climate Change Hypothesis

@article{Richerson2001WasAI,
  title={Was Agriculture Impossible during the Pleistocene but Mandatory during the Holocene? A Climate Change Hypothesis},
  author={Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd and Robert L Bettinger},
  journal={American Antiquity},
  year={2001},
  volume={66},
  pages={387 - 411}
}
Several independent trajectories of subsistence intensification, often leading to agriculture, began during the Holocene. No plant-rich intensifications are known from the Pleistocene, even from the late Pleistocene when human populations were otherwise quite sophisticated. Recent data from ice and ocean-core climate proxies show that last glacial climates were extremely hostile to agriculture—dry, low in atmospheric CO2, and extremely variable on quite short time scales. We hypothesize that… 
Late Pleistocene and early Holocene climate and the beginnings of cultivation in northern Syria
Climate change has been interpreted as a contributing factor to the emergence of agriculture in the Near East. We examine how climate change may have affected the availability of food plants and
Persistent tropical foraging in the highlands of terminal Pleistocene/Holocene New Guinea
TLDR
The results show that tropical highland forest and open mosaics, and the human subsistence focused on these environments, remained stable throughout the period in which agriculture emerged at nearby Kuk Swamp, suggesting the persistence of tropical forest foraging among highland New Guinea groups and highlighting that agriculture in the region was not adopted as a unilinear or dramatic, forced event.
Human foraging responses to climate change
This study explores prehistoric human subsistence adaptations within the context of changing marine and terrestrial environments on the tiny Island of Kisar, beginning during the Pleistocene-Holocene
The transition to agriculture in northwestern China
Abstract Agriculture can evolve independently only where intensive hunter-gatherer plant use has previously evolved, and both developments are limited by two major evolutionary constraints: climatic
Variation in Late Quaternary central Asian climates and the nature of human response
Abstract Long-term climate cycles related to gradual shifts in solar insolation, as well as shorter-term shifts in volatility and equability, are important components of cultural evolution. However,
Holocene carbon emissions as a result of anthropogenic land cover change
Humans have altered the Earth’s land surface since the Paleolithic mainly by clearing woody vegetation first to improve hunting and gathering opportunities, and later to provide agricultural
A promethean legacy: late quaternary vegetation history of Southern Georgia, Caucasus
This dissertation presents new data on the vegetation history of the Caucasus, a region of high biodiversity and ancient human occupation. The aim of the study is to determine the causes of
Changes in the exploitation dynamics of small terrestrial vertebrates and fish during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition in the SW Iberian Peninsula: A review
The Pleistocene–Holocene transition c. 11.5 ka cal. BP is associated with dramatic climatic changes. These events led to fundamental shifts in landscape and have, therefore, been seen as responsible
A time to plant
TLDR
The climatic changes at the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary (reduced climate variability, and increased rainfall and atmospheric CO2) are what made previously impossible agricultural activities possible, and it is concluded that each local historical sequence is a natural experiment in cultural evolution.
Late Pleistocene intensification technologies in Northern China
Intensification technologies used in late Pleistocene northern China include microblades, milling stones and pottery, all of which have been implicated in development of agriculture in northern
...
1
2
3
4
5
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 251 REFERENCES
The Pleistocene to Holocene Transition and Human Economy in Southwest Asia: The Impact of the Younger Dryas
We present new evidence suggesting that the Late Glacial worldwide episode of cooling known as the Younger Dryas (ca. 11,000-10,000 B.P.) had a significant impact on climate, vegetation, and human
Correlation between Arabian Sea and Greenland climate oscillations of the past 110,000 years
Palaeoclimate studies have revealed the general high-frequency instability of Late Pleistocene climate—for example, the so-called Dansgaard–Oeschger and Heinrich events—on timescales of a few
Contrasting atmospheric and climate dynamics of the last-glacial and Holocene periods
OUR present climate is relatively stable compared to that of the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago. Palaeoclimate records obtained from ice cores1,2 and deep-sea sediment cores3 for the
Correlation between Vegetation in Southwestern Africa and Oceanic Upwelling in the Past 21,000 Years
Dinoflagellate cyst and pollen records from marine sediments off the southwestern African coast reveal three major aridification periods since the last glaciation and an environmental correlation
Last hunters - first farmers : new perspectives on the prehistoric transition to agriculture
During virtually the entire four-million-year history of our habitation on this planet, humans have been hunters and gatherers, dependent for nourishment on the availability of wild plants and
The antiquity of seedgrinding in arid Australia
Long term cultural stability in the Australian arid zone has been unduly emphasised by prehistorians. One response of human populations to the alternating periods of drier and wetter conditions was
Evidence for general instability of past climate from a 250-kyr ice-core record
RECENT results1,2 from two ice cores drilled in central Greenland have revealed large, abrupt climate changes of at least regional extent during the late stages of the last glaciation, suggesting
Rapid environmental changes in southern Europe during the last glacial period
Oxygen-isotope records from Greenland ice cores, indicate numerous rapid climate fluctuations during the last glacial period. North Atlantic marine sediment cores show comparable variability in sea
Late Quaternary vegetational and climate dynamics in northeastern Brazil, inferences from marine core GeoB 3104-1
Abstract Late Quaternary paleoenvironments from northeastern (NE) Brazil have been studied by pollen analysis of marine sediment. The studied core GeoB 3104-1 (3°40′ S, 37°43′ W, 767 m b.s.l.) from
Was low atmospheric CO2 during the Pleistocene a limiting factor for the origin of agriculture
  • R. Sage
  • Biology, Environmental Science
  • 1995
TLDR
The results indicate that increases in productivity following the late Pleistocene rise in CO2 may have been substantial enough to have affected human subsistence patterns in ways that promoted the development of agriculture.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...