Study Says "Agricultural Revolution" May Not Have Been So Revolutionary For Human Population Growth

Feb 5, 2016

University of Wyoming students excavate a prehistoric rock shelter in the Big Horn Mountains of northern Wyoming during the summer of 2015.
Credit UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

Around 12,000 years ago, hunter gatherers began to settle in one place and farm the land. It’s widely thought to be the first time the human population began to grow at a faster rate. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal PNAS and funded by the National Science Foundation is challenging that idea.

Harvard Astrophysicist Jibran Zahid was the head author of the paper. Co-authors Professor Robert Kelly and Erick Robinson from the University of Wyoming looked at radio carbon dates to determine population size of hunter gatherer communities in Wyoming and Colorado. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard sat down with the two archaeologists.