Evolution Of Wheat Essay

890 words - 4 pages

The Domestication of Wheat
Ten thousand years ago as the gigantic glaciers of the last ice age (Pleistocene Epoch) receded, the Earth's atmosphere warmed and stabilized (World Book 6). Human beings discovered that with this new atmosphere animals and plants were available year around in a singular location and they no longer had to travel great distances to acquire needed foods. This was the birth of civilizations and thus agriculture (Kolbert 31). Around the same time many plants, some old and some new, started to sprout up around the world. One of these plants was Einkorn.People started to domesticate plants and livestock because of a coincidental combination of events. Populations ...view middle of the document...

The ancestors of wheat first started to grow in abundance around the eastern edge of the Mediterranean through parts of the Middle East and into the north western corner of India (Wyse 79). In the scheme of things this seems to be a very small portion of land but at the time it was possibly the most densely populated section of the planet. It also boasted some of the harshest climates in the world, including the deserts of northern Africa and the mountainous regions throughout the Middle East.The earliest ancestor of wheat was Einkorn. It had very small grains that had large awns, and this was very much to the benefit of the plant. When the head of the grass would shatter, the grains were able to spread and then grow into a new plant. This allowed the plants to move over large regions almost every year. This was probably an adaptation to cope with the ever-changing environments during the ice age described earlier. Since the grains would disperse when they became ripe, it made their collection very hard (Lord 78). But the people very much liked the fruit that the plant yielded, and to ensure that they could get an adequate supply each harvesting season, they began to grow it themselves in a controlled piece of land. Each year they would take the seeds of the choice plants and plant them.Characteristics of a choice plant would be one with larger fruit smal...

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