According to Guns, Germs, and Steel, why did humans shift from foraging to sedentary agriculture?    

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter 6.  There, starting on p. 110 in the paperback edition of the book, Diamond lays out five main causes that led (in some combination) societies to switch to agriculture.  They are:

  • Availability of wild food.  As this declined, farming became a better choice.
  • Increased availability of domesticated plants.  Plants had been domesticated gradually, over a period of time.  Once enough of them were domesticated, farming became a better choice.
  • Development of more technology that helped make farming easier.
  • Rise in human population.  This led to a need for more food and farming can produce more food than hunting and gathering.
  • Denser populations that farming made possible.  Farming societies could have larger population and that meant more people who could fight and push hunter-gatherers off their land.

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