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Evidence (See below) shows that foragers used to be healthier than farmers in pre-history. Also, foragers worked between 4-6h to have all of their needs while farmers used to work for longer periods. So, what was the reason for humans to grow around farms instead of foraging?

What is the evidence-based argument in favor of that evolution?

Studies of foraging groups have also shown that they had more free time because hunting and gathering did not take up the whole day. Most of the community's resources could be gathered in about 4-6 hours of the day. In turn, foragers had more time to sit by the fire and share stories of the day than those who would later become farmers. Twenty-first-century humans work on average between 8-9 hours per day. Of course, I'm sure most of us would love to be able to work for 4-6 hours and enjoy the company of our families and friends for the rest of the day. A forager's diet was also probably healthier than that of a farmer. Anthropological studies show that modern-day foragers eat a more varied diet and do more exercise compared to modern-day non-foragers. A healthy diet and more free time are certainly positive aspects of a foraging lifestyle. However, this is not meant to suggest that life as a forager did not have its difficulties. For example, foragers had much shorter life expectancies. The average forager lived between 21 and 37 years. In comparison, the average person today lives 66 years. But these numbers fluctuate. For example, life expectancy in Japan is 82 years while in Zambia it's 39 years (Gurven and Kaplan 2017). One of the main reasons for this extended life expectancy is due to the advancement of medicine that occurred as human history progressed. There's also evidence of violence in foraging communities. In addition, some members of foraging groups were left behind if they were too old or too ill to keep up with the nomadic lifestyle. Less work hours meant that foragers also had more time to meet up with other communities in their area. They could create small networks. They shared food, tools, weapons, and ideas. These interactions led foraging groups to establish early trade networks between small communities of people. Foraging communities also may have met up for spiritual or religious purposes. As foragers shared ideas through language networks, they may have also shared beliefs about spiritual matters, including shared rituals and practices. Archaeologists think that this may have been one of the purposes of later Neolithic sites like Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and Stonehenge in England. KhanAcademy.org

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    Can you cite your sources for the above? It would help if we knew exactly who wrote what. Please look at History of agriculture as it seems the comparison is not 'fair' - farmers often don't just feed themselves. – Lars Bosteen Apr 4 at 11:44
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    The evolution does not necessarily favours the healthiest, but those leaving more descenants – jmster Apr 4 at 11:45
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    If your source is the information from KhanAcademy in your answer below, please include that information in your question, not posted as an answer. You can use the edit key under your question to make these adjustments. By the very information in your source, the farmers lived longer. The group that lives longer makes the most babies. – justCal Apr 4 at 12:16
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    Essentially, you need a lot of suitable ground if you want to be hunter/gatherer. On the other hand, farmers tend to depend less on whims of the nature, they could build villages and multiply more as one family needs less soil to sustain itself. This of course is a beginning of civilization etc .. – rs.29 Apr 4 at 12:31
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    Anthropological studies show that modern-day foragers eat a more varied diet and do more exercise compared to modern-day non-foragers. Your question seems to rest on this premise. Yet even if it were right, it would be useless. You should compare the diet and exercise of ancient foragers and non-foragers. And I can tell you that tending to the crops without machinery means a lot of exercise, and that a risk of starvation once the hunt is exhausted is not a good diet. – SJuan76 Apr 4 at 20:09
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Read the book Guns, Germs and Steel from Jared Diamond. He writes in 480 pages what I try to surmise in a few lines.

The trick is quantity over quality. A farmer has an (almost) guaranteed source of calories. Hunter-gatherers have not. The food sources of hunter-gatherers are more varied, and more healthy. But they can't store it long term. Farmers can.

Hunter-gatherers sometimes have a bountiful harvest of berries or a very successful hunt. All they can do is eat until they barf. Perhaps carry a few slaps of meat, or a basket with berries to the next camp, but no more. They couldn't store the meat or the berries for the next couple of months. They could carry it, but if they did, they would have to leave the same weight of utensils behind. A human can only carry so much.

Farmers build storage facilities where they stored their surplus. While waiting for better times, or the next planting season. Hunter-gatherers would suffer starvation.

As the food supply was more bountiful and more regular (at the cost of being less nutritious), farmers could father children every year. Hunter-gatherers could father children only when the youngest had learned to walk - which is about every 2-3 years.

That all gave farmers a real advantage over hunter-gatherers. Their food was of lesser quality, but far more regular and plentiful. Famines did happen, but far less often than it hurts hunter-gatherers.

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    Thank you very much for this answer!!! – user2919910 Apr 5 at 8:49
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Who are "we" in your question? Organization of society is not a result of some collective, democratic decision.

Farming societies are stronger for two reasons: a) they allow a greater population density, and b) farming is connected with stronger organization of society. This permits farming societies to win over hunter gatherers, take their territory, displace them etc.

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    This would pretty much be my answer. Once you have a farm-fed population density, gathering no longer works to feed everyone. You keep on farming, or your children starve. If a neighboring piece of land can feed one gathering family, or 100 farming families, its pretty easy to see who is going to get to keep it. – T.E.D. Apr 4 at 21:23
  • The greater population density means that once a society starts agriculture, it is almost impossible to go back without a die-off. This creates a ratchet effect where it's easy to transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer as a slow, piecemeal process, but almost impossible to slide backward. – Gort the Robot Apr 5 at 0:31
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Peter Kropotkin’s now outdated but classic Mutual aid: a factor in human evolution discusses goods and population densities versus property forms and hierarchalisation. For the historical materialist historian a society's accumulation of social surplus under anything less than social control (ie: under anything less than direct democratic economics) encourages within society violence. Intrasocial violence produces a society more capable of intersocial violence. Gathering societies have fewer combatants and less developed intersocial violence techniques than husbandry, pastoral or agricultural societies.

English translation: Societies that make more food than they need for bare survival either get more organized to prevent fighting over the excess wealth, or they end up fighting over the excess wealth. The winners in the fights end up being the folks better at fighting. Add in that there are orders of magnitude more of these organized fighting folks than there are gatherers, and when they look your way, its a bad day to be a gatherer.

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    English translation: Societies that make more food than they need for bare survival either get more organized to prevent fighting over the excess wealth, or they end up fighting over the excess wealth. The winners in the fights end up being the folks better at fighting. Add in that there are orders of magnitude more of these organized fighting folks than there are gatherers, and when they look your way, its a bad day to be a gatherer. – T.E.D. Apr 6 at 0:34
  • ... Seems to fail Occam's Razor a bit (the extra order of magnitude in population alone seems sufficient to explain what we see in the Real World, and that's an observable fact) but its not a bad theory, and I don't know what other historical evidence the author was looking at. – T.E.D. Apr 6 at 0:37
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    I have incorporated your translation, if you want to ping an edit to get credit, or if you want me to remove it I will. Kropotkin was using anthropology of gatherers in Siberia with high levels of social surplus. (Like: Potlatch, inherited tools, etc.) – Samuel Russell Apr 6 at 10:01

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