This book is about the contribution to evolutionary theory and agricultural technology of one of humankind's most dramatic imitations of the evolu tionary process, namely crop domestication, as exemplified by the progenitor of wheat, Triticum dicoccoides. This species is a major model organism and it has been studied at the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, since 1979. The domestication by humans of wild plants to cultivated ones during the last ten millennia is one of the best demonstrations of evolution. It is a process that has been condensed in time and advanced by artificial rather than natural selection. Plant and animal domestication revolutionized human cultural evolution and is the major factor underlying human civilization. A post-Pleistocene global rise in temperature following the ice age, i.e., climatic-environmental factors, may have induced the expansion of econom ically important thermophilous plants and in turn promoted complex forag ing and plant cultivation. The shift from foraging to steady production led to an incipient agriculture varying in time in various part of the world. In the Levant, agriculture developed out of an intensive specialized exploitation of plants and animals. Natufian sedentism, followed by rapid population growth and resource stress, induced by the expanding desert, coupled with available grinding technology, may have triggered plant domestication.
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