As far as the issue of why it took as long as it did for mankind to develop agriculture, I concede that this is not a very crucial issue but an interesting one that does not seem to match up well with a supposed 100,000 year existence. I agree about humans being conservative and cautious of risk but the opportunity was present for a very long time, and of the few locations that developed agriculture independently of each other, 2 were close to the supposed location of human origins. In fact the Middle East(one of the places were agriculture was originally developed) was apparently one of the first places besides Africa that was settled, a cave called Hayonim yielded a Complete Homo Sapiens skull and several other bones which are said to be 90,000 years old. Now in fairness large populations and settlement may not have occurred 90,000 years ago but it atleast pointed to the beginnings of settlement, according to this site: http://news.national...neandertal.html
Ã¢â‚¬Å“By 30,000 years ago, humans had occupied most of the Old WorldÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â So as we see the claim by Nat. Geographic is that modern man has occurpied most of the Old World for 30,000 years and judging by the skeletal remains found, the Middle East has likely been occupied for much longer and yet in all that time it has only been the last 5,000(within the range of a creation scenario) in which the risk was taken. Not proof against evolution but quite a nagging question for a 100,000 year age for humanity.
Like any find in the fossil record, our ancestry knowledge is fragmented, but I still think the big picture is clear.
I seem to remember that the ending of the last ice age had something to do with it, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s likely that a series of events was needed. The interesting thing in my mind is not so much the long time it took to make the break from a nomadic life but the Ã¢â‚¬Å“no turning backÃ¢â‚¬Â aspect.
I was just going to add to what Chance said (this is, like almost everything I'll post, from memory
) but climate change had a lot to do with it.
You also have after the ice age an interesting thing occur. Those groups which can do agriculture thrive
. Hunter/gatherers have a very hard life. Infant mortality is high. Injuries from hunting are severe. The average life expectancy is low.
Farmers have an edge. First, because their food source is something they can actively control and plan for, more infants survive. They also thrive better on the diet of a farmer. So you have healthier children and more of them survive. They also had an edge on life span. It wasn't a tremendous edge as we would consider it today. Going off memory avg. expectancy was something like 30 years for hunters but 38 years for farmers. That's a huge edge.
You can also support a larger group. In fact you need a larger group for a farming society. This has numerous advantages, work is divided, there is more leisure time, there is safety in numbers.
Then you see a massive culture explosion because of these factors:
-More people living together (you need laws to get along. You need to plan, you develop more complex language skills, etc)
-More lesiure time (this allows for time to think and communicate. 'Why?' starts to be asked a lot. Probably you had a more complext religious structure form just because of these questions. Specialists start to develop, since there's enough people to do the work, one person can devote their time to pottery full time, instead of everyone making their own. Another to weaving and so forth).
I'm sure you can go from there and imagine the many things that then develop from this new lifestyle. This didn't exist previously for two main reasons. First, there wasn't a huge need for it. It's not to say that groups didn't starve, some did. But it's difficult to plan agriculture the minute you start to starve. Especially when another option is to pack up and find new hunting grounds. Second the climate wasn't such that they could stay in a location long enough to promote farming, nor was it a climate in which farming would be successful.
Oh another advantage with farming versus hunting, smaller tracts of land could support more poeple. Another huge advantage since you need smaller numbers per square mile if you're hunting game to support people than you do if you're farming and using game only as a supplimental.
And if you look at world culture, there are still tribal groups in modern day which have never made a transition to agriculture. They're still hunter gatherers, and never farmed. They simply had no need to make the transition, hunting was successful for them, and they had no exposure to farming, so they didn't have to deal with competition from more successful farming groups of people, and since they had no need to develop it, didn't learn it from a culture which did have that need.
Anyway hope that provides a little more information.