PASTORAL NOMADISM

PASTORAL NOMADISM – Some hunting gathering communities took up farming and herding of animals. Evidences from West Asia suggest agriculture and animal domestication emerged at nearly the same period. Some communities preferred herding of animals over agriculture. The Central Asian steppes consisting of countries like Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan etc. was an area where herding of animals was the dominant form of living until about three hundred years ago. There are indications for the domestication of dogs, pigs and horses from the Mesolithic period. It was the domestication of cattle, sheep and goat that imposed a new pattern of livelihood on the humans.

Pastoralism generated a different lifestyle. The domestication of animals represented a radically new way of life. In the hunting gathering mode of life animals were killed and consumed immediately. Now animals were reared to act as walking larders that could be used in times of scarcity. Unlike the agriculturists who generally settled down in villages, pastoralists moved from one place to another in search of pastures. Historically the nomadic people lived in the grassy plains of Asia, Africa, and the Americas, where the grasses provided the sustenance for their herds. Pastoral nomadism varied according to the type of domesticated animal chosen as the primary source of livelihood.

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