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One proposed theory for the development of agriculture was climate change. There have been several large climatic transitions between the interglacial periods. Bar Yosef researched the paleoenvironmental conditions of the Levant and suggests that about 14,000BP (before present) there were more fluctuations in precipitation than changes in temperature, ultimately responsible for the expansion of the vegetational belts. This allowed for vast latitudinal migrations, good foraging patterns, increase in population growth, and an abundance of food resources. However, between 13,000 and 12,800BP known as the Younger Dryas, conditions became colder and drier, decreasing the annual precipitations and a change in the distribution of rainfall locations (29 Oct 2009). This placed much stress on the plants and animals. According to Bar Yosef, the dry climate expanded desert conditions and caused reductions

in C3 plants, used for cereal, but also the reduction of megafauna which were unable to adapt to the new environment (Bar Yosef 1998: 174). This in turn created doubts about the current nomadic organization of the foraging groups. The hunting and gathering bands soon migrated towards the Mediterranean regions to join other foraging groups to live within a close proximity and seek refuge in the small fertile areas. Childe an advocate for climate change as the effect for the development of agriculture states in his "Oasis Hypothesis" that because of the transition to dry and cold conditions, humans and animals migrated toward the river valleys for necessary water consumption. Bar Yosef states that along with "territorial restrictions, [there was] an increased motivation for intentional cultivation" (Last Hunters 70). This not only increased population size but cdevelopments of sedentism and food storage.hypothesis and suggests a more culturally driven theory for the agricultural origins. Contrary to Childe's "Oasis Theory" in which desiccation marginalized suitable foraging territories and caused large groups to settle in close proximities in lowland oases, Braidwood suggests through his "Nuclear Zone Theory" and through his research in the Zagros-Taurus mountain ranges, that agriculture in fact began in the well-watered regions known as the "hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent" (Watson 25). Braidwood accepts the notion that climatic change has some sort of an effect on the origins of agriculture; however, he suggests that it only plays a minor role, contrary to the ideas of Childe. Braidwood instead proposes that the development of agriculture is "dependent on the presence of cultural mechanisms" (Redman 1978: 96) because along with the presence of agriculture, social and political systems of the early Natufian people were created as well. Braidwood states that agriculture was the natural outcome from social and cultural complexities. He questioned that if cultural change is reliant on climate change stated by Childe, then why did agriculture not start before the large changes occurred during the interglacial periods, such as 125 million years ago (3 Nov 2009)? Using a cultural approach, Braidwood suggests that agriculture was not possible 125 million years ago because the human cognition was not fully developed and complex en

ould have also instigated sedentary life. The ideal environment that would foster the origins of agriculture would be in an area with an abundance of resources. Previously it was considered that agriculture arose in "marginal environments - areas where severe climatic change forced human populations to find new foods to eat" (Price and Gebauer 7); it is on the contrary however, that populations unable to sustain themselves would not take the risk of testing out new methods for the accumulation of food. Agriculture requires more energy expenditure and work from all inhabitants than foraging, therefore as a struggling population, this method would not have been the best option. Childe's argument takes into account the climatic and environmental pressures but it does not provide any cultural factors that might have also influenced the development of agriculture. Braidwood challenges Childe's ough to suggest any such type of food accumulation methods (10 Nov 2009). Agriculture requires a lot of coordination and management controlled by the elites, therefore, it could be hypothesized that with the presence of social hierarchies, sedentism was also in establishment. The favorable environment of the "hilly flanks" as well as the presence of the ancestral or wild strains of the now domesticated plants offered foragers the option to settle down. With the act of settling down in the optimal zones, as well as the accumulation of knowledge about the physical environment, Braidwood suggests that over time, foragers would "eventually realize the potential inherent in the local flora and fauna and would exploit that potential by domesticating appropriate species" (Watson 25). This also suggests the requirement of greater cognition and larger brain size of the modern human; and therefore Braidwood argues agriculture appears only when the human culture was mature (3 Nov 2009). Braidwood's "hilly flanks theory" is successful because it attributes to


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