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The Neolithic Revolution is the term for the first agricultural revolution, describing the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement, as first adopted by various independent prehistoric human societies, in numerous locations on most continents between 12-10 thousand years ago. The term refers to both the general time period over which these initial developments took place and the subsequent changes to Neolithic human societies which either resulted from, or are associated with, the adoption of early farming techniques and crop cultivation. The first agricultural revolution spurred major social changes, including an increasing population density, the organization of a hierarchical society, specialization in non-agricultural crafts, such as clay figurine making in Catalhoyuk, standing armies, state institutions, barter and trade, and the expansion of human "control" over nature. In particular, in opposition to the moveable personal property and communal property of the nomadic hunter-gatherer, a new way of life began that introduced private property, private ownership of land and buildings, valuable artifacts (and later accumulated money) - a private ownership system protected by the state that allowed one man to have control over the livelihoods of others. Systemic slavery also emerged in human evolution in this period, in almost all continents, where captured humans were considered as "things", the private property of wealthy individuals and families. The walled town of Jericho was established around 12,000 years ago, in which captured hunter-gatherers were enslaved. As such, this revolutionary period also introduced inheritance and marriage. The hunter-gatherer way of life was replaced by domestication of crops and animals, enabling people to live more sedentary lives. Permanent settlements arose, creating new social, cultural, economic, and political institutions. At first, agriculture was usually subsistence agriculture: people farmed for their own subsistence (not for sale or profit), and farmers practiced crop rotation (letting fields lie fallow between planting seasons). The need to leave fields in fallow sometimes lead to shifting cultivation, discouraging a strongly fixed sedentary lifestyle. Slash and burn methods of agriculture were closely linked to shifting cultivation, especially on the frontiers of agriculture where fire not only cleared the land for crops but could act as a temporary fertilizer. Similarly, the domestication of grazing animals like sheep and goat encouraged the use of fire to convert forest land into pasture. The Neolithic Revolution is notable primarily for developments in social organization and technology. The changes most often associated with the Neolithic Revolution include an increased tendency to live in permanent or semi-permanent settlements, a corresponding reduction in nomadic lifestyles, the concept of land ownership, modifications to the natural environment, the ability to sustain higher population densities, an increased reliance on vegetable and cereal foods in the total diet, alterations to social hierarchies, nascent "trading economies" using surplus production from increasing crop yields, and the development of new technologies. The relationship of these characteristics to the onset of agriculture, to each other, their sequence and even whether some of these changes are supported by the available evidence remains the subject of much academic debate, and seems to vary from place to place.  Agricultural transition The term Neolithic Revolution was first coined in the 1920s by Vere Gordon Childe to describe the first in a series of agricultural revolutions to have occurred in Middle Eastern history. This period is described as a "revolution" to denote its importance, and the great significance and degree of change brought about to the communities in which these practices were gradually adopted and refined. This involved a gradual transition from a hunter-gatherer mode of subsistence which was practiced by all earlier human societies, to one based more upon the deliberate nurturing and cultivation of crops for the purpose of food production. Evidence for the first beginnings of this process obtained from different regions dated from approximately 25,000 years ago in Melanesia to 2,500 BC in Sub-Saharan Africa, with some considering the events of 9000-7000 BC in the Fertile Crescent to be the most important. This transition everywhere seems associated with a change from a largely nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more settled, agrarian-based one, with the onset of the domestication of plants and of a number of animals. The chronology, social foundations, plant genetics, plant morphology and selective mechanisms of humans, and the processes of the spread of agriculture have been documented by archaeologists in many parts of the world where agriculture first arose (e.g. Melanesia, the "Fertile Crescent", Mesoamerica, South Asia, India (the Ganges), Southeast Asia, Peru, the Mississippi, and the Yuan in China).  Incentive to settle Hunter-gatherer lifestyles are the product of the depletion of the biological potential of a specific location, either through localised overhunting or over gathering, and lead to a movement to a new area where game and foodstuffs are not depleted, allowing the earlier ranges to recover. If sufficient foodstuffs can be gathered on a permanent basis from a specific locality, there is little incentive to move and permanent settlement may result. This will happen whenever local biological productivity is sufficient to permit permanent settlement. Prehistorically it appears to have happened first with certain beachcomber or lacustrine cultures, such as the Jomon of Japan, the areas of Sundaland and Sahulland of "Greater Melanesia", and historically in the salmon country of the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Natufian sedentism before the Younger Dryas was proto-agricultural in nature, principally around gathering, but not planting crops. Having a plentiful supply of basic food does not mean that depletion of important gathered vegetable products does not occur. But a settled population permits year-round observation of the growing cycle, and hunter-gatherers are keen observers of the environmental conditions optimal for specific plant products. Research in Australia, with Aboriginal groups in the Australian Northern Territory has shown that they were fully conversant with the biological facts of agriculture even though they never farmed, although, when found, may have been transferred to a more favourable location. Research has shown that only certain crops make good cultivars. In fact most cultivated crops were discovered more than 2,500 years ago, and despite the scientific and technological revolutions, only a few marginal nut crops (e.g. macadamia nuts) have been added in recent times.