Early farmers fertilized their crops with manure

Published on July 17th, 2013 | by Admin

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 9.18.28 AM

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 9.18.28 AM

High levels of nitrogen-15 found in samples taken from early farming sites have revealed that farmers have been fertilizing crops with manure as early as 8,000 years ago.

So how did early farmers figure out that spreading manure was a key to farming success? Bogaard says that there are several plausible scenarios. Areas of “natural dung accumulation,” where animals hung out, would have provided “patches of superfertile ground that early crops would have colonized,” she points out, adding that “subsistence farmers are extremely observant of small differences in growth and productivity among their plots.” And new evidence from both the Near East and Europe, Bogaard says, suggests that “cropping and herding developed in tandem” and were “entangled from the start.”

[Full story]

Story: Michael Balter, Science Magazine | Photo: Amy Bogaard

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