A Time to Sow, a Time to Reap: Modifications to Biological and Economic Rhythms in Southwest Asian Plant and Animal Domestication

Daniel Fuks, Diane L. Lister, Assaf Distelfeld, Nimrod Marom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews changes to lifecycle temporality in Southwest Asian plant and animal domestication, exploring their relationship to long-term processes associated with ancient and contemporary globalization. We survey changes under domestication to the timing of seed dispersal, germination, vegetative growth, flowering and maturation in wheat and barley and to birth, reproduction, lactation, wool production and death in sheep, goats and cattle. Changes in biological temporality among domesticates are ultimately related to globally increasing production intensity, geographic diffusion, and agricultural diversity associated with cultivar/breed evolution. Recently, however, increasing crop production intensity and geographic diffusion are accompanied by declining agricultural diversity worldwide. Similar processes are apparent in contemporary economic and cultural globalization, suggesting that long-term agricultural developments might be viewed as a subset of globalization. Moreover, the origin of certain features of contemporary globalization may be traced back to the beginnings of plant and animal domestication. Thus, while biologists since Darwin considered domestication as a model for the study of evolution, we suggest that domestication may also offer a model for the study of globalization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1368
Issue number6
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research and the APC were funded by a British Academy Newton International Fellowship awarded to D.F. (NIF23\100633).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • archaeobotany
  • archaeozoology
  • domestication
  • globalization
  • phenology
  • seasonality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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