Hunting is at best a precarious way of procuring food, even when the diet is supplemented
with seeds and fruits. Not long after the last Ice Age, around 7,000 B.C. (during the Neolithic
period), some hunters and gatherers began to rely chiefly on agriculture for their sustenance.
Others continued the old pastoral and nomadic ways. Indeed, agriculture itself evolved over the
course of time, and Neolithic peoples had long known how to grow crops. The real transformation
of human life occurred when huge numbers of people began to rely primarily and permanently on
the grain they grew and the animals they domesticated.
Agriculture made possible a more stable and secure life. With it Neolithic peoples flourished,
fashioning an energetic, creative era. They were responsible for many fundamental inventions and
innovations that the modern world takes for granted. First, obviously, is systematic agriculture —
that is, the reliance of Neolithic peoples on agriculture as their primary, not merely subsidiary,
source of food.
Thus they developed the primary economic activity of the entire ancient world and the basis of
all modern life. With the settled routine of Neolithic farmers came the evolution of towns and
eventually cities. Neolithic farmers usually raised more food than they could consume, and their
surpluses permitted larger, healthier populations. Population growth in turn created an even greater
reliance on settled farming, as only systematic agriculture could sustain the increased numbers of
people. Since surpluses of food could also be bartered for other commodities, the Neolithic era
witnessed the beginnings of large-scale exchange of goods. In time the increasing complexity of
Neolithic societies led to the development of writing, prompted by the need to keep records and
later by the urge to chronicle experiences, learning, and beliefs.
The transition to settled life also had a profound impact on the family. The shared needs and
pressures that encourage extended-family ties are less prominent in settled than in nomadic
societies. Bonds to the extended family weakened. In towns and cities, the nuclear family was
more dependent on its immediate neighbors than on kinfolk.
1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) Why many human societies are dependent on agriculture
(B) the changes agriculture brought to human life
(C) How Neolithic peoples discovered agriculture
(D) Why the first agricultural societies failed
2. The word "precarious" in line 1 is closest in meaning to
3. The author mentions "seeds and fruits" in line 2 as examples of
(A) the first crops cultivated by early agricultural societies
(B) foods eaten by hunters and gatherers as a secondary food source
(C) types of food that hunters and gatherers lacked in their diets
(D) the most common foods cultivated by early agricultural societies
4. The word "settled" in line 15 is closest in meaning to
5. According to the passage , agricultural societies produced larger human populations because
(A) created more varieties of food
(B) created food surpluses
(C) resulted in increases in leisure time
(D) encouraged bartering
6.According to the passage , all of the following led to the development of writing EXCEPT the
(A) need to keep records
(B) desire to write down beliefs
(C) extraction of ink from plants
(D) growth of social complexity
7. The word "chronicle" in line 23 is closest in meaning to
8. According to the passage , how did the shift to agricultural societies impact people's family
(A) The extended family became less important.
(B) Immediate neighbors often became family members.
(C) The nuclear family became self-sufficient.
(D) Family members began to wok together to raise food.
9. The author mentions all of the following as results of the shift to agricultural societies EXCEPT
(A) an increase in invention and innovation
(B) emergence of towns and cities
(C) development of a system of trade
(D) a decrease in warfare
10. Which of the following is true about the human diet prior to the Neolithic period?
(A) It consisted mainly of agricultural products
(B) It varied according to family size.
(C) It was based on hunting and gathering.
(D) It was transformed when large numbers of people no longer depended on the grain they grew