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Which invention has played a vital role in the progress of humans?

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The invention of wheel and use of metals played a vital role in the progress of human.

Agriculture

For as long as there have been people, those people have needed to eat. That's a sentiment I'm sure you can appreciate. The procurement of food has been a consistent toil in human history; for 99% of our species' existence, all humans either had to hunt wild game or gather plants, which can be time-consuming and not always fruitful (pardon the pun). After existing as nomads for hundreds of years, people around the world began to realize that if they could control their food supply, they could live in one place year-round and always have enough to eat. With that, agriculture was invented. Agriculture dramatically changed humanity in many ways; it allowed humans to settle, build permanent societies, and before you know it we're crossing oceans, traveling to outer space, and inventing social media. People still need to eat, so agriculture still defines human societies even if the way we handle it has changed over time.

The Neolithic Revolution

With agriculture being so important, humans have been innovative in advancing agricultural technology throughout history. However, there are a few periods of time during which a slew of advancements were made in a relatively short time. Let's start with a period that changed human societies so dramatically that we call it the Neolithic Revolution. Basically, this is what we call the period in which agriculture was first developed. Every part of the world experienced its Neolithic Revolution at different times, but it began between 10,000 and 8,000 BCE in what is now the Middle East. A warmer, wetter climate led to abundant natural grains around the eastern Mediterranean, which people began to harvest and replant the seeds of the best stalks. Soon, people in the region had developed year-round agriculture. Similar trends occurred independently in India, China, Central America, and South America.

The Neolithic Revolution was the beginning of true agriculture in the world, defined by the first domestication of wild plants (and soon animals like chickens, sheep, and cattle). Humans needed to invent new tools and techniques in order to produce consistent food. Droughts in the 4th millennium BCE prompted the development of irrigation, which required advanced systems of math, engineering, and planning. Farming meant a permanent society, which meant the need to develop architecturally-sound houses, storage bins, and other structures. The need to transport food helped lead to the invention of the wheel and cart. Even long after the official period of the Neolithic Revolution, agriculture continued to shape human societies throughout the ancient world.

The Industrial Revolution

We're going to jump forward quite a bit into the 18th and 19th centuries. After the Neolithic Revolution, humans kept innovating and inventing. Improved farming techniques had heightened agricultural efficiency, but many of the tools and materials were similar to those of the past. Then we get to another revolution. The Industrial Revolution was marked by the development of industrial machines, which dramatically changed many societies. Things could be produced more quickly, more efficiently, and more scientifically.

The Industrial Revolution was characterized by a mentality that everything we were doing, we could do better. Industrial Revolution inventions included the cotton gin, which made it much easier to process cotton, mechanical reapers for harvesting grains, and steel plows that allowed farmers to break up the toughest, previously unfarmable, soils. The development of refrigeration in the late 19th century made it possible to store food in larger quantities and for longer times. The Haber process of the early 20th century introduced new scientific methods for producing fertilizer on an industrial scale.
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