Sunday, July 01, 2007

PLANT DOMESTICATION ANTIQUITY



Left: Picture taken from El Mundo Online.



Until recently it was laid down that the origin of the agriculture took place in fertile areas of the Middle East (10 000 years B.C.). Nevertheless, the archaeobotánists: D. Piperno and Deborah Pearsall, sustained during years, the existence of crops of domesticated plants of Manihot esculenta (yuca, caloric, carbohydrates, faulty in essential amino acids) and Ipomoea batatas (yam, caloric), in areas tropical Latin Americans areas, by means of the presence of phytolites (conglomerates of vegetable cells that incorporating silica of the surrounding humid earth, acquired special conformations), of wild plants like : Cucúrbita moschata (10 000 years B.C. vitamin A, fatty, caloric), in tropical areas of Ecuador, C. pepo, in Mexico and Zea mays (carbohydrates, small quantities of proteins, and fatty, faulty in essential AA), in Panama (7700 years B.C.. Now Tom Dillehay and collaborators of the University of Vanderbilt, have confirmed the above-mentioned, showing the presence of seeds of C. moschata (pumpkins, rich in vitamin A), domesticated, peanuts skins (Arachis sp, rich in vitamin C and other) and cotton fibers (Gossypium barbadense, industrial textile fiber), in the western hillsides of the valley of Ñanchoc (northern Peru), with data of 10 000, 8500 and 6000 years B.C., respectively, demonstrating that the the development of agriculture in Latin America occurred so early as in the Middle East.

Surprisingly, the scientists have suggested that pumpkins, peanuts and cotton are not natives of the area of Ñanchoc. The peanut would come from tropical areas and savannas of any place of South America and that the ancestor of pumpkins is possibly located in Colombia. The evidences of Ñanchoc -according to Dillehay- indicate that agriculture played a major role in the development of the Andean civilization. The buildings structures, furrows and fields sowed in Ñanchoc, indicate that Andean culture was mobilized from horticulture toward agricultural societies. The addition of Phaseolus (8,000 years B.C, rich in essential AA), to peanuts, pumpkins and maize, would finish endowing the precerámic diet to one of exceptional quality. Eve Emshwiller, etnobotánist of the University of Wisconsin, points out that recently cultivated seeds of pumpkins have been identified in Mexico, jointly with domesticated maize of 10 000 and 9,000 years of antiquity respectively and that these plants would have been tamed independently in at least 10 origin centers (Africa, southwestern India China, New Guinea and others). For then, between Middle East, Syria and Turkey was sowed corn/barley (10,000 years B.C.) and domesticated rye (13,000 years B.C.).

No comments: