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Clues to Prehistoric Human Exploration Found in Sweet Potato Genome
Science ^ | 21 Jan 2013 | Lizzie Wade

Posted on 01/21/2013 8:39:59 PM PST by Theoria

Europeans raced across oceans and continents during the Age of Exploration in search of territory and riches. But when they reached the South Pacific, they found they had been beaten there by a more humble traveler: the sweet potato. Now, a new study suggests that the plant's genetics may be the key to unraveling another great age of exploration, one that predated European expansion by several hundred years and remains an anthropological enigma.

Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago, and previous generations of scholars believed that Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the crop to Southeast Asia and the Pacific beginning in the 16th century. But in recent years, archaeologists and linguists have accumulated evidence supporting another hypothesis: Premodern Polynesian sailors navigated their sophisticated ships all the way to the west coast of South America and brought the sweet potato back home with them. The oldest carbonized sample of the crop found by archaeologists in the Pacific dates to about 1000 C.E.—nearly 500 years before Columbus's first voyage. What's more, the word for "sweet potato" in many Polynesian languages closely resembles the Quechua word for the plant.

Studying the genetic lineage of the sweet potato directly has proved difficult, however. European traders exported varieties of sweet potato from Mexico and the Caribbean to the Pacific, and those breeds mixed with the older Polynesian varieties, obscuring their genetic history. Therefore, it's difficult to apply information culled from modern samples to older varieties without a prehistoric control. Now a team of researchers working with France's Centre of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology and CIRAD, a French agricultural research and development center, has identified one such temporal control: sweet potato samples preserved in herbariums assembled by the first European explorers to visit many Polynesian islands.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.sciencemag.org ...


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: agriculture; dietandcuisine; easterisland; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; moai; polynesia; rapanui; southamerica; sweetpotato; thorheyerdahl
etc.

Radiocarbon and DNA evidence for a pre-Columbian introduction of Polynesian chickens to Chile

1 posted on 01/21/2013 8:40:04 PM PST by Theoria
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To: SunkenCiv

Sweet.......Thor bump.


2 posted on 01/21/2013 8:40:49 PM PST by Theoria
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To: Renfield

Ping...Saw your post last night about carbs and prehistoric man and thought this might be up your alley. :)


3 posted on 01/21/2013 8:58:45 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: Theoria

After that, the Polynesians completely forgot how to get to Lima coz they ain`t been back since, if they ever sailed there at all? Why would they suddenly stop?
After all, sweet potato pie is a hot selling item in Tahiti.


4 posted on 01/21/2013 9:01:43 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower.)
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To: Theoria

What’s The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/19/difference-between-sweet-potatoes-and-yams_n_1097840.html


5 posted on 01/21/2013 9:14:26 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: SunkenCiv

Is this GGG worthy?


6 posted on 01/21/2013 9:26:31 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: bunkerhill7

Maybe the only thing they thought worth it was the potato, and they now grow them back in Polynesia.


7 posted on 01/21/2013 9:27:40 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: Theoria

I yam what I yam...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHBt9mHq-5c


8 posted on 01/21/2013 9:27:47 PM PST by shove_it (the 0bama regime are the people Huxley, Orwell and Rand warned us about)
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To: Theoria

Yeah. Kon Tiki was a great book.


9 posted on 01/21/2013 9:36:43 PM PST by married21
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I thunk the Peruvians sailed with the sweet potatoes to Polynesia on a round-trip reed-boat vacation but got eaten by cannibals. And I can Peruv it.


10 posted on 01/21/2013 9:43:17 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower.)
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To: bunkerhill7

No doubt they were there to peruse...


11 posted on 01/21/2013 9:47:20 PM PST by Theoria
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To: Theoria
The winds and water currents are well documented. Strange nothing was talked about.
12 posted on 01/21/2013 10:23:08 PM PST by Domangart
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To: Theoria

touche`


13 posted on 01/21/2013 11:49:17 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower.)
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To: bunkerhill7

Quechua and eatsua if I can.; yams on the side.


14 posted on 01/22/2013 12:23:09 AM PST by ApplegateRanch (Love me, love my guns!©)
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To: Theoria
What?

Me Worry?

(sorry, Al)

15 posted on 01/22/2013 12:24:20 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Theoria
SPs have been rated twice as nutritious as regular spuds, including every other vegetable. They're easier to microwave; spoke holes down two sides, one inch apart - cook on high 6 to 10 min (depending on size and rotate when half cooked). A great topping is a mixture of of cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped pecans or walnuts and a pat (or two) of butter! ;)
16 posted on 01/22/2013 12:44:09 AM PST by Errant
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To: Theoria
Surely there is a human genome/DNA waiting to be traced that links Polys to Peru. Most likely you'd find them in Poly, ie, a Poly-Peru offspring removed back to Poly, and then hopefully generationally isolated since.

Why'd they stop coming? Fear, probably. Warfare; or disease (human, animal, food); or competing pagan ceremonies they didn't care for or didn't want to import.

17 posted on 01/22/2013 12:45:56 AM PST by StAnDeliver (Own it.)
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To: knarf
LOL!


18 posted on 01/22/2013 12:57:35 AM PST by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: Theoria; SunkenCiv; mikrofon; Charles Henrickson

“Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago”

Prior to that the taters ran wild in roaming hordes.


19 posted on 01/22/2013 2:41:12 AM PST by martin_fierro (Inner Tuber)
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To: martin_fierro

They had to catch them while they were still tater tots. Hard to milk those suckers too.


20 posted on 01/22/2013 3:10:48 AM PST by conservaterian (NOW can we have a conservative candidate?????)
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To: martin_fierro; Theoria; SunkenCiv; Charles Henrickson
Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago

I think potatoes may have been boiled, mashed & stewed for far longer than that...

21 posted on 01/22/2013 9:42:14 AM PST by mikrofon (Hobbit-forming)
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To: bunkerhill7

I’m wondering...did they bring back Lima beans too?


22 posted on 01/22/2013 11:18:14 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Theoria; HiTech RedNeck; martin_fierro; mikrofon

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Theoria, and thanks HiTech RedNeck, martin_fierro, and mikrofon.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


23 posted on 01/23/2013 4:18:31 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Theoria; SunkenCiv

Thanks for posting. It’s interesting to think about possible Polynesia/South America interactions.


24 posted on 02/05/2013 4:00:31 PM PST by colorado tanker
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