Skip to comments.Practice Of Farming Reaches Back Farther Than Thought (Panama - 7,800YA)
Posted on 02/20/2007 11:59:10 AM PST by blam
Public release date: 19-Feb-2007
Contact: Gregory Harris
University of Calgary
Practice of farming reaches back farther than thought
Archaeological findings from Panama show agriculture's roots run deep
Ancient people living in Panama were processing and eating domesticated species of plants like maize, manioc, and arrowroot at least as far back as 7,800 years ago much earlier than previously thought according to new research by a University of Calgary archaeologist.
One of the most hotly debated issues in the discipline of archaeology is how and why certain human societies switched from hunting and gathering to producing their own food through agriculture. Dr. Ruth Dickau, a post-doctoral researcher in the U of C's department of archaeology, has used a new technique called starch grain analysis to recover microscopic residues of plants directly off the stone tools that people were using in Panama 3,000 to 7,800 years ago.
"These results add to the growing evidence that the earliest beginnings of farming were not centred in arid highland regions like central Mexico and the Peruvian Andes as once believed, but in the lowland areas and humid forests of the American tropics," Dickau says.
"What is particularly interesting is that these crops were originally domesticated outside of Panama; maize was domesticated in Mexico, and manioc and arrowroot in South America. Panama, as a relatively narrow land-bridge between the two American continents, was an important route for the human spread of food crops, and clearly a region where agriculture was practiced very early in history."
Dickau is the lead author of a paper appearing next week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an internationally respected academic publication. The paper is titled "Starch Grain Evidence for the Preceramic Dispersals of Maize and Root Crops into Tropical Dry and Humid Forests of Panama."
Dry, arid areas favour archaeological preservation, whereas tropical regions typically don't especially when it comes to foodstuffs. But with starch grain analysis, researchers are able to isolate residue from microcrevices in both ground stone and flaked stone tools and identify preserved starch grains under a microscope.
"The ability of starch grain analysis to identify plant taxa in the unfavourable preservation environments of western and central Panama confirms the importance of this method for establishing the presence of particular plant species, both domesticated and wild, in the subsistence practices of early inhabitants of tropical forests," the authors write.
Much of Dickau's research was conducted as part of her graduate studies at Temple University in Philiadelphia. The second and third authors are Anthony J. Ranere (Temple University), and Richard G. Cooke (Smithsonian Tropical Research Inst., Panama).
bet they had some dand John Deere's
The first city ever recorded was Enoc was in Genesis Four. Organized groups did various things for the city - masons built, and farmers provided food for them.
Is this farther back then that?
I see some Amish around here still using those
I'm really condused by CE, AD and every other reference to what year it is these days. What is YA?
LOL. Years Ago.
well that's a tough one, lol!
Since this article (and the research) was apparently using the standard, Macroevolutionary timescale, this is older than the universe, if the Bible states that the universe is roughly 6,000 Earth-years old. (time is relative, hence the Earth-years).
CE is the same as AD; it's counterpart is BCE (Before the Common Era) which is the same as BC.
Thanks. Does anyone know what channel that is on DirecTV?
Does that mean that the "Cradle of Civilization' isn't?
Since there is no written form of the old testament known to be older than 2000 years, yeah. That would be older.
Thanx for taking the time. I know this stuff. I was just trying to make a funny with the question and a half-serious comment at the same time.
PBS is 384 on my DTV system and I assume it's the same where you are. I don't get that channel, though (it might be HD programming). I'll be watching the local PBS station here.
BTW, and tragically, this is a repeat. Matter of fact, I think I may have seen this one before if it's the episode that "introduces" the Salutorian people's Atlantic crossing theory. If so, it's a couple of yrs old.
Thanks. That solves that problem, I've seen that one too.