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FSU Anthropologist Finds Earliest Evidence Of Maize Farming In Mexico (7,300 YA)
Eureka Alert/FSU ^ | 4-9-2007 | Mary Pohl/FSU

Posted on 04/10/2007 10:37:52 AM PDT by blam

Contact: Mary Pohl
mpohl@mailer.fsu.edu
850-644-8153
Florida State University

FSU anthropologist finds earliest evidence of maize farming in Mexico

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--A Florida State University anthropologist has new evidence that ancient farmers in Mexico were cultivating an early form of maize, the forerunner of modern corn, about 7,300 years ago - 1,200 years earlier than scholars previously thought.

Professor Mary Pohl conducted an analysis of sediments in the Gulf Coast of Tabasco, Mexico, and concluded that people were planting crops in the "New World" of the Americas around 5,300 B.C. The analysis extends Pohl's previous work in this area and validates principles of microfossil data collection.

The results of Pohl's study, which she conducted along with Dolores R. Piperno of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama, Kevin O. Pope of Geo Arc Research and John G. Jones of Washington State University, will be published in the April 9-13 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This research expands our knowledge on the transition to agriculture in Mesoamerica," Pohl said. "These are significant new findings that fill out knowledge of the patterns of early farming. It expands on research that demonstrates that maize spread quickly from its hearth of domestication in southwest Mexico to southeast Mexico and other tropical areas in the New World including Panama and South America."

The shift from foraging to the cultivation of food was a significant change in lifestyle for these ancient people and laid the foundation for the later development of complex society and the rise of the Olmec civilization, Pohl said. The Olmecs predated the better known Mayans by about 1,000 years.

"Our study shows that these early maize cultivators located themselves on barrier islands between the sea and coastal lagoons, where they could continue to fish as well as grow crops," she said.

During her field work in Tabasco seven years ago, Pohl found traces of pollen from primitive maize and evidence of forest clearing dating to about 5,100 B.C. Pohl's current study analyzed phytoliths, the silica structure of the plant, which puts the date of the introduction of maize in southeastern Mexico 200 years earlier than her pollen data indicated. It also shows that maize was present at least a couple hundred years before the major onset of forest clearing. Traces of charcoal found in the soil in 2000 indicated the ancient farmers used fire to clear the fields on beach ridges to grow the crops.

"This significant environmental impact of maize cultivation was surprisingly early," she said. "Scientists are still considering the impact of tropical agriculture and forest clearing, now in connection with global warming."

The phytolith study also was able to confirm that the plant was, in fact, domesticated maize as opposed to a form of its ancestor, a wild grass known as teosinte. Pohl and her colleagues were unable to make the distinction after the pollen study. Primitive maize was probably domesticated from teosinte and transported to the Gulf Coast lowlands where it was cultivated, according to Pohl.

The discovery of cultivated maize in Tabasco, a tropical lowland area of Mexico, challenges previously held ideas that Mesoamerican farming originated in the semi-arid highlands of Mexico and shows an early exchange of food plants.

Pohl's PNAS article also addresses misconceptions about the paleoecological method, which recovers microfossil evidence, such as pollen, starch grains, or phytoliths, as opposed to macrofossils or whole plant parts, such as maize cobs. Pohl and her colleagues argue that contamination of samples through the geological processes of sediment mixing is more likely to occur with macrofossils than microfossils.

###
The National Science Foundation and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies funded the research.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; anthropology; dietandcuisine; farming; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; huntergatherers; maize; mexico

1 posted on 04/10/2007 10:37:53 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Thread hijack in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . .


2 posted on 04/10/2007 10:39:19 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

Posted last year:

Ancient Andean Maize Makers: Finds Push Back Farming, Trade In Highland Peru

3 posted on 04/10/2007 10:39:53 AM PDT by blam
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To: 1rudeboy

GO!.......Globull warming is in everything!!!!!........


4 posted on 04/10/2007 10:41:51 AM PDT by Red Badger (If it's consensus, it's not science. If it's science, there's no need for consensus......)
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To: blam
"This significant environmental impact of maize cultivation was surprisingly early," she said. "Scientists are still considering the impact of tropical agriculture and forest clearing, now in connection with global warming."

Unbelievable. It's now clear -- every scientist now has to find some way to tie his research to Global Warming, or else it's not deemed 'valid' or meaningful.

5 posted on 04/10/2007 10:42:55 AM PDT by WL-law
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...
Thanks Blam. Posted last year, probably don't need to ping it, but you know how I get. I think this discovery is actually quite a bit older -- Col. Mays made a very similar finding right after WWII.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

7 posted on 04/10/2007 10:51:11 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam
But I thought the Earth was only 6000 years old.

* running for cover *
8 posted on 04/10/2007 10:52:35 AM PDT by LIConFem (Thompson 2008. Lifetime ACU Rating: 86 -- Hunter 2008 (VP) Lifetime ACU Rating: 92)
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To: LIConFem

A) that isn’t a welcome addition to this (or any) GGG thread.

B) it isn’t creative, and has indeed already appeared in this thread.

C) Thanks for not doing it again.


9 posted on 04/10/2007 10:54:13 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

Did they find an ancient ethanol plant nearby?


10 posted on 04/10/2007 10:57:24 AM PDT by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
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To: blam

Am I the only sick freak here who can’t read the word “Tabasco” without having a Pavlovian response?


11 posted on 04/10/2007 11:14:14 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Never let it be said that there are things we would never let be said.)
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To: Hegemony Cricket
Am I the only sick freak here who can’t read the word “Tabasco” without having a Pavlovian response?

Probably.

The rest of us don't react to that mild sauce.

12 posted on 04/10/2007 11:47:59 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: blam

“Earliest Evidence Of Maize Farming”
Ah, that’s the practice of hiding farms behind circuitous pathways, right?


13 posted on 04/10/2007 12:10:54 PM PDT by Buck W. (If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.)
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To: blam

Maize growing in Mexico... there’s a job Americans are unwilling to do.


14 posted on 04/10/2007 12:33:49 PM PDT by Sam Ketcham (Amnesty means vote dilution, & increased taxes to bring us down to the world poverty level.)
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To: blam
>Maize Farming In Mexico

Yum. That's my favorite.
Now I have to get a can
to make with dinner . . .

15 posted on 04/10/2007 12:38:27 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: SunkenCiv; LIConFem
>But I thought the Earth was only 6000 years old
>>A) that isn’t a welcome addition to this (or any) GGG thread. B) it isn’t creative, and has indeed already appeared in this thread. C) Thanks for not doing it again

Well, I certainly
didn't expect the Spanish
Inquisition here . . .

16 posted on 04/10/2007 12:44:07 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: ASA Vet

Hehehe... ;-)


17 posted on 04/10/2007 12:56:29 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Never let it be said that there are things we would never let be said.)
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To: blam

The clue was a jar of bean dip with the sell-by date of 5300 BC.


18 posted on 04/10/2007 1:03:35 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Tag to let -- 50 cents.)
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To: Hegemony Cricket

No. I’m one of the others.


19 posted on 04/10/2007 3:51:46 PM PDT by rdl6989
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To: 1rudeboy

14 replies before the inevitable comment.


20 posted on 04/10/2007 3:54:03 PM PDT by COEXERJ145 (Bush Derangement Syndrome Has Reached Pandemic Levels on Free Republic.)
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To: blam
A Florida State University anthropologist has new evidence that ancient farmers in Mexico were cultivating an early form of maize, the forerunner of modern corn, about 7,300 years ago -

"Our study shows that these early maize cultivators located themselves on barrier islands between the sea and coastal lagoons, where they could continue to fish as well as grow crops," she said.

Have to wonder what some underwater excavations would find.

"This significant environmental impact of maize cultivation was surprisingly early," she said. "Scientists are still considering the impact of tropical agriculture and forest clearing, now in connection with global warming."

Considering when those beloved glaciers melted; and when they've found the roots of agriculture, isn't this backwards?

Warming led to agriculture; not ag to warming. They isn't6 gonna get away with blaming this on me and my ilk!

21 posted on 04/10/2007 6:03:49 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
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To: theFIRMbss

That’s it. I’m pokin’ you with ——— THE SOFT CUSHION!!!

The serious point though is, there are plenty of crevo/evo list topics to turn into bloodbaths.


22 posted on 04/10/2007 6:39:50 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: AZLiberty

LOL!!!


23 posted on 04/10/2007 6:41:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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24 posted on 07/10/2009 5:08:50 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: blam

Did I miss it? There’s no discussion in the article as to the mechanics of how this was determined via gulf sediment analysis. Micro/Macro fossils, what determines the presence of agriculture and why?


25 posted on 07/10/2009 5:19:08 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Obama--POtuS.)
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