Smithsonian scientists report ancient chili pepper history

Smithsonian researchers and colleagues report that across the Americas, chili peppers (Capsicum species) were cultivated and traded as early as 6,000 years agopredating the invention of pottery in some areas of the Americas. The researchers analyzed starch grains to trace the history of chili peppers in the Americas.

Their findings contribute significantly to the current understanding of ancient agricultural practices in the Americas. The report is published in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal Science.

When Europeans arrived in the Americas, chili peppers were among the most widespread of the plants domesticated in the New World. However, the chronology and precise geography of their origins and early dispersals had been very poorly understood. Tropical environments, where many chili varieties were first domesticated and then incorporated into prehistoric farming systems, degrade most organic archaeological remains, washing away and decomposing all but the most durable evidence of ancient human activities. Lead author Linda Perry, of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and colleagues overcame this obstacle by identifying chili pepper starch grains. The starch microfossils were found at seven sites dating from 6,000 years ago to European contact and ranging from the Bahamas to southern Peru.

The Smithsonian holds the most extensive reference collection of microscopic plant remains available to archaeologistsstarch, pollen grains and microfossils called phytoliths. The team of researchers adding to this collection discovered that starch grains from chili peppers, members of the genus Capsicum, are shaped like red blood cells, with a strong, central line or split on the side.

"Sorting through microscopic particles and finding a type that distinguishes such an important plant group is like opening a window to the past," Perry said. "While we once based our understanding of chili peppers on rare sites with


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Smithsonian scientists show differing patterns of rainforest biodiversity
2. Smithsonians National Zoo researchers use electronic eggs to help save threatened species
3. Smithsonian Fragmentation Project threatened by Amazon Colonization Plan
4. Smithsonian scientists connect climate change, origins of agriculture in Mexico
5. Drought limits tropical plant distributions, scientists at the Smithsonian report
6. Smithsonian hosts Polar Science Symposium to celebrate International Polar Year 2007-2008
7. Crane hatching marks a first for Smithsonians National Zoo
8. Smithsonian-led Amazon research team wins scientific prize
9. Smithsonian study concludes Caribbean extinctions occurred 2M years after apparent cause
10. Smithsonian scientists report new carbon dioxide study
11. Smithsonian scientists discover new marine species in eastern Pacific

Post Your Comments:

(Date:8/26/2020)... ... August 25, 2020 , ... ... targeting mitochondria, in partnership with Essex Bio-Technology, a bio-pharmaceutical company specializing in ... 3 VISTA-2 study of SkQ1 ophthalmic solution in patients with moderate to ...
(Date:8/21/2020)... ... August 18, 2020 , ... Sentien ... announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s ... for the treatment of severe COVID-19. Approval of this IND allows Sentien to ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 11, 2020 , ... Both Roche, based ... entered into license agreements with Housey Pharma’s HMI subsidiary to gain access to ... have annual Research and Development spending in excess of US $10 billion. , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... July 30, 2020 , ... ... for the life sciences industry, today announced the release of its signature ... for Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) and other field medical professionals. , ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... , ... “We are thrilled to deliver this new technology to the industry” ... kind on the market and we were pleased that the IFT jury recognized that.” ... ingredients, creating a natural way to extend the shelf life and improve the safety ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... 2020 , ... Bode Technology, a leading provider ... through its COVID-19 testing service, Bode-CARES . Bode-CARES combines high-volume clinical testing ... provides a turnkey solution that includes a comprehensive collection and virus-management program for ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... July 09, 2020 , ... ... approaches to cell therapy, today announced the hiring of Allen R. Nissenson, M.D., ... team and oversee the clinical development of Sentien’s lead product, SBI-101. Dr. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: