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:8/21/2020)... ... 18, 2020 , ... Sentien Biotechnologies, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology ... and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application ... COVID-19. Approval of this IND allows Sentien to initiate a Phase 1/2 study ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 12, 2020 , ... Mosio ... are ideal for public health agencies of all sizes. With a focus on ... at-risk individuals find appropriate health care, Mosio helps public health departments automate communications ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... 2020 , ... BioFactura, Inc. today announced a $1 million ... & Technology Office—Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD) of the Department of Defense (DoD). ... efficient mammalian cell culture-based bioprocess suitable to meet surge requirement needs for rapid ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... 16, 2020 , ... After research model surgery and catheter implantation, the long ... only the beginning of a successful study, while protecting and accessing the catheter or ... Head of Surgery from Envigo in a live webinar on ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 08, 2020 , ... Bode Technology, a ... laboratory operations through its COVID-19 testing service, Bode-CARES . Bode-CARES combines high-volume ... Bode-CARES provides a turnkey solution that includes a comprehensive collection and virus-management ...
(Date:7/7/2020)... ... ... R3 International is now offering stem cell therapy for Alzheimers dementia in ... the patient's condition, treatment may be offered IV, intrathecal or with a combination. , ... dementia, and the incidence continues to increase as individuals live longer. There is no ...
(Date:7/1/2020)... WESTMINSTER, Colo. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... providers of expert tissue data insights, today announced that the launch of ... PD-L1 results along with data about the tumor microenvironment (TME). , “Flagship’s ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: