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New research reveals the earliest evidence for corn in the New World
Date:3/23/2009

ork needs to be done in the Central Balsas region to investigate even earlier periods when teosinte must have been exploited by early human populations and then initially cultivated."

The evidence corroborates a large quantity of previous research carried out in the lowland tropical forest south of Mexico by Piperno and other investigators that indicated maize spread to Panama approximately 7,600 years ago and was well established in northern South America about 6,000 years ago.

The archaeological record establishes tropical southwest Mexico as an important region where early agriculture occurred in the New World and adds maize to the roster of important cereals (others are wheat and barley from the Middle East) that were cultivated and domesticated by 9,000 years ago. The team's findings also contribute to the growing body of evidence that seasonally dry tropical forests were important centers of early human settlement and farming in the Neotropics. Early agriculture in this region of Mexico appears to have involved small groups of cultivators who were shifting their settlements seasonally and engaging in a variety of subsistence pursuits.


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Contact: Michele Urie
uriem@si.edu
202-633-2950
Smithsonian
Source:Eurekalert

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