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Jan 18, 2012

Ancient Popcorn Discovered in Peru

Ancient popcorn found in ruins
of Paradones and Huaca Prieta, Peru
Photo:  Peru This Week/Andina/Reference
According to a research article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ancient popcorn has been discovered in the ruins of human settlements on Peru's dry northern coast.  Researchers from Vanderbilt University and Peru's Academia Nacional de la Historia found corn cobs, husks, stalks and tassels, dating from 6,700 to 3,000 years.  The article was co-authored by Dolores Piperno, curator of New World archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and emeritus staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

The ancient popcorn discoveries were made at Paredones and Huaca Prieta.  The corn remnants indicated that they had been eaten in a variety of manners including popcorn and flour corn. The find is significant because it helps researchers better understand how corn was domesticated and hybridized into many different varieties.  It originated in Mexico approximately 9,000 years ago.  This new evidence helps unravel more of the puzzle as to how corn was dispersed from Central and South America through Panama some time 8,000 years ago.

For more see:

Gorbmana, Alexander, Duccio Bonavia, Tom D. Dillehay, Dolores R Piperno, Jose Iriartef, Irene Holste, "Preceramic maize from Paredones and Huaca Prieta, Peru," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 December 2011.

"Ancient Popcorn Discovered in Peru," ScienceDaily, 18 Jan. 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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