Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK have announced the discovery of fossils of ancient human bones that, according tomedia, will help solve a major food mystery: When did humans in Central America start eating corn? The discovery is considered “unprecedented” because the bones are so well preserved in the rock bunkers where they were found.
Corn, like wheat, rice and other crops, is a staple food for millions of people around the world. In the thousands of years since corn was first grown, the mystery of when humans began to eat the crop in large quantities remains unanswered.
Despite the humid environment, these ancient swashes remain intact, which is “extremely rare” in the field of the discovery of ancient human remains. Dr Mark Robinson, deputy director of the site excavation, explains:
“This is the only cemetery in the new tropics that has been reused for 10,000 years, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to study dietary changes over time, including the introduction of corn into the region. This is the first direct evidence of when changes in people’s diets occur and how the importance of corn in the economy and diet increases until it becomes the basis of people’s diet, economic and religious life. “
It is understood 44 skeletons, including adults and children, were found in the excavation, which provided a wide sample of the population at the time. Of these remains, the oldest is between 8,600 and 9,600, while the youngest is around 1,000.
The bones reveal the region’s long-standing diet, from a hunter-gatherer diet involving wildlife to a growing consumption of corn; As language, civilization and technology become more complex and the environment changes, consumption of this staple crop may have spread throughout the Americas.