Birth of maize farming in Mexico dated back to 5,300 BC





A Florida State University anthropologist has new evidence that ancient farmers in Mexico were cultivating an early form of maize, the forerunner of modern corn, about 7,300 years ago -- 1,200 years earlier than scholars previously thought.

Researcher Mary Pohl conducted an analysis of sediments in the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco and concluded that people there were planting crops in the New World about 5300 BC.

The discovery of cultivated maize in Tabasco, a tropical lowland area, challenges previously held ideas that Mesoamerican farming originated in the semi-arid highlands of Mexico and shows an earlier than previously believed exchange of food plants.

The results of Pohl's study appear in yesterday's edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



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