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Ancient Popcorn

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Ancient PopcornAncient Popcorn, It’s been known for some time that some people have been eating popcorn for a long time–about 5,000 years ago, to be exact–but it turns out the ancient popcorn-eating goes back quite a bit further than originally thought.

A team of scientists from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Washington’s Natural History Museum have uncovered evidence that people in what is now Peru have been eating popcorn and other corn-based foods 6,700 years ago, if not longer.

An assortment of ancient fossilized corncobs, husks, tassels and stalks were discovered by the teams in Paredones and Huaca Prieta, in Peru’s northern region. Additionally, the team found corn microfossils with starch grains, suggesting that not only did the ancient residents snack on popcorn, but they may have used corn for flour as well.

“Corn was first domesticated in Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago from a wild grass called teosinte,” said Dolores Piperno, co-author of the paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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