Archaeobotany and Domestication
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A day in the life of an Ubaid household: archaeobotanical investigations at Kenan Tepe, south-eastern Turkey

A day in the life of an Ubaid household: archaeobotanical investigations at Kenan Tepe, south-eastern Turkey | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Antiquity Vol 87:336, 2013 pp 405-417 - Philip J. Graham and Alexia Smith -- The Ubaid period in south-west Asia constitutes a key period of social and political change anticipating the emergence of complex societies in the following millennium. Well-preserved archaeobotanical assemblages have enormous potential to document these changes at both the site and individual household levels. The conflagration that consumed Structure 4 at the Ubaid settlement of Kenan Tepe in south-eastern Turkey provides a case study through the analysis of almost 70 000 charred macrobotanical remains. The results suggest that labour may have been pooled between households to process emmer wheat to spikelet stage after harvesting. Final processing was conducted on the roof of the house by members of the individual household as need arose. The pooling of resources may reflect the intensification of production and the emergence of elites during the Ubaid period in this region.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Ubaidy, ubaidy! And they burnt the store house down. Nice spatial analysis of archaeobotanical evidence and the social interpretation of crop-processing patterns (a la Stevens 2003).

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Archaeobotany and Domestication
Crop origins evidence from archaeology and botany
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Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion

Ancient crops provide first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The prehistoric settlement of Madagascar by people from distant Southeast Asia has long captured both scholarly and public imagination, but on the ground evidence for this colonization has eluded archaeologists for decades. Our study provides the first, to our knowledge, archaeological evidence for an early Southeast Asian presence in Madagascar and reveals that this settlement extended to the Comoros. Our findings point to a complex Malagasy settlement history and open new research avenues for linguists, geneticists, and archaeologists to further study the timing and process of this population movement. They also provide insight into early processes of Indian Ocean biological exchange and in particular, Madagascar’s floral introductions, which account for one-tenth of its current vascular plant species diversity.
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, July 12, 1:13 PM
This study documents that arrival of Asian rice in SE Africa and Madagascar from the 8th century AD
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Taming Nature, The Forum - BBC World Service

Taming Nature, The Forum - BBC World Service | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Living at the Edge: Life in Extreme Environments
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a World Service discussion on the creation of landscapes, or how nature and culture work together-- for artists, gardeners, and over the long-term for past societies. This very much relates to seeing the origins and development of agriculture as part of a long-term anthropocene process.
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Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice

Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Rice (Oryza) is one of the world’s most important and productive staple foods, with highly diverse uses and varieties. We use archaeobotany, culture, history, and ethnobotany to trace the history of the development of sticky (or glutinous) forms. True sticky rice is the result of a genetic mutation that causes a loss of amylose starch but higher amylopectin content. These mutations are unknown in wild populations but have become important amongst cultivars in East and Southeast Asia (unlike other regions). In the same region, other cereals have also evolved parallel mutations that confer stickiness when cooked. This points to a strong role for cultural history and food preparation traditions in the genetic selection and breeding of Asian cereal varieties. The importance of sticky rice in ritual foods and alcoholic beverages in East and Southeast Asia also suggests the entanglement of crop varieties and culturally inherited food traditions and ritual symbolism.
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, June 15, 6:07 AM
A review of the cultural importance of sticky rices throughout East and Southeast Asia with a model of their history that takes into account genetic evidence, archaeology, ancient history and the parallel evolution of other glutinous cereals like millets.
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Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data

Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Contamination with exogenous DNA is a constant hazard to ancient DNA studies, since their validity greatly depend on the ancient origin of the retrieved sequences. Since contamination occurs sporadically, it is fundamental to show positive evidence for ...
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This study models the expected decay patterns in 8000 year old wheat DNA and compares it that that reported from off the British coast earlier this year (http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/mesolithic-cereal-trade-in-europe.html). Turns out the sedimentary aDNA doesn't look to Mesolithic after all. Oops.

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Alternative strategies to agriculture: the evidence for climatic shocks and cereal declines during the British Neolithic and Bronze Age (a reply to Bishop)

Alternative strategies to agriculture: the evidence for climatic shocks and cereal declines during the British Neolithic and Bronze Age (a reply to Bishop) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Our suggestion that agriculture was temporarily abandoned for several centuries throughout much of mainland Britain after 3600 BC has provoked criticism, notably the claim by Bishop (2015) that we have missed continuity in Scotland. We demonstrate that firm evidence for widespread agriculture within the later Neolithic is still unproven. We trace the disappearance of cereals and the associated population collapse to a probable climatic shift that impacted the abundance of rainfall and lowered temperatures, thus affecting the reliability of cereals. Divergent strategies and patterns are identified on the Scottish Islands versus the mainland, which has more in common with England, Wales and Ireland. We argue that climate shocks disrupt existing subsistence patterns, to which varied responses are represented by divergent island and mainland patterns, both in the Late Neolithic and during the Early and Middle Bronze Age. Favourable climates encouraged population growth and subsistence innovation, such as at the start of the Neolithic and in the Beaker period.
 
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

An updated consideration of direct dates on British cereals, in reponse to debate offered by R. Bishop. When broken down by region the evidence is even more compelling that climatic changes impacted the persistence of cereal cultivation, but these impacts and subsistence strategies difference by region, with the Scottish islands notably distinct.

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SeedSearch

The Seed Sample database has 48,000 records accounted for 60% of all seed samples in herbarium, including about 1777 genus, 11149 species and 20,000 photos. Seeds collected from China, also came from all over the world by exchange.

 
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The seed collection of the Natinal Herbariu in Beijing is now ~60% digitized, with nice photos. A very useful resource. About 10 years ago I used the collection to learn some Chinese taxa. It is by no means comprehensive for Chinese flora but it is a good start.

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Phytoliths as a tool for investigations of agricultural origins and dispersals around the world

Phytoliths as a tool for investigations of agricultural origins and dispersals around the world | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Agricultural origins and dispersals are subjects of fundamental importance to archaeology as well as many other scholarly disciplines. These investigations are world-wide in scope and require significant amounts of paleobotanical data attesting to the exploitation of wild progenitors of crop plants and subsequent domestication and spread. Accordingly, for the past few decades the development of methods for identifying the remains of wild and domesticated plant species has been a focus of paleo-ethnobotany. Phytolith analysis has increasingly taken its place as an important independent contributor of data in all areas of the globe, and the volume of literature on the subject is now both very substantial and disseminated in a range of international journals. In this paper, experts who have carried out the hands-on work review the utility and importance of phytolith analysis in documenting the domestication and dispersals of crop plants around the world. It will serve as an important resource both to paleo-ethnobotanists and other scholars interested in the development and spread of agriculture.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

an updated review of phytolith approaches to tracing early crops, crop varieties and domestications.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 20, 2015 2:24 PM

Includes a summary of approaches to tracking rice in the archaeological phytolith record, including work from the UCL lab on rice cultivation ecology...

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PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC)

PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC) | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Baligang is a Neolithic site on a northern tributary of the middle Yangtze and provides a long archaeobotanical sequence from the Seventh Millennium BC upto the First Millennium BC. It provides evidence for developments in rice and millet agriculture influenced by shifting cultural affiliation with the north (Yangshao and Longshan) and south (Qujialing and Shijiahe) between 4300 and 1800 BC. This paper reports on plant macro-remains (seeds), from systematic flotation of 123 samples (1700 litres), producing more than 10,000 identifiable remains. The earliest Pre-Yangshao occupation of the sites provide evidence for cultivation of rice ( Oryza sativa ) between 6300–6700 BC. This rice appears already domesticated in on the basis of a dominance of non-shattering spikelet bases. However, in terms of grain size changes has not yet finished, as grains are still thinner than more recent domesaticated rice and are closer in grain shape to wild rices. This early rice was cultivated alongside collection of wild staple foods, especially acorns ( Quercus/Lithicarpus sensu lato). In later periods the sites has evidence for mixed farming of both rice and millets ( Setaria italica and Panicum miliaceum ). Soybean appears on the site in the Shijiahe period (ca.2500 BC) and wheat ( Triticum cf. aestivum ) in the Late Longshan levels (2200–1800 BC). Weed flora suggests an intensification of rice agriculture over time with increasing evidence of wetland weeds. We interpret these data as indicating early opportunistic cultivation of alluvial floodplains and some rainfed rice, developing into more systematic and probably irrigated cultivation starting in the Yangshao period, which intensified in the Qujialing and Shijiahe period, before a shift back to an emphasis on millets with the Late Longshan cultural influence from the north.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 7:31 AM

An important archaeobotanical sequence from central China, which charts the rise and fall of millets versus rice in this regions between the Yangshao and the Shijiahe period. It also has a much earlier occupation (6300 BC) with non-shattering (domesticated) rice, which makes this earlier than evidence in the Lower Yangtze (or anywhere else at present), but presumably a separate domestication episode...

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 8:53 AM

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.

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Juliet Clutton-Brock obituary | Science | The Guardian

Juliet Clutton-Brock obituary | Science | The Guardian | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Archaeozoologist whose body of work shines a light on the historical relationships between people and animals
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The passing of one of the great pioneers of modern zooarchaeology, and a synthesizer on animal domestications.

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Antiquity - Feeding Stonehenge: cuisine and consumption at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls - Cambridge Journals Online

Antiquity - Feeding Stonehenge: cuisine and consumption at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls - Cambridge Journals Online | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The discovery of Neolithic houses at Durrington Walls that are contemporary with the main construction phase of Stonehenge raised questions as to their interrelationship. Was Durrington Walls the residence of the builders of Stonehenge? Were the activities there more significant than simply domestic subsistence? Using lipid residue analysis, this paper identifies the preferential use of certain pottery types for the preparation of particular food groups and differential consumption of dairy and meat products between monumental and domestic areas of the site. Supported by the analysis of faunal remains, the results suggest seasonal feasting and perhaps organised culinary unification of a diverse community.
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

A major study of lipids form cooking pots: Evidence for feasting of pigs, cattle and milk products. Plants food have a notable absence of cereals, but only wild foods like hazelnut, sloe, onion couch grass and crabapple. So "were the builders of without cereals" (to quote Stevens & Fuller 2012)? Appears so.

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The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

According to Takayasu, the earliest traces of cannabis in Japan are seeds and woven fibers discovered in the west of the country dating back to the Jomon Period (10,000 BC – 300 BC). Archaeologists suggest that cannabis fibers were used for clothes – as well as for bow strings and fishing lines. These plants were likely cannabis sativa – prized for its strong fibers – a thesis supported by a Japanese prehistoric cave painting which appears to show a tall spindly plant with cannabis’s tell-tale leaves.

“Cannabis was the most important substance for prehistoric people in Japan. But today many Japanese people have a very negative image of the plant,” says Takayasu

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Indeed, currently the earliest archaeobotanical evidence for Cannabis comes from Early Jomon Japan, at sites such as Torihama (ca. 5000 BC) and Okinoshima (ca. 8000 BC).

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Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia

Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia

Product by AltaMira Press,U.S. ~ More about this product
Price: £130.00
Buy Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia by Karen Bescherer Metheny, Mary C. Beaudry (ISBN: 9780759123649) from Amazon's Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.
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A new edited pair of volumes with a wide range on contributors on topics from bread and clay balls to food globalization and weeds in archaeology.

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Britons may have imported wheat long before farming it - life - 26 February 2015 - New Scientist

Britons may have imported wheat long before farming it - life - 26 February 2015 - New Scientist | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The discovery of DNA in the southern part of the UK from what appears to be ancient wheat flour hints at a trade in what would have been a prestigious food
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

see my full comments on a blog post: http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/mesolithic-cereal-trade-in-europe.html

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, February 27, 2015 9:44 AM

This study is not about rice, but its method may have wide reperscussions in the study of other crops like rice.

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Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions

Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens. A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity—the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.TA
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:
A synthesis on the role of archaeology in documenting how long-term niche construction by human societies has shaped our world since the Pleistocene, and continues to do so. An anthropocene era did simply start with the invention of the steam engine.
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La desaparición de los paisajes 'vírgenes'

La desaparición de los paisajes 'vírgenes' | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
En diálogo con W Fin de Semana, Dorian Fuller, arqueólogo especializado en botánica, dijo que esto se debe a al actividad humana.
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A radio program on the long-term transformations of landscapes, such as the Amazon, through human action. Mostly in Spanish, but including an interview in English with Dorian Fuller
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BananasThe Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple - Oxford Handbooks

BananasThe Spread of a Tropical Forest Fruit as an Agricultural Staple - Oxford Handbooks | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The banana (Musa) is one of the world’s most important crops and the most valuable fruit in the global market. In the search for varieties that are more pest- and disease-resistant plant breeders are increasingly looking to the wild progenitors,—as understanding its evolution is key to genetic improvement. The banana was also an important economic crop in prehistory although it is difficult to track its history of domestication and evolution due to preservation issues, the lack of reliable species identification criteria and limited archaeological evidence. Just two archaeobotanical studies of macro-remains and phytoliths, in New Guinea and Cameroon, have provided reliable identifications and interpretations to help our understanding of the origins and evolution of the banana. But to track the spread and growing importance of this plant in the diet, across the tropics and through time, we need to combine information drawn from botany, genetics, linguistics and archaeology.
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Barnyard grasses were processed with rice around 10000 years ago

Barnyard grasses were processed with rice around 10000 years ago | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Rice (Oryza sativa) is regarded as the only grass that was selected for cultivation and eventual domestication in the Yangtze basin of China. Although both macro-fossils and micro-fossils of rice have been recovered from the Early Neolithic site of Shangshan, dating to more than 10,000 years before present (BP), we report evidence of phytolith and starch microfossils taken from stone tools, both for grinding and cutting, and cultural layers, that indicating barnyard grass (Echinochloa spp.) was
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, November 9, 2015 8:32 PM

Evidence for wild millet grass gathering and processing alongside rice in the millennia before clear evidence for the domestication process.

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Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate

Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Maybe the Paleo Diet should include a nice warm bowl of oatmeal. Strict followers of the fashionable “caveman” regimen shun starchy foods, sticking to breakfasts such as cold halibut with fruit and…
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Can Triticum urartu (Poaceae) be identified by pollen analysis? Implications for detecting the ancestor of the extinct two-grained einkorn-like wheat

Can Triticum urartu (Poaceae) be identified by pollen analysis? Implications for detecting the ancestor of the extinct two-grained einkorn-like wheat | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

The domestication of the one-grained einkorn (Triticum monococcum) in the Near East is relatively well known. However, an independent two-grained einkorn-like domestication has been archaeobotanically detected and scarce information is available. Triticum urartu, a wild wheat, was not fully described until the 1970s because the phenology does not allow it to be distinguished easily from wild einkorn (Triticum boeoticum subsp. thaoudar), although a genetic separation exists. Both species are mostly two grained and could potentially be the relatives of the extinct two-grained form. Pollen grains of several genetically well-identified wheat species, including T. urartu and T. boeoticum subsp. thaoudar, were studied by measuring the grain diameter and examining the exine sculpturing with phase-contrast microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to gain an insight into differences enabling taxonomic identification. This work showed that, although T. urartu pollen is smaller on average, grain diameter is not sufficient because of the size overlap between the species, but T. urartu presents a different exine sculpturing (scabrate) from other Triticum spp. (aerolate). This outcome is useful for taxonomists and archaeobotanists. First, it will allow a simple re-classification of herbarium materials. Second, further research could establish whether T. urartu was cultivated. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2015, 177, 278–289.

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Maybe the time has come to restart some archaeological palynology! We cal separate the pollen of Triticum urartu from Triticum monococcum, which means pollen may be a way forward to determine the identity of archaeological 2-grained einkorn, an important lost crop of the Early Near East and Neolithic Europe. Given that crop-processing disperses cereal pollen locally (see 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774300000615). This could prove a useful way forward.

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DNA trail leads to new spot for dog domestication | Science News

DNA trail leads to new spot for dog domestication | Science News | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Dogs were the first domesticated species, but the precise timing and location of domestication are hotly debated. Using genomic data from 5,392 dogs, including a global set of 549 village dogs, we find strong evidence that dogs were domesticated in Central Asia, perhaps near present-day Nepal and Mongolia. Dogs in nearby regions (e.g., East Asia, India, and Southwest Asia) contain high levels of genetic diversity due to their proximity to Central Asia and large population sizes. Indigenous dog populations in the Neotropics and South Pacific have been largely replaced by European dogs, whereas those in Africa show varying degrees of European vs. indigenous African ancestry.

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Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds

Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

An ancient Siberian wolf yields a first draft genome sequence of a Pleistocene carnivore

•The 35,000-year-old wolf genome allowed recalibration of the lupine mutation rate

•Dog ancestors diverged from modern wolf ancestors at least 27,000 years ago

•Ancient Siberian wolves contributed to the ancestry of high-latitude dog breeds

Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

ancient DNA from a Siberian wolf supported a divergence of domesticated dog at least 27,000 years, which in turn fits with 30,000 year archaeological dogs with ancient DNA published in recent years. Or to quote Larson and Fuller (2014) "

Dogs were first, and though significant
questions remain about exactly where, when, and how many times they were domesticated, they
were widely established across Eurasia before the end of the Pleistocene, well before cultivation
or the domestication of other animals".see also: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057754

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Evidence for plant cultivation at 23,000-year-old site in Galilee

Evidence for plant cultivation at 23,000-year-old site in Galilee | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
Earliest-known example of plant cultivation in the Levant is 11,000 years before agriculture practices took hold.…

Via David Connolly
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

Cultivation ad 23000? The evidence is certainly suggestive. But an example of dead-end as there is certainly no evidence that selection for domestication traits continued, or that cultivation spread and agirculture developed. A provocative and important study to think about.... deserved a full treatment is due course

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Plant domestication slows pest evolution -Ecology Letters -

Plant domestication slows pest evolution -Ecology Letters - | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Agricultural practices such as breeding resistant varieties and pesticide use can cause rapid evolution of pest species, but it remains unknown how plant domestication itself impacts pest contemporary evolution. Using experimental evolution on a comparative phylogenetic scale, we compared the evolutionary dynamics of a globally important economic pest – the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) – growing on 34 plant taxa, represented by 17 crop species and their wild relatives. Domestication slowed aphid evolution by 13.5%, maintained 10.4% greater aphid genotypic diversity and 5.6% higher genotypic richness. The direction of evolution (i.e. which genotypes increased in frequency) differed among independent domestication events but was correlated with specific plant traits. Individual-based simulation models suggested that domestication affects aphid evolution directly by reducing the strength of selection and indirectly by increasing aphid density and thus weakening genetic drift. Our results suggest that phenotypic changes during domestication can alter pest evolutionary dynamics.

 
Dorian Q Fuller's insight:

This study compared genetic diversity and indications for selection among aphids on crops and on wild plants and concludes that aphids followed multiple domestication pathways as pests, but that in association with domesticated plants aphids evolved more slowly, both by selection and drift, but instead maintained higher aphid genetic diversity.

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Antiquity - Phytoliths and rice: from wet to dry and back again in the Neolithic Lower Yangtze - Cambridge Journals Online

Antiquity - Phytoliths and rice: from wet to dry and back again in the Neolithic Lower Yangtze - Cambridge Journals Online | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it
The cultivation of rice has had a major impact on both societies and their environments in Asia, and in China in particular. Phytolith assemblages from three Neolithic sites in the Lower Yangtze valley reveal that in early rice fields the emphasis was on drainage to limit the amount of water and force the rice to produce seed. It was only in the later third millennium BC that the strategy changed and irrigated paddies came into use. The results demonstrate that plant remains, including weed assemblages, can reveal wetter or drier growing conditions, showing changes in rice cultivation from flooded and drained fields to large, intensively irrigated paddies.

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 12, 2015 9:44 AM

The phytolith wet:dry index applied to the evolution of rice in the Lower Yangtze

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 12, 2015 10:05 AM

The evolution of cultivation in the Lower Yangtze, as seen through phytoliths and field systms

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Ancient Food and Farming: Nuts about hazelnuts: the enduring tradition of foraging in Ireland

Ancient Food and Farming: Nuts about hazelnuts: the enduring tradition of foraging in Ireland | Archaeobotany and Domestication | Scoop.it

Hazelnuts have been an important food resource in Ireland for thousands of years. Hazelnuts usually ripen during autumn and are therefore seasonal, but hazelnuts are also easily storable, and so can be kept for eating throughout the year...

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A blog post on the importance of hazelnut in early farming societies of Ireland, present in 87% of Neolithic plant assemblages! See also discussion in Stevens and Fuller (2012): http://www.antiquity.ac.uk/ant/086/ant0860707.htm

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