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Earth Science

Scientists Solve Mystery of World-Traveling Plant 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-journey dept.
sciencehabit writes "By land or by sea? That's the question scientists have been pondering for decades when it comes to the bottle gourd, a plant with a hard-skinned fruit that's used by cultures all over the world to make lightweight containers and other tools. Archaeologists know that people were using domesticated bottle gourds in the Americas as early as 10,000 years ago. But how did the plant make the jump from its original home in Africa to the New World with an ocean in the way? A new study overturns previous evidence pointing to a human-assisted land migration and concludes that the bottle gourd floated across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas on its own."
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Scientists Solve Mystery of World-Traveling Plant

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Obligatory (Score:4, Informative)

    by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@NOspam.gmail.com> on Monday February 10, 2014 @11:01PM (#46215071)

    No, the bottle gourd exists in its present form because it has been domesticated for so long. It may well be the first domesticated plant, domesticated so long in fact that it only reproduces in the wild with great difficulty. The shell is so impervious to water that seeds don't get watered until the pod finally rots a year or more later, by which time the seeds are no longer viable.

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