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Re: Maize origins [was re: "Corn" in medieval Europe]

pmv100@psu.edu (Peter van Rossum) wrote:

>In article <5dcjjo$dqt$1@trends.ca> yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky) writes:
>>If fossilized corncobs are found in India, the argument will be over,
>>sure. Ditto if genetic research proves (or disproves) beyond doubt that
>>maize was ancient in India. 

>Exactly, couldn't agree with you more.

>>But until such time as decisive evidence shows up, the investigation
>>should continue and all further evidence should be considered. So the fact
>>that no fossils are available so far does not mean much. It's simply a
>>lack of evidence and is of little consequence. 

>All well and good.  And as long as Precolumbian maize in India proponents
>want to say that it is a possible, yet still unproven hypothesis I
>don't know of anyone who would have a problem with this.  Where the whole
>thing gets out of hand is when individuals claim that the matter has
>been definitely settled, that J&P's work proves for certain maize was in
>India, and that anyone who disagrees with this is wrong and/or covering
>up the truth.

>Again if J&P or any of their followers feel that sufficient work has not 
>been done at relevant sites then I suggest that they go about organizing 
>a detailed archaeological investigation which will examine the cultural
>and botanical remains at such sites.  If they don't go about such work 
>then we'll just have to wait until Indian archaeologists get to such
>work for their own reasons.

>Peter van Rossum

        Perhaps I'm a bit new to this newsgroup and  certainly to this thread.
However, I had the same question before, and got some decent answers
off sci.bio.evolution.  I had seen in Bede and in Tacitus (and I
believe also in Seutonius) references made to "corn" crops and
"corn"supplies in Europe at dates much earlier than the medieval
period.  However, I really think that the "corn" referred to is much
like a "barley-corn", and NOT a derivative of maize.

        As far as I know, all genetic evidence (and by that, I mean nuclear,
chloroplast, and mitochondrial DNA evidence) indicates a Meso-American
or South American origin for maize, and an introduction to Europe
during the Age of Discovery.  I do not believe that there is any good
genetic evidence to indicate that maize left the Americas and appeared
in Europe or the Indian subcontinent before then.