Peach Is a Paleo Fruit?
The sweet and juicy fruit that we know today would have existed in China long before the arrival of modern man.
The peaches that could be enjoyed by prehistoric men were very close to the present peaches. This is evidenced by the discovery of more than 2.5 million years of fossil Peach in southwestern China, which were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Peach is the fruit of Prunus persica, a tree of the rosaceae family. It is a very consumed fruit in the world, with an annual output of 20 million tons. Originally from China, the fruit has many meanings in Chinese tradition, where it symbolizes immortality in Taoist mythology, but also good fortune and beauty.
In this article, the researchers describe the discovery of eight encodarps (nuclei) of fossil peaches, well preserved in spite of their age. Tao Su, the main author of the article, discovered these fossils near his home in Kunming, Yunnan, in southwest China, while roadworks revealed dating rocks Of the Pliocene.
According to this fossil evidence, peaches would have preceded humans because the specimens were about 2.6 million years old. This discovery brings new information about the history of the evolution of the fruit.
The results suggest that the peach evolved by natural selection before humans domesticated the fruit, as explained by Peter Wilf, a paleobotanical professor at Penn State and co-author of the article: “Does Peach that we see today is something that has resulted from artificial propagation in agriculture since prehistoric times, or has it evolved under natural selection? The answer is really both. He adds: “Peach has witnessed the human colonization of China. She was there before the humans. “ That is, before Homo erectus and Homo sapiens who had to consume it.
Moreover, the found fossils were identical to modern nuclei. Today, the size of the nucleus is linked to that of the fruit. If this correlation existed at the time, the fruits of the Pliocene were to measure on the order of 5.2 cm in diameter, which is close to the present small peaches : “If you imagine the smallest commercial peach of today , This is what they should look like. “ Fleshy, edible peaches, which were already delicious.
According to the researchers, the ancient peaches were growing in a region with a warmer and wetter climate than today. Frugivorous animals like primates had to eat these peaches and disperse them. It was much later on the arrival of modern man that the peach was domesticated and cultivated; Humans have created new varieties of larger size and spread the fruit throughout the world.
Su T, Wilf P, Huang Y, Zhang S, Zhou Z. Peaches Preceded Humans: Fossil Evidence from SW China. Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 26;5:16794. doi: 10.1038/srep16794.