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2,000-Year-Old Evidence of Cultivated Bananas Identified

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Australia Wagadagam TerraceSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Evidence of banana cultivation some 2,000 years ago has been found on Mabuiag Island, which is located in the Torres Strait, between the tip of northern Australia and the island of New Guinea, according to a Cosmos Magazine report. With the permission of the island's Goemulgal community, a team led by Robert Williams of the University of Sydney examined soil from an ancient agricultural site at Wagadagam and found thousands of microscopic fossilized starch grains and banana phytoliths. The researchers also uncovered traces of terraces at the site, indicating that banana cultivation had intensified on the island about 1,300 years ago. Williams and his colleagues did not find any traces of wild banana plants, however, which suggests that the banana crop was transplanted from New Guinea, he added. To read about the introduction of bananas to Oceania, go to "Around the World: Vanuatu."

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