China cradle of rice cultivation, indicates new evidence

March 28th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, March 28 (ANI): Archaeologists have come across new proof which determines that China is the cradle of rice cultivation.

For the research, Dorian Fuller from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, Zheng Yunfei from Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Antiquity and Archaeology and a few other Chinese archaeologists, investigated rice remains at the Neolithic excavation site of Tianluoshan, part of the local Hemudu Neolithic Culture that goes back 7,000 years in Zhejing province.

Their research concluded that rice cultivation was slowly domesticated over the course of two or three millennia in the Lower Yangtze region of Zhejiang, China between 6,900 and 6,600 years ago.

“The Hemudu people may not have been the first to initiate rice cultivation, but they certainly did cultivate rice and eventually domesticate it,” said Zheng.

In their research, the team turned to an important trait for rice domestication - loss of seed shattering.

Wild rice shatters automatically, while domesticated rice will not, even when it reaches maturity. It needs to be threshed, according to Qin.

As they dug at the Hemudu site, they observed that the percentage of rice remains among all plant remains went up from eight to 24 percent.

This pointed to the increasing dietary importance of rice over time at the site.

The researchers also separated the rice remains into three categories (wild, domestic, and immature) based on their shattering signs, and determined that as time progressed, the domestic type of rice had increased in occurrence from about 27 to 39 percent over the course of 300 years.

“It is on the basis of this indicator that we have come to our conclusion, convincing not only us but also others,” said Qin. (ANI)

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