Recognizing a Good Thing Growing

Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1273f
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5778.1273f

Remains of figs appear in several archaeological sites in the Jordan Valley as early as about 11,400 years ago. Kislev et al. (p. 1372; see the news story by Gibbons) describe these samples and show that they represent a variety of fig in which the fruit forms and ripens without pollination. This mutation arises on some fig trees, but the abundance of the remains implies that humans recognized these rare trees and propagated them by planting branches. Evidence of such activity may mark one of the earliest forms of agriculture.

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