An End to Existing Mystery of Bottle Gourds with New Research

An End to Existing Mystery of Bottle Gourds with New Research

The novel research has put an end to the existing mystery about how the bottle gourds reached America about 10,000 years ago, despite the origin of bottle gourds in Africa.

Earlier, researchers were perplexed with the fact that whether the New World bottle gourds are more closely related to the African or Asian subspecies.

This mystery was solved with the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. The study revealed that there exist some genetic similarities between the pre-Columbian bottle gourds found in the Americas and the bottle gourds of the Asian subspecies.

It also concluded that ancient Americans must have carried bottle gourds on their migration from Africa to America. But, this finding raised question in mind of some scientists, as they believe that it is not very likely for people to carry the tropical plant through years of traveling across the Arctic.

In the recent research, Logan Kistler, an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and his colleagues used updated technologies to find solution to this mystery. They compared DNA samples of 86,000 base pairs of current and ancient gourds found in America with samples of both current and ancient gourds found in Africa.

Researchers found similarity in genetic characteristics of both archeological and modern American gourds.

With the help of updated models and analyzing data on ocean currents, researchers have been successful in determining how bottle gourds might have made their way to America. They found that the ancestors of New World bottle gourds floated from West coast of Africa to the coast of Brazil at an average period of 9 months.

The research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the bottle gourds were found by the first human American settlers in the wild population and were not carried by American migrants.

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