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Economic Botany

, Volume 58, Supplement 1, pp S101–S110 | Cite as

Domestication of plants in Maya Lowlands

  • Patricia Colunga-GarcíaMarín
  • Daniel Zizumbo-Villarreal

Abstract

The Lowland Mayan culture has been one of the most successful in Mesoamerica. Being an agricultural society, part of their success was based on plant genetic resources which satisfied their needs of social reproduction. This article reviews recent evidence on early agriculture in the geographic area where Lowland Maya culture originated, and discusses its implications for the study of plant domestication and evolution under human selection within this cultural sub-area. Questions of interest for future research are posed. As working hypotheses, we list two categories of species possibly implicated in the origin of this civilization: (1) native species that could have been the subject of local human selection or to some degree of agricultural manipulation by 3400 b.c., and (2) species that could have been introduced from other cultural areas of America by 3400 b.c. and subsequently subjected to local human selection.

Key Words

Maya lowlands plant domestication early agriculture 

Domesticacion de plantas en las tierras bajas Mayas

Résumé

La cultura maya de las tierras bajas ha sido una de las más exitosas de Mesomérica. Siendo una sociedad agrícola, parte de su éxito ha estado basado en los recursos fitogenéticos que han satisfecho sus necesidades de reproducción social. En este artículo se revisa, dentro del contexto Mesoamericano, Ia evidencia reciente sobre Ia agricultura temprana en el área Geogr.áfica de origen de esta cultura, se analizan sus implicaciones para los estudios de domesticación de plantas y evolución bajo selección humana ocurridos en ella, y se plantean preguntas de interés para investigaciones futuras. Como hipótesis de trabajo, presentamos dos listas de especies posiblemente implicadas en el origen de esta civilización: (1) las especies nativas que pudieron ser objeto de selección humana local o de cierto grado de manipulación agrícola desde al menos 3400 b.c., y (2) las especies que pudieron ser introducidas de otras dreas culturales de América, desde al menos 3400 b.c. y haber sido objeto de selección humana local desde periodos tempranos.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Colunga-GarcíaMarín
    • 1
  • Daniel Zizumbo-Villarreal
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación Científica de YucatánMéridaMéxico

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