The Sciences

Chili peppers go way back

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJul 11, 2007 11:41 PM

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Ancient Americans Liked It Hot: Mexican Cuisine Traced To 1,500 Years Ago:

Plant remains from two caves in southern Mexico analyzed by a Smithsonian ethnobotanist/archaeologist and a colleague indicate that as early as 1,500 years ago, Pre-Columbian inhabitants of the region enjoyed a spicy fare similar to Mexican cuisine today. The two caves yielded 10 different cultivars (cultivated varieties) of chili peppers. "This analysis demonstrates that chilies in Mexican food have been numerous and complex for a long period of time," said lead author Linda Perry, of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "It reveals a great antiquity for the Mexican cuisine that we're familiar with today."

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