[I have corrected this post somewhat in Jan '98 because of criticisms offered by my Net friends.]

Subject:      Re: bananas (Musa) in America
From:         yuku@mail.trends.ca (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/08/21
Message-ID:   <5tho0h$3f6$1@trends.ca>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.bio.botany,sci.bio.misc,bionet.g

Many thanks, Michael, for this further and more recent data. I suppose the
mystery of the ancient American banana is becoming easier to understand

It seems that the info you provide here indicates quite strongly that
Musa may have been present in America _millions of years_ before
Columbus. So one can wonder just how solid was the evidence on which the 
mainstream botanists are still basing their conclusion that Musa was
native to Asia...

Is it possible that Musa was taken from America at a very early date and
became so common in Asia that it could have been mistaken for being native
to Asia?

If we take this info into consideration, another possible scenario is
that Musa was domesticated indepently in both America and Asia.

Best wishes,


Yuri Kuchinsky   | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
     -=-         | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
 in Toronto      | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
 ----- my webpage is for now at: [22]http://www.io.org/~yuku -----

Michael Sternberg ([23]mstern@cnw.com) wrote:
: See Manchester, S.R.,1995, Yes, We Had Bananas, Oregon geology V.57
: No.2, p41-42
: Abstract
: "A fossil banana has been recovered from the middle Eocene Clarno
: Formation, Wheeler County, Oregon.  The fruit is preserved as an
: impression in lacustrine shale from the West Branch Creek assemblage.
: It is 4 cm. long, 1.5 cm, wide, and slightly curved and has well-defined
: longitudinal and transverse striations.  Three rows of about ten seeds
: are evident, and these seeds correspond in external form to
: permineralized seeds that occur elsewhere in the Clarno Formation.  The
: new information from fruit morphology, together with previous
: investigations of seed structure, indicate that the Clarno banana
: belongs to Ensete, a genus that is native to the Old World tropics
: today.  The presence of this and many other tropical to subtropical
: fruits in the Clarno Formation indicates that Oregon experienced a warm,
: humid climate about 43 million years ago."
: The Mustaceae contains three genera, Musa, Ensete and Musella.  The
: familiar store bought banana is Musa acuminata, bred for negligible
: seeds.

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