Fruits And Vegetables Looked Very Different Before Humans Intervened

Even if you buy the most organic, heirloom, home-grown, all-natural variety available, you'd be amazed at how different fruits and vegetables look from their ancestors centuries ago. Take the banana, for example. The first bananas were probably cultivated around 7,000–10,000 years ago from wild varieties that were small, tough, and full of large seeds. Through a process of artificial selection—that is, humans only allowing the plants with the most desirable characteristics to reproduce—bananas eventually turned into the sweet, seedless fruits we know today. Carrots used to be nothing more than thin white roots, which humans cultivated into slightly larger yellow, purple, and eventually orange varieties over centuries. Modern-day corn comes from a grass called teosinte. Though this grass does produce something that resembles kernels, corn of today looks so unlike its grass ancestor that we didn't realize corn and teosinte were related until scientist George Beadle studied their genetics in the 1930s. Though the history of the eggplant is still up for debate, most agree it can be traced back to something prickly and poisonous in the nightshade family. Whatever its official forbearer, the first domesticated eggplants were small, round, and green with a bitter flavor. Explore the science of domestication with the videos below.

Fruits And Vegetables Look Nothing Like They Used To

You wouldn't recognize the pre-domesticated versions of your favorite produce.

How Do Farmers Make Seedless Fruit?

If they don't have seeds, how do we grow more of them?

The Difference Between Domestication And Genetic Engineering

They're actually quite similar.

Written by Ashley Hamer September 1, 2016

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