Human domestication of soybeans is thought to have first occurred in central China some 3,000 years ago, but archaeologists now suggest that cultures in even earlier times and in other locations adopted the legume (Glycine max).
Comparisons of 949 charred soybean samples from 22 sites in northern China, Japan and South Korea -- found in ancient households including hearths, flooring and dumping pits -- with 180 modern charred and unburned samples were detailed in the Nov. 4 edition of the online journal PLoS ONE, a publication of the Public Library of Science. The findings, say lead author Gyoung-Ah Lee, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon, add a new view to long-running assumptions about soybean domestication that had been based on genetic and historical records.
"Preserved beans have been carbonized, and that distorts the sizes," Lee said. "So we experimented with modern soybeans, charring them to compare them with historical samples. All the different sizes and shapes of soybeans may indicate different efforts in different times by different cultural groups in different areas."
Today, of course, soybeans are used as livestock feed and to make cooking oil, tofu, tempeh, edamame and protein powder for human consumption.
The new archaeological evidence, Lee says, should be a springboard for archaeologists, crop scientists and plant geneticists to collaborate on understanding cultural contributions, which may lead them to better soybean characteristics. Cultural knowledge, she said, could fill in gaps that relate to domestication and genetic changes of the legume.
"I think one contribution that archaeologists can make is how peoples in ancient times contributed to our heritage of this viable crop and how we can trace their efforts and the methods to help guide us to make even better crops today," Lee said.
In Lee's homeland of South Korea, the research team uncovered evidence for a cultural selection for larger sized soybeans at 3,000 years ago. The evidence for such dating, which also surfaced in Japan, indicates that the farming of soybeans was much more widespread in times much earlier than previously assumed, researchers concluded.
Co-authors with Lee and Crawford were Li Liu of the Stanford University Archaeology Center, Yuka Sasaki of Paleo Labo Co. in Japan, and Xuexiang Chen of Shandong University in China.
The Australian Research Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, National Science Foundation of China and the National Science Foundation in the United States supported the research through various grants to the co-authors.
About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.
Sources: Gyoung-Ah Lee, assistant professor, anthropology department, 541- 346-4442, email@example.com; Gary Crawford, professor, anthropology department, University of Toronto Mississauga, 905-569-4656, firstname.lastname@example.org
Audio with Gyoung-Ah Lee
What archaeology brings to soybean research: http://test.uonews.uoregon.edu/sites/all/files/uonews/uploads/Archaeological%20View.mp3
What the record now says: http://test.uonews.uoregon.edu/sites/all/files/uonews/uploads/Soybean%20Record%20for%20Now.mp3
A need for interdisciplinary research: http://test.uonews.uoregon.edu/sites/all/files/uonews/uploads/Why%20this%20matters.mp3
UO Department of Anthropology: http://pages.uoregon.edu/anthro/
About Gyoung-Ah Lee: http://pages.uoregon.edu/anthro/people/faculty/core-faculty/#lee
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction