The paleobiolinguistics of domesticated chili pepper (Capsicum spp.)

SCIENTISTS; Eastern Africa

Brown C H ; Clement, C R ; Epps, P ; Luedeling, E ; Wichmann, S


Abstract: Paleobiolinguis cs employs the compara ve method of historical linguis cs to reconstruct the biodiversity known to human groups of the remote, unrecorded past. Comparison of words for biological species from languages of the same language family facilitates reconstruc on of the biological vocabulary of the family’s ancient proto-language. This study uses paleobiolinguis cs to establish where and when chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) developed significance for different prehistoric Na ve American groups. This entails mapping in both me and geographic space proto-languages for which words for chili pepper reconstruct. Maps show the broad distribu on of Capsicum through Mesoamerica and South America mirroring its likely independent domes ca on in these regions. Proto-language dates indicate that human interest in chili pepper had developed in most of La n America at least a millennium before a village-farming way of life became widespread.

Keyword(s): Domestication ; Chili ; paleobiolinguistics

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 Record created 2013-11-28, last modified 2013-11-28

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