Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • New Guinea 'was agricultural pioneer'

Shares

Communities in Papua New Guinea developed agriculture independently of other cultures about 10,000 to 6,000 years ago, according to new research.

Data from the Kuk Swamp in the highlands of Papua New Guinea presented in this week's journal Science suggests that people there were farming banana and taro (a tuberous root with edible leaves) before outsiders reached New Guinea.

These findings may end a long-standing debate on the origins of New Guinea agriculture. They also suggest that New Guinea — along with Mesopotamia and up to three spots in the New World — may be one of the few places in the world where people clearly developed agriculture.

In a related article, Katharina Neumann of J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, writes, "Only a few regions were geographically suited to become the homelands of full agricultural systems. New Guinea seems to have been one of them."

Link to research article in Science by Tim Denham et al

Link to article in Science by Katharina Neumann

© SciDev.Net 2003
Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.