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Biology 199 – Mesoamerican Ethnobotany Leah Gerald Assignment 2: due Thursday 11 October 2012 From the BlackBoard “readings”

folder, obtain a copy of the following paper, print a hardcopy, read it carefully, and answer the questions below. Erickson, D. L., B. D. Smith, A. C. Clarke, D. H. Sandweiss, & N. Tuross. 2005. An Asian origin for a 10,000-year-old domesticated plant in the Americas. PNAS 102: 18315-18320. 1. The text of many scientific papers follows a standard format (abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, literature cited) with major sections of the paper bearing these headings. Standard sectional headings are mostly absent in the Erickson et al. paper. On your hardcopy, mark the beginning and end of the abstract, beginning and end of the introduction, and beginning and end of the discussion. What’s left is the authors’ presentation of several different but related investigations of bottle gourds, each sub-study marked by a heading in bold font. 2. The content of each sub-study contains what sort(s) of information (in terms of the usual format for a scientific paper-see above)? The first section contains information about where and when the bottle gourds have been seen in history, the second section talks about the morphology of the gourds and how it has changed in relation to humans (domestication), the third section talks about the controversy of how the bottle gourds came to the new world and from where, the fourth, fifth, and sixth sections talk about the process they went through in looking at the DNA, analysis, and results, and the final section

but they have found earlier dates of bottle gourds in asia. and then the domesticated type spread to Asia and the new world. which proves that they must have originated in Africa. What evidence indicates that the domesticated bottle gourd (as a species) must have originated in Africa? The only site where both domesticated and wild type gourds have been found is in Africa.introduction 3-Establishing the source of introduction L siceraria into the new world – method and materials/results 4-Discussion . In terms of how scientific papers are supposed to be written the paper is organized like so: 1-The temporal context of arrival and early dispersal introduction 2-Morphological evidence for domestication in the bottle gourd . 4. What do the author’s mean when they refer to the bottle gourd as an “African enigma?” The author’s are referring to the fact that the bottle gourd supposedly originated in africa.000 bp . 5.000-9.sums up their results and observations. Which archeological site has yielded the oldest record of bottle gourds in the Americas? How old are these oldest samples? The oldest yielding site in the Americas is Guila Naquitz.discussion 3. with dates from 10.

but recently they found a wild type in Africa. All these are signs of domestication. 8. Also overtime they grew to lack the seed dispersal mechanisms.) They address this problem by either directly taking plants directly from rural areas (well provinienced ethnographic specimens). which made them more durable. and what fairly recent discovery made this interpretation possible? For a long time. because Africa is the only location where they were able to find wild types for comparison. how did the investigators acquire samples for DNA analysis that would reliably differentiate traditional African domesticates from traditional Asian domesticates? (Note. What do we now know about the morphological changes that took place in the in the domestication of bottle gourds.6. which indicate domestication of bottle gourds must have originated in Africa. but they did find one nuclear microsatellites marker that exhibits fixed differences between the modern African and Asian land races. traditional Asian domesticates or traditional African domesticates? The American archeological bottle gourds most closely resemble the Asian domesticates. and an increase in fruit rind thickness. 7. these “traditional” cultivars are nevertheless “modern” relative to the archeological ancient samples. They observed that Archeological rind fragments (in Americas). In the plants they found. overall levels of genetic variation were very low. Which group did the DNA sequence of ancient American archeological bottle gourds most closely resemble. which predated . there was no wild type gourd to compare. which makes them human dependent. Humans always select for highly desirable traits. so in the bottle gourd. they selected for thicker exocarps. Despite modern-day global trade in bottle-gourd seeds.

Briefly outline the author’s favored interpretation of how bottle gourds were introduced to the Americas. The degree of genetic separation between modern Asian and modern African subspecies of the gourd is parralled by very different archeobotanical records for the plant in two different regions.the arrival of Europeans. however bottle gourd has yet to be recovered from any paleoindian cultural contexts. found the DNA was identical to the modern Asian group 9. . Turn in your hardcopy of the paper (with sections marked as per question #1) along with your answers to questions 2-9. Their evidence also suggest that the gourd was independtly domesticated at least twice. The author’s favor the idea of a paleoindian near-coast introduction representing a most plausible alternative.