UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Long and attenuated: comparative trends in the domestication of tree fruits

Fuller, DQ; (2017) Long and attenuated: comparative trends in the domestication of tree fruits. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 10.1007/s00334-017-0659-2. (In press). Green open access

[thumbnail of Published article]
Preview
Text (Published article)
10.1007%2Fs00334-017-0659-2.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Supplementary data]
Preview
Text (Supplementary data)
Fuller_Long_attenuated_comparative_trends_Suppl.pdf

Download (856kB) | Preview

Abstract

This paper asks whether we can identify a recurrent domestication syndrome for tree crops (fruits, nuts) and track archaeologically the evolution of domestication of fruits from woody perennials. While archaeobotany has made major contributions to documenting the domestication process in cereals and other annual grains, long-lived perennials have received less comparative attention. Drawing on examples from across Eurasia, comparisons suggest a tendency for the larger domesticated fruits to contain seeds that are proportionally longer, thinner and with more pointed (acute to attenuated) apices. Therefore, although changes in flavour, such as increased sweetness, are not recoverable, seed metrics and shape provide an archaeological basis for tracking domestication episodes in fruits from woody perennials. Where available, metrical data suggest length increases, as well as size diversification over time, with examples drawn from the Jomon of Japan (Castanea crenata), Neolithic China (Prunus persica) and the later Neolithic of the Near East (Olea europaea, Phoenix dactylifera) to estimate rates of change. More limited data allow us to also compare Mesoamerica avocado (Persea americana) and western Pacific Canarium sp. nuts and Spondias sp. fruits. Data from modern Indian jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana) are also considered in relation to seed length:width trends in relation to fruit contents (flesh proportion, sugar content). Despite the long generation time in tree fruits, rates of change in their seeds are generally comparable to rates of phenotypic evolution in annual grain crops, suggesting that gradual evolution via unconscious selection played a key role in initial processes of tree domestication, and that this had begun in the later Neolithic once annual crops had been domesticated, in both west and east Asia.

Type: Article
Title: Long and attenuated: comparative trends in the domestication of tree fruits
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00334-017-0659-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-017-0659-2
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Arboriculture, Nuts, Unconscious selection, Ziziphus, Prunus, Castanea, Olea, Phoenix, Near East, China
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041234
Downloads since deposit
104Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item