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- noun Plural form of
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In other words, we need to know exactly where our crops came from, so that botanists can breed new and better cultigens for the future.
Though it was, we suggest, the presence of exorphins that caused cereals and not an alternative already prevalent in the diet to be the major early cultigens, this does not mean that cereals are ‘just drugs’.
Yams and taro, both root crops, were cultivated in the New Guinea highlands by at least 7000 B.C.E. Agriculture became a staple throughout the southwestern Pacific by 2500 B.C.E. The new economies enabled offshore navigators to carry storable foods as well as cultigens, even edible dogs, chickens, and pigs, on long open-water voyages.
On a continent where land-to-labor ratios have historically been high, economic development might have been quite different if these cultigens had been imported and people not exported.
However, it also led to the importation into Africa of New World cultigens, including maize, sweet potato, and cassava, which have become staples throughout much of tropical Africa.
On the cultural level, the most important processes include the migration of Bantu speakers throughout the central and southern half of the continent; the widespread diffusion of iron technology, which accelerated the Bantu migrations; the domestication of new cultigens, especially varieties of banana; and the development of communities that mixed agriculture and cattle raising.
One botanist in the group had no appreciation of the intricacies of problems and situations found when trying to name some complex groups of cultigens.