back to article Boffins dig up prehistoric popcorn in Peru

Mankind was scoffing prehistoric popcorn 1,000 years earlier than previously thought, reckons a top archaeologist. Before anyone along the arid north coast of Peru bothered crafting ceramic art or making cooking pots, let alone building cinemas and other attractions in which the crunchy snack is often wolfed down by modern Man …


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  1. bigphil9009

    Are you sure that's maize? It looks far more like something i used to enjoy during my university days :D

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least

    they wouldn't have had to put up with artificial butter flavouring.

  3. Bruno Girin

    This being Latin America, they probably had their popcorn with chilli rather than salted or sweet.

    1. Iceman

      Only a few latin american countries eat with hop seasoning...

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Popcorn near burial mounds?

    Maybe someone was celebrating a rich relative finally snuffing it and leaving them a load of dosh (llama skins, sea shells, livestock, whatever) or that lovely piece of pottery she always promised me, what ever aunt Hoxtatl says!

  5. Southern

    Amazing find...

    I bet the Peruvian cinema had better films as well.

  6. Captain Scarlet Silver badge


    Sorry but Toffee over sweet and salted any day

    /me smiles and teeth fall out

  7. Lucas 1
    Thumb Down

    Do you ever feel like you use the term "boffin" too much in your headlines. Try researchers or scientists. Mix it up a little. Boffin's getting a little cutesy.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge


      They're also both too long.


  8. Pete the not so great
    Thumb Up

    just the thing to nibble on...

    Whilst watching the sacrifice

  9. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Did the Incans invent the 40-ounce soda too??

    One wonders about how our Euro-ancestors ever conquered these innovative indians!!

    P.S.--"eggheads" or "brainiacs" are perfectly good substitutes for the now-overused "boffin"

  10. K. Adams
    Thumb Up

    And people say junk food...

    ... is a modern invention. :-)

    Exhibit B looks more like a pine cone, to my eyes, at least. Strange shape for a corn cob, but it is three to six thousand years old, after all.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Junk food

      As a snack, roasted maize isn't bad (low calories, high fiber) - but you probably knew that.

      The real problems are either eating boatloads of the stuff drowned in salt, sugar, and/or fat, in Modern Fat Westerner (MFW) style, or making it too large a part of the regular diet. The latter probably contributed to the fall of Cahokia, for example. (Cahokia, near what's now St Louis, was a major Mississippian settlement; in the 13th century its population was comparable to that of London.)

      As for the pine-cone shape of Exhibit B - that's a pretty common cob shape for maize varieties that existed prior to modern farming. There are similar ones on the cover of the book "Indian Corn of the Americas", for example. You can buy cobs like that around here (Michigan) in the summer, at farmers' markets and such.

      Teosinte, on the other hand, is very different from maize (morphologically; genetically they're pretty close, though cross-fertility is limited). Apparently the ancient Mexicans bred a *lot* of generations of selected teosinte strands to arrive at maize. And maize has to be domesticated - it generally can't reproduce in the wild, because the kernels don't separate from the cob on their own.

  11. scarshapedstar
    Paris Hilton

    Is that your cob, mate?

    It's not 5 cm long!

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