Scientists find out when people started using tobacco
Tobacco seeds were burned 12,300 years ago.
Today, harmful tobacco is widespread everywhere. Tobacco use causes nicotine addiction, which is not easy to overcome. But when the person & # 171; got hooked & # 187; for this drug? Archaeological finds said that this happened a long time ago. But the new discovery pushes this date several thousand years ago, Chronicle.info reports with reference to Channel 24.
In Utah, USA, scientists have discovered an ancient hearth. It is located in the middle of the desert on the site of a modern US Air Force military training ground. At the hearth, archaeologists have found charred tobacco seeds, which experts say is evidence of its use. Mesoamericans burned the hotbed 12,300 years ago.
Nicotine addiction of Mesoamericans
Tobacco entered the old world after the discovery of America. In 1559, Hernandez de Boncalo brought tobacco to Europe, where it was planted in Toledo, Spain. It is likely that it is him that we should & # 171; thank & # 187; for nicotine addiction, which spread throughout Europe.
But the indigenous people of America have long used tobacco both for ceremonial and ritual purposes, and simply because of their addiction to nicotine. Earlier, the earliest evidence of the use of the plant dates back to around 1300 BC. Now, however, this date has probably moved to 10,300 BC.
At the excavation site, scientists also found the bones of animals that people ate, and stone tools.
How did Mesoamericans use tobacco 12,300 years ago?
Most likely, pipes for smoking did not exist then. Scientists believe that the tobacco was most likely chewed and, after use, was simply spat out into the fire. The seed itself does not contain nicotine. But it is in the leaves, to which the seed could adhere.
The seeds found belong to Nicotiana attuata. This species is characterized by the highest level of nicotine among wild varieties.
Why are scientists sure that tobacco seeds did not fall into the outbreak by accident?
12,300 years ago, swamps were located on the site of a desert near the Great Salt Lake. These were ideal conditions for people to live, because there they could hunt birds and animals.
But tobacco could not grow under such conditions. The seed is also not so light as to be carried by the wind. They also could not use it for lighting, because the plant did not grow nearby, but burned very quickly. It was easier to find a tree.
Scientists separately assumed the possibility that tobacco seeds got into the hearth thanks to a bird caught in a hunt. But, scientists say, birds do not eat tobacco.
Perhaps ducks are smarter than humans, and therefore do not eat tobacco, jokes the author of the study Daron Duke.
That is why scientists suggest that the nicotine-containing plant was specifically consumed by humans. Perhaps it helped them concentrate. But tobacco consumption could have occurred for ceremonial purposes as well.
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