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New Guinea Went Bananas: Agriculture's roots get a South Pacific twist

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11:37am, June 18, 2003

Situated in the South Pacific islands, remote New Guinea seems an unlikely place for the invention of agriculture. Yet that's precisely what happened there nearly 7,000 years ago, according to a new investigation.

Inhabitants of this tropical outpost cultivated large quantities of bananas about 3 millennia before the arrival of Southeast Asian seafarers, say archaeologist Tim P. Denham of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and his colleagues.

Agriculture thus arose independently in New Guinea, the scientists conclude in an upcoming Science.

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