ancient corn

Yuri Kuchinsky yuku at
Sun Jun 8 11:38:23 EST 1997


Here's a reply to an earlier post by you. With all these discussions going
on at the same time, it's not easy to stay abreast with what's going on...

GKeyes6988 (gkeyes6988 at wrote:
: Yuri wrote:

: : The archaic varieties of which Yuri speaks have been mostly debunked :
(like : : the "waxy" varieties in southern Asia)

: >This is incorrect. Nothing was "debunked".
: Not to your satisfaction, I'm sure.  But the waxy endosperm varieties can
: be accounted for without recourse to Chinese/Polynesian/East
: Indian/Japanese/Phonecian/African corn merchants.

Fine, Greg. But, as I pointed out to you before, the archaic varieties are
certainly _not limited_ to this waxy endosperm corn that you're so
interested in.


: >Yes, Greg, I remember that post of yours. It was quite interesting. If
: >memory serves, it indicated, among other things, that Sachan, one of the
: >two authors of that notorious (and quite weak) rebuttal to Johannessen in
: >ECONOMIC BOTANY, himself accepts now that maize was precolumbian in
: >India! 
: Whether the rebuttle to Sachan was "quite weak" or not is a matter of
: opinion.
: I'm not entirely certain that this was the same Sachan (not an uncommon
: name in parts of India) but you may be right.  
: If it was the same guy, it hurts my head to try to figure out what that
: means. 

Yes, the same guy, as we already confirmed.

: He doesn't believe in your temple carvings (I don't either.  I'm
: an amateur corn breeder, and they don't look like corn to me) but he
: believes in Precolumbian corn in India.  Yes, if it's the same Sachan, you
: have a point, that's kind of weird.  

Well, I can tell no better than you what's going on in his head... I'm no
mind reader... Why don't you ask the "Egyptian concrete theorists" about
it? Perhaps they can help us? 

: What you really ought to be pointing out here is that, in essence (or more
: correctly, in a sense), I've agreed with you.  There exist claims about
: precolumbian corn which I am not equiped to evaluate -- either to support
: or contradict -- nor have I seen anyone contradict it, nor have I found
: references that contradict it.  This is the one "corn" claim which has so
: far encountered no opposition from any quarter.



: >Well, they are not found in America either, or they are extremely rare in
: >America.
: Whoa, these are entirely different claims. 

Well, one of these archaic varieties was only found somewhere in S. 
America only relatively recently in some remote area, as far as I know.
They couldn't find it for a long time. 

(If you're familiar with the history of this debate, you will know that
a number of researchers in the past argued that _corn was native to
India_, and not America! They were basing their theories on the fact that
some of the varieties of maize in India were not _then_ known to exist in
America at all. So no one misunderstands me now -- these theories are now
universally, and rightly, considered obsolete. The only reason I mention
these old theories now is to demonstrate how unusual and unique these
"archaic" varieties of corn in India are.) 

: If they exist at all in America,
: then there is no reason to suspect that they came to India in
: Precolumbian times. 

How's this again? There seems to be a problem with your reasoning.

Fact: one archaic variety of corn found in India is _extremely rare_ in
America. It was probably unavailable to Europeans who came to America
after Columbus. By my lights, this would indicate that the likelihood that
Europeans brought it to India is extremely low -- since it is an
archaic/primitive, i.e. unproductive and poorly tasting variety. Logically
there's no reason why Europeans would have been interested in it at all at
the time.

Conclusion: there's a strong probability that Europeans did not bring it
to India.

Any problem with my logic above?


: My point above was that if you are suggesting that this "archaic maize"
: which may have been in Nepal was being grown and consumed in Europe when
: Columbus sailed the Ocean blue, there is no evidence for it. 

Did I offer any evidence so far? No. I only made a suggestion. It is not
clear at all that I am wrong. Old European herbals talk about some
extremely rough corn hard to digest, and suitable only for cattle. It is
possible that this corn is identical to the archaic corn still grown in
Nepal and the highlands of India today. Why do you think Europeans would
have brought this rough corn to Europe at all?! Is it plain stupidity on
their part or what -- when better varieties were readily available in
Mexico? Think about it... 

I'm not making any claims, but simply talking about _probabilities_.
Please, try to see that there is a difference there.



Yuri Kuchinsky   | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
     -=-         | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient 
 in Toronto 	 | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
 ----- my webpage is for now at: -----

More information about the Bioforum mailing list