Genetic analysis of grains found at archeological sites shows that einkorn was domesticated as many as 30,000 years ago and barley as many as 21,000 years ago.

Humankind was domesticating grains thousands of years earlier than previously thought, a discovery that calls into question whether people are unique compared to other animals that tame plants for their benefit, according to researchers.

Writing in in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, researchers in Britain and Japan used genetic evidence to conclude that people in the Fertile Crescent — a band of land running from what today is the Nile River in Egypt to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq — influenced the evolution of einkorn, an ancient grain, as long as 30,000 years ago.

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