There is evidence to suggest that humans have been cultivated rice for thousands of years. Chinese scholars argue that rice has been cultivated in China at least as far back as 2700 B.C, during the Sheng Nung period, and possibly earlier.
As an interesting side note, it is believed that rice had an ancestor on the supercontinent Pangaea, and that the genus is more than 130 million years old. This explains the common genome of wild rices found in Central and South America and Australia.
Refer to the attached article to learn more about rice!
Thank you for your help greengenie!
As of last year estimates place the domestication of rice around 6500 years ago in eastern china (although some people think there was a separate domestication of rice in the indus river civilization some time later). The domestication of crops usually happens only after their wild relatives are already being grown for food — it’s the growing of wild species that provides the opportunity for the artificial selection of early farmers to domestic crops — so 6500 years of growing rice for food in the minimum answer to your question.
Citation one is the article in Science describing the data placing the age of rice domestication at least 6500 years ago. Citation two is a blog discussing the implications of that paper.
Thanks for your help jamesandgiantcorn. Do you happen to know what grain was first domesticated by humans? Was it rice?
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. The domestication of grains independently gave rise to agricultural civilizations in asia (rice), central america (maize/corn), and the middle east (wheat and barley). It’s hard to say for certain which of these grains was first domesticated as discoveries of new archeological evidence continue to push back the emergence of agriculture in each of these regions.
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