Soybeans have had a notable presence in the Asian diet for quite some time, but recent archaeological records indicate that the adoption and domestication of the legume goes farther back than previously thought. The records point to a domestication period that began approximately 5,500 years ago, a far cry from the previous suggestion of 3,000 years. The study, published in PLoS ONE, examined 949 specimens from 22 sites and organized the age of the beans according to their size. The larger the bean, the more likely it was domesticated. A trend was found between the appearance of the soybean and the development of villages, suggesting that the soybean benefited from the human habitat and humans quickly learned how to cultivate them. The scientists hope this new information will encourage study into the impact that cultural contribution may have had on the development and domestication of the soybean.
Source: Science Daily, University of Oregon