Amazon Rainforests Changed By Ancient Humans

First Posted: Mar 07, 2017 03:50 AM EST

In the last 25 years, it has been widely accepted in history that indigenous people have lived and altered the ecology of the Americas before the Europeans came to invade them.

In a new study published by the journal Science, researchers found that the human fingerprint can be seen acrosss one of the most biodiverse regions of the world: the Amazon rainforest.

According to The Atlantic, people in the Amazon who lived there for over 8,000 years were able to farm it to make it more conducive to survival. The ancient tribes favored some trees over others that effectively created crops that people now know as cocoa beans and Brazil nuts, which they eventually domesticated. Many of these communities reportedly died in the Amerindian genocide over 500 years ago, but the effects of their work can still be seen in the Amazon rainforest that people see today.

Carolina Levis from Wagenigen University and lead author of the study noted that people arrived in the Amazon at least 10,000 years ago. 2,000 years later, they were able to cultivate and plant species that are useful for humans in their home gardens and in the forests that they were managing. This cultivation eventually altered the regions of the Amazon, where domesticated species dominated the swaths of the forest, especially in the southwest section of the rainforest basin.

The Smithsonian also noted that Jose Iriarte, an archaeologist from the University of Exeter who has done extensive research on the subject, said that he hopes the research could be reverse-engineered to help locate ancient settlements and pinpoint artifacts. Researchers have been searching for these for years in the dense regions of the rainforest.

However, there are also cautions regarding direct conclusions from the tree data. External factors can also play a role in the development of ancient peoples, as previously proved by the wrong assumptions regarding the Mayan civilization.

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