52-Million-Year-Old Tomato Ancestors Discovered In Patagonia

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The wild tomatillo and related plants are found everywhere in the Americas except in the far north, with the highest diversity in Mexico.

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iamge credit: wikipedia

In 2017, scientists reported on their discovery and analysis of a fossil tomatillo found in the Patagonian region of Argentina, dated to 52 million years B.P.

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image credit : phys

The fossils could be the key to understanding how some of the most common plants today – including potatoes and tomatoes – evolved.

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image credit: washington post

And it turns out their genetic history might be a whole lot older than we thought.The finding has pushed back the earliest appearance of the Solanaceae plant family of which the tomatillos are one genus.

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Tomatillos were domesticated in Mexico before the coming of Europeans, and played an important part in the culture of the Maya and the Aztecs.

More important than the tomato.The specific name philadelphica dates from the 18th century.

VIAwikipedia
SOURCEScience Magazine
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