A morphometric approach to track opium poppy domestication

Jesus, Ana and Bonhomme, Vincent and Evin, Allowen and Ivorra, Sarah and Soteras, Raül and Salavert, Aurélie and Antolín, Ferran and Bouby, Laurent. (2021) A morphometric approach to track opium poppy domestication. Scientific Reports, 11. p. 9778.

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Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L. subsp. somniferum) was likely domesticated in the Western Mediterranean, where its putative wild ancestor is indigenous, and then spread to central and northern Europe. While opium poppy seeds are regularly identified in archaeobotanical studies, the absence of morphological criteria to distinguish the seeds of wild and domestic forms prevents the documentation of their respective historical and geographical occurrences and of the process of opium domestication as a whole. To fill this gap and better understand the status of this crop in the Neolithic, we combined seed outline analyses, namely elliptic Fourier transforms, with other morphometric descriptors to describe and identify Papaver setigerum, Papaver somniferum and other Papaver taxa. The combination of all measured parameters gives the most precise predictions for the identification of all seven taxa. We finally provide a case study on a Neolithic assemblage from a pile-dwelling site in Switzerland (Zurich-Parkhaus Opéra, ca. 3170 BC). Our results indicate the presence of mixed populations of domestic and wild seeds belonging to the P. somniferum group, suggesting that the plant was already in the process of domestication at the end of 4th millennium BC. Altogether, these results pave the way to understand the geography and history of the poppy domestication and its spread into Europe.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Archäobotanik (Antolin)
UniBasel Contributors:Antolin, Ferran and Sousa Jesus, Ana Cláudia and Soteras Mané, Raul
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:01 Jun 2021 08:45
Deposited On:01 Jun 2021 08:45

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