Maize and Sunflowers: Evidence of Ancient Transoceanic Contact?

Carl L. Johannessen, Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, has authored several papers on New World plants such as maize and sunflowers that appear to have been in Asia before Columbus, suggestive of ancient transoceanic contact between the Old World and the New World. Interesting stuff – and widely ignored. Sunflowers, by the way, have been in the news recently because of new evidence about their early use in Mesoamerica, not just in the northern parts of the New World.

Not directly relevant to the Book of Mormon, but there are several interesting points of tangential interest. Plants provide some of the most interesting evidence for ancient transoceanic contact between the Americas and the Old World.

Another interesting post on corn and ancient India is Maize and Sunflowers in India.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

3 thoughts on “Maize and Sunflowers: Evidence of Ancient Transoceanic Contact?

  1. The existence of cotton in pre-Columbian America is another head scratcher. Since cotton seeds can’t tolerate freezing temperatures or sea water, their arrival via a northern land bridge or floating on the currents isn’t possible.

  2. Cotton shrubs are native to the Americas though, aren’t they? Wikipedia says there are native varieties in the Americas, Africa and India.

    “The earliest cultivation of cotton discovered thus far in the Americas occurred in Mexico, some 5,000 years ago. The indigenous species was Gossypium hirsutum which is today the most widely planted species of cotton in the world, constituting about 90% of all production worldwide. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa.”

    Am I missing something? It sounds like cotton has always been around in America.

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