Rice domestication and climatic change: Phytolith evidence from East China

  • Lu H
  • Liu Z
  • Wu N
 et al. 
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Fossil rice phytoliths have been identified from a lateglacial to Holocene sequence of epicontinental sediments in the East China Sea that were probably transported by the Yangtze River from its middle and/or lower reaches. The rice phytoliths occurred first in the sequence at about 13900 cal. yr BP and disappeared during the period of 13 000-10 000 cal. yr BP, implying the earliest domesticated cereal crops of the world ever reported. Based on the records of phytoliths, pollen, diatoms and foraminifera from the sequence, the climate between 13000 and 10000 cal. yr BP was notably colder (Younger Dryas). The coincidence of disappearance of domesticated rice phytoliths with cold climate conditions may suggest a great climatic influence on human activities during that time. Warmer and wetter conditions during the period 13 900 to 13 000 cal. yr BP and after 10 000 cal. yr BP have probably favoured rice domestication in the area.

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