8,500 yr old Anatolian wheat confirmed to be oldest in the world

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Istanbul, June 21 : A series of DNA analyses conducted on ancient wheat samples dating back to 8,500 years, have led scientists to conclude that the oldest known wheat was grown in Catalhoyuk, a Neolithic settlement in southern Anatolia.

According to a report in Today's Zaman, the analysis was done by Professor Mahinur Akkaya from the Middle East Technical University's (ODTU) department of chemistry in Turkey.

Akkaya and a group of professors from her university worked on the analyses.

"While analyzing several wheat samples, we learned that Professor Gordon Hillman, an honorary professor of archaeobotany at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, had the world's oldest known wheat samples. We contacted him and he gave us a few kernels to analyze in comparison," she said.

The analyses showed these samples to be 8,500 years old.

According to Akkaya, utmost care was taken with these kernels, and Turkish scientists were happy to have undertaken such an important discovery about Anatolia.

"A previous analysis carried out on 6,000-year-old wheat samples had shown that wheat was grown in southeastern Diyarbakir's Karacadag area. Our discovery has gone beyond this finding," she remarked.

"Our discovery is of great importance as it gives us significant insight into the birth of the first civilization in Anatolia. With our analyses, we have shown that the oldest known wheat was grown in Catalhoyuk," she added.


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