How Was Wheat Discovered?


Quick Answer

Wheat was created by accident, a result of the natural cross pollination of edible grains that took place between 9,500 and 12,000 years ago. Since its inception precedes recorded history, exactly how wheat was discovered by man can't be known.

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Full Answer

It is thought that the ice age 12,000 years ago decimated the animals that early humans hunted and ate, forcing them to resort to eating grasses, according to the article "Ears of Plenty" on the Economist website. Humans switched from gathering foods to cultivating plants about 11,000 years ago: first rye and chickpeas, then early ancestors of modern wheat and then barley. The earliest that fields of actual wheat are known to have been cultivated is 7500 BCE, in southwest Asia, and early relatives of modern-day wheat have been found in excavations dating back 9,000 years; by then, humans had domesticated cattle and were feeding them wheat as a diet staple.

It has been proven that there has been wheat throughout recorded history worldwide. Ancient Chinese writings of 2700 BCE mention wheat, as do those of Greek philosopher Socrates, and it is referenced in the Bible. Today, wheat is one of the three dominant crops grown in the world, third only to corn and rice.

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