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I think Dennis E. Puleston was the first to seriously propose that the bread nut was an important staple to the Classic Maya. I heard him give a presentation on the topic in Belize back in the '70s. I heard second hand that he backed away from that position after he actually ate some. I've never tried it myself, but always heard that it was something one could eat if one had to, but the taste was unpleasant. -- Infrogmation 16:29, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Has it been established and generally accepted now that it was a staple, as the article currently states? If so, more info on this should go in the article. I have accordingly raised the importance level to "mid" if this was one of the staples of the civilization. -- Infrogmation 16:37, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
- I dunno about more recent research on the topic, but in Coe's The Maya (4th Ed. rev. 1987) he says that "stimulating though [Puleston's idea] was, recent research suggests that the breadnut was never much more than a famine food" (p.20). FAMSI's <span%20CLASS= Botanical Research db gives essentially an account of Puleston's views, and there are references to more recent publications by Kent Flannery which might also support. Maybe someone like Chunchucmil knows of the current view? Anyway will make some amendments based on the materials I have to hand at the moment.
- I wonder whether or not the article itself would be better under the common name, rather than the binomial name? If so, which common name - breadnut?
- Re Puleston- there's someone we should get around to having an article on- other than his research, there can't be that many in the modern era to have unfortunately met their end atop a Maya pyramid...!--cjllw | TALK 03:22, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
In fact The Breadnut or Ramon are the best names, for the article, abd it Was an Staple food, thats why it was calles the Maize tree by the Maya, actually the taste is similar to the cocoa, and it is delicious. There hve been found in Chultuns abd due to its low humidity it last longer than the Maize. mayasautenticos 22:08, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Authenticmayamayasautenticos 22:08, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Hello, I want to comment to infrogmation.I happen to be the widow of Dennis E. Puleston (please see www.puleston.org for published articles on the Ramon) and I can tell you that he did not back "away" from his conviction that the data on Brosimum alicastrum distribution in the Peten represented relic stands and not an ecological niche sought out by the tree. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to tie up the arguments and respond to various critics but the reality of the data remains unchanged. Ramons favor ancient habitation sites and are not found in equal numbers on natural outcrops with conditions similar to archaeological sites.
He failed to publish the final article because he was still working on the data that would support this hypothesis and Mary Pohl took over the task of pulling it all together after his death. Unfortunately, only the wetland agricultural research in Belize ever got assembled and published. Nothing was done on the Peten.
There are those who still argue that maize was the staple diet of the ancient Maya. Lori Wright studied skeletal remains from Piedras Negras (I believe) and found that the carbon isotopes indicated that half the diet came from maize. That does not negate the Ramon thesis. It actually supports it because Dennis suggested that maize could have been an "elite" crop saved for the upper classes. No data supports any argument that milpa and slash and burn agriculture supported the Classic Maya. Maize can only be grown as a slash and burn crop or as a carefully managed intensive garden integrated crop in this environment. A tree garden intercropping edible trees and ramons with corn and other local foods is the only way the Classic Maya could have fed the large ancient populations without degrading the environment. Proof that they did not degrade their environment lies in the Peten forest itself. It did return. It was, until recently, there. Had the soil been "killed" and destroyed, the forest could not have regenerated.