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Ecuadorean discovery pushes back the origins of chocolate
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
People have been enjoying chocolate far longer than previously known, according to research published on Monday detailing the domestication and use of cacao beginning 5,300 years ago at an ancient settlement in the highlands of southeastern Ecuador. The study indicates cacao was domesticated roughly 1,500 years earlier than previously known, and that it occurred in South America rather than in Central America, as previously thought. A tropical evergreen tree called Theobroma cacao bears large, oval pods containing the bean-like cacao seeds that today are roasted and turned into cocoa and multitudes of chocolate confections, although chocolate at the time was consumed as a beverage. read more
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