Agriculture is a fairly recent invention, only about 10,000 years old. Since agriculture began, generation after generation of farmers have artificially bred crops to select for more desirable traits, like size and taste. Needless to say, your favorite fruits and vegetables have changed drastically over the centuries.
“I set out to find the least natural fruit in existence, and decided it was probably the modern watermelon,” writes James Kennedy, a chemistry teacher in Australia who has created eye-opening infographics to show the evolution of certain crops.
Kennedy explains that, while ancient “wild watermelons” weighed no more than 80 grams (0.18 lbs), modern watermelons can range from 2 kg to 8 kg (4.4 lbs to 17.6 lbs) in the supermarket. And the Guinness World Record for the heaviest watermelon recorded exceeded 121 kilograms (266.7 lbs) in the year 2000. “Thousands of years of human-induced evolution have worked miracles on these fruits. Let’s not forget that they’re completely artificial,” writes Kennedy.
The below infographic explores the differences between the natural, “wild peach” and its modern, artificial relative. Kennedy explains,
After 6000 years of artificial selection, the resulting peach was 16 times larger than the “wild peach” of 3000 B.C.
The modern-day 2014 peach is 64 times larger than its wild ancestor. Insane.
Then there’s corn, the infamous crop which has been radically altered through selective breeding. Kennedy writes,
The chemistry teacher promises that more fascinating natural vs. artificial crop infographics are coming soon.