Peruvian diggers find 2.5 million-year-old tobacco

Nov 20, 2010
An undated picture released on November 19, 2010 by the Museum of Paleontology Meyer Honningen based in the northern city of Chiclayo, 760 km north of Lima, shows a cluster of fossilized tobacco leaves (Nicotiana tabacum), presumably belonging to the Pleistocene era, some two and a half million years ago, found in the Maranon basin, in the Amazonas Department.

Paleontologists in Peru have discovered fossilized tobacco in the northern Amazon that dates back to the Pleistocene Era 2.5 million years ago, the scientists said Friday.

The compact block of , about 30 square centimeters (4.5 square inches), was found by scientists from the Meyer-Honninger Paleontology Museum earlier this week in the Maranon river basin in northeastern Peru.

"This discovery allows us to establish that the plant dates back to the Pleistocene Era, and confirms that it originated in northern Peru," the museum said in a statement.

Tobacco was smoked and chewed by Native Americans long before the arrival of European explorers in the 15th century, the scientists said.

It was also used for therapeutic purposes -- in everything from eye drops to enemas -- and for rituals, such as blowing smoke into the faces of warriors before battle and on women prior to intercourse, they said.

Explore further: Archaeologists document highest altitude ice age human occupation in Peruvian Andes

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User comments : 9

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zevkirsh
2.4 / 5 (5) Nov 20, 2010
man i woulda smoked that tobbacy. this IS NOT pointless verbiage. do not , i repeat, do not delete.
stealthc
1 / 5 (5) Nov 20, 2010
I think the writer of this article needs one of those therapeutic tobacco enemas. Sounded like he has a tobacco fettish. Maybe he would like some fat cigar smoking dominatrix to sit on his face?
deatopmg
2 / 5 (5) Nov 20, 2010
WHat is meant by "compact block"? Is it a natural "block" ?? or made by a higher intelligence... 2.5 million yrs ago... in Peru?

It is certainly NOT clear in this poorly written release!
Isis
not rated yet Nov 20, 2010
The article needs clarification on the source of the "block"... are we talking about a clump made by an early snow and freak flood or by 2.5Myr human ancestors in South America wearing Marlboro T-shirts?!?

At a minimum the original source for this "paleontology find" should be cited so that interested people can look for more information!
Ravenrant
not rated yet Nov 20, 2010
Considering what a hundred year old cigar goes for, that stuff would be priceless (if it wasn't a rock)
GuruShabu
1 / 5 (3) Nov 20, 2010
I totally agree!
I cannot understand what "a compact block" means.
It suggests an artificial intervention, sort of human handling but we all know that 2.5 Myr ago humans were not that clever.
So, what the author intended while describing a "compact block"?
jmcanoy1860
5 / 5 (1) Nov 20, 2010
It's just someone trying to get his weed through customs.
Bernie_Shadek
Nov 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Shino
not rated yet Nov 21, 2010
To bad its fossilized :/
Justsayin
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2010
I guess it is just a matter of time before giant fossilized buds made of cannabis are discovered right? Everything was bigger back then :)