Science

The Banana

The banana is so convenient. It fits so perfectly in my hand. It tastes so sweet.

There is a reason why the banana is the best selling item in the produce section: they were made that way. You see, the banana is the product of hundreds of years of domestication by humans.

A wild banana actually has large and numerous seeds that make one difficult to eat. Moreover, bananas come in a wide range of colors, textures, and flavors:

More than a thousand kinds of banana can be found worldwide, but a variety called Cavendish, which a nineteenth-century British explorer happened upon in a household garden in southern China, represents ninety-nine per cent of the banana export market.[1]

Recent archeological evidence indicates that banana cultivation dates back to 5000BCE in Papua New Guinea. Since then, selective cultivation of banana plants for preferable traits has lead to sweeter, more eatable domestic bananas. Today’s bananas that are bought at most super markets are asexual offspring of a parent stock. The bright yellow of these bananas is actually the result of an artificial ripening process using ethylene. Naturally ripened, they would be a yellow-green shade. All in all, these bananas are the product of human engineering.

Isn’t it awesome, what we can do?

wild banana

The wild banana is filled with seeds and is quite difficult to eat. (photo credit: Tony Rodd)

Bibliography

1 Peed, Mike “We Have No Bananas.” The New Yorker. 10 January 2011

Further Reading

Banana Fallacy from the Rational Wiki.

Banana brought to you by the quintessential online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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