Perspective: Grazing animals drove domestication of grain crops (Nature Plants)

Here’s an interesting question: Without human intervention, why would one find a dense stand of plants, growing in rather nutrient-rich soil? Perhaps you recognized that these conditions suggest seed dispersal by endozoochory, which involves passage through an animal’s digestive tract. Spengler and Mueller suggest that human domestication of some grain crops may have started from such humble roots. They demonstrate that many domesticated grains have shifted from traits that make them survive passage through an animal’s gut to traits that make them easier for humans to harvest and store. This is an intriguing Perspective, sure to provide food for thought especially for students. (Summary by Mary Williams) Nature Plants 10.1038/s41477-019-0470-4