Ancient North Americans started using tobacco around 12,500 to 12,000 years ago, roughly 9,000 years before the oldest indications that they smoked the plant in pipes, a new study finds.
This discovery replaces the pipe-smoking report as the oldest direct evidence for the human use of tobacco anywhere in the world.
Excavations at the Wishbone site in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert uncovered four charred seeds of wild tobacco plants in a small fireplace, say archaeologist Daron Duke of Far Western Anthropological Research Group in Henderson, Nev., and colleagues.
Those seeds, three of which the scientists radiocarbon dated, likely came from plants gathered on foothills or mountains located 13
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