No one thinks that there is anything mysterious about the banana. Just about everyone likes them. They taste good, and it’s so convenient that they don’t have any seeds.
It did puzzle me though. One afternoon, over forty years ago, I asked my mother, “Where do bananas come from if there’s no banana seeds?”
She explained that you have take a cutting from one plant to make another.
I wasn’t quite satisfied. If people have to make more banana plants, where did they come from in the first place?
It went in my mental file of things to try to find out someday.
Then a few years ago, I was reading David Hatcher Childress’s Lost Cities of Ancient Lemuria & the Pacific, and he discussed the banana, and how they are found all around the world, even on islands:
“They are said to be one of the few foods that mankind can live completely on. Yet, the only other seedless fruits, such as naval oranges and seedless grapes are genetically engineered. Someone, somewhere in the remote past, cultivated bananas into the amazing plant that it is today.”
He stopped short of saying that they came from Lemuria, but I had to take note of the idea of prehistoric genetic engineering. Those who want to avoid “frankenfoods” are a few millennia too late. How many of the plants that make up a proper vegan diet can be found growing in the wild?
It takes one generation for people to consider an innovation to be part of the natural order of things. I thought that way about television, as the current generation does about the Internet. Let this go on for a few thousand -- or a few hundred thousand -- years . . .
And just who did this genetic engineering?
In Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, he also brings up the mysteries of the banana, and how they came to be found in the Americas. First he mentioned a theory by German botanist Otto Kuntze, that the banana was brought there “when the North Pole had a tropical climate.” Donnelly, saw the banana’s source elsewhere:
“Is it not more reasonable to suppose that the plantain, or banana, was cultivated by the people of Atlantis, and carried by their civilized colonies to the east and the west?”
Is Atlantis more reasonable than a forgotten civilization from an age when the poles were tropical? Why is it that the only place I’ve found this subject brought up is in books about Lemuria and Atlantis?
Archaeology keeps finding proof that civilization started earlier than we had thought. Artifacts keep pushing our earliest dates for things past the 12,000 B.C.-ish period that Plato gave Atlantis. The Neanderthals may have navigated over water. People moved around the planet in those times, and did things that turn our notion of prehistoric life upside-down.
We have forgotten, and lost so much. We have so much to recover, and learn.
Do we have any bananas around here?