Our Thanksgiving Menu has Lost a Few Crops
The modern Thanksgiving plate has turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and — of course — pumpkin pie. But long before Thanksgiving, there were other agricultural plants in the Americas. Those domesticated crops are now extinct. Scientists, like Dr. Logan Kistler, Curator of Archaeobotany at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, are studying lost crops to learn more about how they may have been cultivated and consumed by Indigenous people. Their research also gives archaeologists more information about why some domesticated plants survive long-term in the human diet while others don’t.